Will eSports appear in the 2024 Olympics? And could Man City be represented?
By Guest writer, Tue 18 December 2018 09:45
eSports is now a multi-billion-dollar industry, with professional players keeping mentally and physically fit with the same dedication as traditional athletes. It should be no surprise then that it is more a question of when rather than if eSports will ever be accepted as an Olympic discipline. The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo are probably going to come too soon for competitive video-gaming. But discussions are at advanced stage about eSports making its bow at the 2024 Games in Paris.
One stumbling block for eSports is that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seem adamant that no virtual violence should appear in the Olympic games. That could be a problem for the most popular eSports such as League of Legends, DOTA 2 and CS: GO. These big brand titles generate hundreds of millions of pounds each year on platforms like Twitch, as well as being the main draw for the billion-dollar eSports betting market. However, games like LoL and Counter-strike are either straight shooter titles or involve bashing mythical creatures over the head – so there’s little chance of any of them making it to Paris 2024.
However, one set of games which would perfectly fit the bill are the FIFA titles from Electronic Arts (EA). These virtual football games are available on the PlayStation and Xbox platforms and seem to offer the perfect recipe for an Olympic sport, as they are non-violent and lend themselves to the traditional national team set-up. What’s more, the various FIFA titles are already carving out a niche for themselves in the eSports market, with a FIFA Interactive World Cup allowing millions of players to compete each year for a top prize of $250,000. But the most exciting development in the football-themed eSports landscape is that established, professional clubs from around Europe are creating their own virtual teams.
Famous teams like PSV Eindhoven, Ajax, Paris St. Germain and Schalke ’04 have all formed teams to compete in LoL, Overwatch and FIFA leagues. And the biggest eSports team backed by a football club in the UK are none other than Manchester City. What’s more, the Sky Blue’s eSports team has been splashing out on talent in a way that would make Pep Guardiola proud, with the recent signing of superstar Shaun ‘Shellzz’ Springette being the perfect example. This teenage Londoner was snapped up from rivals Unilad last week and will soon compete for the Citizens in the ePremier League. Could Shellzz go on to play for Team GB in the Paris Olympics? He is only 18, is full of talent, and is improving with every season, so we think it has to be a possibility. With Denmark’s Marcus ‘ExpectSporting’ Jorgensen and Germany’s Kai ‘Deto’ Wollin also on the books, City seem to be stockpiling international talent.
Could we see Great Britain and Germany competing for a gold medal at the eSports final in 2024, with two City stars on opposing teams? Let’s hope so – and that Shellzz is the one to go home with a gold medal!