Friday, April 08, 2016

Pack Up Your Bags - Gaming is Going to the Olympics!

Wait for it kids...video games will be at the Olympics in Rio this year!

Sort-of.

The event, announced as part of the London Games Festival, will indeed take place in Rio during the Summer Olympics. And similar to the Olympics, winners will receive a medal and national pride, knowing they represented their country by being the best at video games. No cash (given the cost of travel, you'd think they would be able to comp your flight or something?) The competition is backed by the U.K government and the International eGames Committee (IEGC). So far the U.S.A., Canada, Brazil, and Britain are confirmed to attend.

The first full eGames event will take place in 2018, in Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Winter Olympics. In Olympic years, the eGames will take place in the host cities. During other years, national qualifiers will be held domestically to produce teams for the next competition. And the teams will be comprised of both sexes. There will be no splitting of genders.

For the Rio games, they will hold a 2-day demonstration of what people can expect to see in 2018.

And that's it for now! There is some resignation regarding the prizes. Pretty much every gaming contest revolves around cash. Even the Olympics offers a cash prize for winners of gold, silver, and bronze medals. The medals on their own are not worth a lot, and the cash can help offset some of the training and traveling costs for that year, if not more. So this "good job, we won't pay for your flight" type of reward isn't sitting well with a number of people.

The website is pretty bare right now, with minimal information. No lists on what games are going to be involved, or how people will be chosen for teams in each country. They are also hoping to get more sponsorships to help offset the costs of the athletes travel, room, and food. But it feels lackluster right now.

Don't get me wrong. I'm really glad to see that a group is taking gaming seriously, so much so that they are working in conjunction with the IOC (International Olympics Committee) to bring video games to the fore-front of the sports arena. But the lack of details is disturbing. They probably should have held off on the announcement until they could outline the games, team sign-ups, division rules, and feasible rewards for competing.

But it's a step forward!

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