‘Killer Games’ Too Violent For The Olympics, IOC President Says

‘Killer Games’ Too Violent For The Olympics, IOC President Says
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

If video games were ever to get a permanent footing at the Olympics, it would be at the behest of the International Olympic Committee. And following a speech from the body’s president at the recent Asian Games, they have some issues with the idea.

The BBC reported that Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, said at a press conference games that featured killing other people “cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values”.

The Associated Press, which was also present at the conference, expanded on Bach’s comments by noting that the IOC president was referring to ‘killer games’:

“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination,” he told the AP. “So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.”

Bach was pressed about the parallels with combat sports – including fencing, which Bach won a gold medal in. “Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people … but sport is the civilised expression about this,” he replied.

Bach’s views don’t mean that esports wouldn’t be wholly incompatible with the Olympics, but it would rule out shooters like CS:GO, Fortnite and possibly Overwatch. The IOC president didn’t expand on what games might be suitable, although Polygon noted that the Olympic Summit later this year will discuss esports and that liaison bodies have been established to continue exploring the idea.


    • Yep, and physically unfit boys playing video games should be about zillions of dollars in IT sponsorship money, dorks with bad pseudonyms, childish egos, questionable energy drinks, bitching at developers to influence design choices, a new “sport” every 12 months, major and spontaneous revisions to the rules with zero oversight, cheating and corruption.

      The actual logistics of turning that into something palatable for the international bureaucracies of the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency would ruin one or both things.

      Just make an E-lympics and aim to make winning lucrative even if getting Gold Medal in Smash Brothers isn’t as prestigious as actually being good at something practical.

    • There are plenty of events at the Olympics that don’t have a physical requirement to be successful. While the better athletes may be physically fit and compete better for it, most shooting events for example are simply competitions of skill.

      Likewise, I doubt you need to run a 4 minute mile before you can compete in curling either. Sport might be mostly about physical competition but its not exclusively about physical competition. Skill and co-ordination have a role to play as well.

    • Right, because anyone in clay or target shooting is 100% guaranteed to be the peak of human physique. Plus, there are physically unfit girls who are amazing a video games too!

  • Yeah can’t fault the reasoning here.

    Though it does the leave door open to games other than killing so maybe we’ll see some sim racing/sports sims in there one day.

  • I don’t really feel like e-sports need to be part of the Olympics in any form. Not because of the whole “are e-sports real sports” debate but because they are two totally different things. Most people who go to or watch the Olympics are really only there for the physical events and wouldn’t necessarily be there to watch people play video games. Similarly, people attending for the e-sports wouldn’t necessarily be there to watch the physical competitions. There would only be a small overlap between the two groups.

    • I doubt there’s much overlap between fans of the synchronized swimming and those of the fencing either but that doesn’t stop either being in the Olympics.
      Pretty sure the Olympics appeals to more than just one select group of fans.

  • I would have though the largest issue for esports in Olympics would be that they’re based on games that are largely transitory. The Olympic events are all based in sports/athletics that have had rock solid and fixed rules for decades. Nothing changes in how those events are conducted except technology behind recording, equipment players wear etc. The founding rules are the same.

    Now turn that to video games and esports…how does that work? Are you going to introduce say Starcraft 2 as an event. Alright, so you play it again in 4 years…and again after that?…What about 20 years down the track? Even if it was a brand new release (which is couldn’t be for an Olympic event) at the second Olympics its played in it’ll be a 4 year old game, the event after that it’ll be at least 8, more likely 10 years old.

    Video games just simply don’t have that long a shelf life to be compatible with the Olympics format.

    It would be a huge course change from what the Olympics is to include Video Games, I don’t think it will or should ever happen. Consider this – Chess isn’t an Olympic sport, it was included in Sydney as an exhibition but something as simple and long standing as Chess isn’t in the Olympics so why should esports be?

  • who keeps trying to push for video games to be in the Olympics?

    One is actual sport and the other is other is a marketers wet dream.

