Esports’ relationship with the Olympics is doomed to fail unless it’s done properly, according to the UK’s first pro gamer.
The International Olympic Committee has announced that the Intel World Open, featuring Rocket League and Street Fighter, will be held in the days leading up to the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Each event will boast a $250,000 prize pool and the games will take place from July 22 to 24 – with the Olympics due to start on July 24.
Esports featured in the 2018 Aisia Games and is due to be included in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and this latest move is seemingly a step closer to esports being part of the Olympics.
It follows a similar partnership between the IOC and Intel that saw a StarCraft II tournament staged before the Winter Olympics in South Korea last year.
The difference at Tokyo 2020 will be that Rocket League and Street Fighter are played in front of a live audience, rather than broadcast only as live streams.
However, whilst being hugely popular games, Rocket League and Street Fighter are not deemed “tier-one” esports such as CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends and Sujoy Roy – who was Britain’s first pro gamer – is worried the world won’t see esports at its best.
Sujoy, who is Director of Esports at Luckbox, said: “What makes esports events so great is the atmosphere generated by fans and I’m a bit concerned we won’t see that at its best in Tokyo.
“I fully expect the event to be brilliantly staged and produced, but the games chosen are not the most mature esports and as a result don’t have the full package of support to be successful.
“One suspects the IOC has had a significant influence on the games chosen and it’s easy to see why they have chosen these games – they are easy to understand even for those who don’t follow esports. However, it’s hard to argue that these are the games that will showcase esports at its best.
“Street Fighter and Rocket League are amazing games but CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends consistently fill out huge areas because these are the games with the biggest support built up over years from grassroots communities.
“I believe the best way to showcase esports to the Olympic audience would be to ensure one of these tier-one games – CS:GO, Dota 2 or LoL are included.”