I was reading an article today that was discussing how valid it would be to have video games included as a sport in the Olympics. While you may laugh at this prospect, there is a game called League of Legends which has a World Championship event that literally TENS OF MILLIONS of people watch, including a stadium packed with tens of thousands (most of the additional spectators watch online). Now, I suppose the only real question here is, “What constitutes a sport?” because the viewership is obviously there for this to be a mainstream, very highly watched event.
A couple of things come to mind. The first is curling. This is an age old Olympic event that most people would be hard pressed to define as an actual sport if actually pressed on the issue. While it is entertaining to watch, as I suspect this League of Legends championship probably is also, it is hard to justify it as an olympic event next to other winter sports like, say, hockey. That being said, there is both physical exertion and skill involved in curling. Then again, they are also involved in difficult video games.
I suppose I would say that I don’t necessarily think video games should be included in the Olympics. The Olympics are games based on competitions that took place thousands of years ago. And while there have certainly been additions since then (basketball for example, and many others), adding digital forms of competition to the games may really be against the spirit of the games. That being said, I don’t see any reason big video game competitions couldn’t also be big events in themselves, especially if there are as many people interested in watching them as spectators as there appear to be.