    Thats who i guess

  • Excuse me what? Promoting Violence and discrimination? So when are we going to get the Men’s Basketball team vs the Women’s? Pretty discriminatory that we have to have two separate events. Just merge em together. Or when we will ban boxing? Pretty sure I saw blood fly the last time they had a championship bout.

  • Yeah nah, e-sports doesn’t belong in the Olympics.

    But if there was an Olympics e-sports offshoot, then I’d get behind it.

    • The IOC ignored extreme sports, which ended up evolving into the X-games. As the X-games have developed, theres been a corresponding decline in how important people view the Olympics.

      They didn’t ignore things when the Winter X-games started out though, and slowly integrated many of those sports into the Olympic program. You don’t hear much these days about it, and its helped strengthen the winter Olympics nicely.

      Problem with e-sports is that theres too much interest in it to just ignore. Someone is going to consolidate it into a global event with numerous games having championships at the same time. If its not the IOC, they lose a generation again, like they did with extreme sports.

      It must be something they need to consider, whether they do anything or not.

      • Nailed it.

        Some title will come out that will be intense like any other FPS but non ‘violent’, have perfect spectator options and the other mods for great competitive features. It’ll be on enough platforms to become a viral hit and become one of the most watched games out – esp sponsored tourneys.

        Something that ticks all the boxes CSGO/Splatoon/Overwatch/Fortnite have set up in the space.

  • The real reason games don’t belong in the Olympics is that games change too rapidly for the 4 year cycle of the Olympics. Where was Overwatch 4 years ago? Rocket League? PUBG? Fortnite? These games didn’t exist until recently and it’s very likely that in 8 years the next big game will come along

    • That’s a very good point. Gaming and games evolve far too quickly to create a stable Olympic programme out of it. Most Olympics are planning 6, 8, or 10 years before they start. No planning along that timeline would be able to cover the explosion of Battle Royale games for example.

      But if they planned on generic categories, you’re going to get fairly close. So simply plan on a shooter (or two), a racer, a RTS, a battle arena, CCG, etc then choose a year or so out which specific examples of each they’ll play.

    • StarCraft, CS:GO and Dota would like a word.

      I don’t think they should be in the Olympics either, but they’d like a word.

  • I’m strongly against esports being integrated into the olympics but the reasoning being used is laughable. Can’t even say that “proper” sports don’t induce violence. Just look at Tonya Harding for an example.

  • The violence argument seems a bit weak when you consider that the Olympics has had boxing as an event for more than a century. That’s literally two dudes punching each other in the face.

  • I’m disappointed that none of these sporting officials never go for the easiest, and most reasonable, answer – that the e-sports scene changes rapidly, and that they would dependent on the publisher of whatever game they choose. Issues might arise if updates or patches happen during the Olympics and the time leading up to it. Furthermore, they would be advertising products for free, something I doubt the IOC would willingly allow. The most popular e-sports games seem to be violent ones, which would hurt the Olympics’ image, and I doubt 2nd – 3rd world countries would be able to field a national e-sports team, either, thus unfairly excluding them from participating.

  • It is an interesting situation.

    Perhaps there needs to be a third Olympic group.
    Cyberlympics (because cyber will sell)

    Cyberlympics can be on a two-year cycle in the years between the two physical based events. Shorter cycle allows for maximum licensing revenue (reaping it in every year) and factors in the high turnover of games in this space over time (committee can review current trends to swap out old fads for new).

    Don’t thank me, thank the rum.

      • That made me chuckle. Especially when you consider some of the assistive technology in play at the Paralympics.

        But in all seriousness, the IOC probably wouldn’t go for Elympics simply due to ‘possible brand confusion’ with the big O.

        But cyber is marketing catnip. Media and advertisers love it because even the most closeted nanna out there knows “That cyber stuff is on computers”.

  • Who wouldn’t want to see some spotty albino kid standing on an Olympic podium next to real athletes and getting a gold medal for playing Mario Kart?

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!