[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPxZTqRkvCc[/embed] But rather than arguing what the olympics can gain from including esports, Iâ€™d rather dive into whether esports can benefit from inclusion in the Olympics. Below youâ€™ll find an evaluation of the main arguments.
1/ Global exposureFirst, the Olympics can provide the esports community with additional global exposure.Of course, an argument could be made that esports doesnâ€™t need the help â€“ after all, you can already watch it on TV! You could argue that esports already has its own major tournaments and, consequently, doesnâ€™t need any help from the Olympics. Consider that the last major DOTA 2 tournament, The International, had a prize pool totaling over $20 million dollars. By contrast, Starcraft 2 at the Olympics had a prize pool of a mere $150k.Â Look at the statistics: esports is a multimillion dollar industry, on track to surpass one billion by 2020. Would the olympics boost this significantly? Iâ€™m sceptical.
2/ A boost for esports' reputationSecond, having the Olympic stage could certainly change the public perceptions when it comes to the image of professional video gamers. People often often too quick to jump to conclusions about gamersâ€™ physical health or, even worse, their mental health. We should dispel the notion that pro gamers are unhealthy, lazy young adults with no life goals. These people are determined, hard working and able to learn key skills for future prospects. They have large social media presences, and some have become so successful that they run their own businesses. Many continue to contribute to the esports community by becoming coaches, giving talks or even providing opportunities to new gamers.Some notable examples include:
- Sean â€œDay9â€ Plott, who was voted one of the top 30 under 30 by Forbes in 2014. He runs his own game development business and hosts a successful website as well as streaming regularly.
- Dennis â€œThreshâ€ Fong created â€œRaptrâ€, a gaming app that tracks player statistics in a variety of games. He also created a program, called â€œPlays.tvâ€, Â that allows players to highlight sections of matches for easy use in promotional videos, highlight reels, youtube montages, etc.
- Chris â€œHuKâ€ Loranger ran his own esports company out of Toronto. Later he was hired to be the President of Gaming for an Overwatch contingent at Kraft Sports & Entertainment. This is his current position which was made possible because he used his skills and connections to leverage himself into a career.
3/ Player protectionAnother important boon the Olympics could give the gaming community is additional regulation or perhaps even an overarching code of conduct. This is something esports desperately needs because it frequently runs into problems like:
- cheating scandals;
- exploitation of gamers through gambling or contractual legal obligations and;
- unstable pay structures
Players representation has been an issue for years - Here an article published in 2016 by LawinsportsOne example would be the times when professional players have been denied winnings owed to them by their team owners. Sometimes this has ended with owners disappearing from the public eye. Other times owners have used provisions under contract to get out of payment obligations. Either way, esports players have been exploited because they failed to get legal representation before agreeing to contract terms.