Not as an actual sport, of course, but it's going to be an official welcome event: US based Global Gaming League (GGL) has signed a deal to make sure video gaming will be a part of the '08 Games, at least in some way. They're planning a tournament leading up to the games, all sorts of contests, actual competitive gaming, and ... more spectators than the actual Olympics?
But for GGL, and apparently for China, video gaming is serious business. "This event will be heavily covered by the media," says Fong Hong, who is honorary general secretary of the China Internet Gaming Organizing Committee, editor of a large-circulation national technology newspaper called Netizen and an employee of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industries. If he says so, it is likely to be so.
Says a very optimistic Owen: "We believe the crowds we'll get will be far larger than for the Olympic games themselves." The venues, still to be chosen, are likely to be big soccer stadiums - not unusual for gaming competitions in China and elsewhere in Asia. Video gaming is rapidly becoming one of the world's most popular spectator sports, with audiences, especially in Asia, numbering many millions both live and on TV.
GGL has a press release up at their website, promising more information to come.
Video games meet the China Olympics [Fortune/CNN Money]