Are Violent E-Sports Olympic Material? Some Boosters Say Yes


Mr. Assarasakorn of the Thai e-sports federation said a common problem is that casual video gamers are confused with “e-athletes,” some of whom have training regimens that include running and muscle-strengthening exercises. He added that physical training was linked with success in e-sports, and that playing video games had a physical dimension.

“Even typing what I’m saying now, you’re engaging your core muscles,” he told this reporter.

But the prevalence of violence in e-sports competitions may be a steeper obstacle to overcome.

Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, said in April that “killer games” or ones that promote “violence or any kind of discrimination” would never be suitable for Olympic competition. “They would be contrary to our values and our principles,” he said.

It was unclear whether the six video games being played at the Asian Games would meet Mr. Bach’s definition of nonviolence. (The official description of Arena of Valor says the basic objectives include “killing enemies” and “destroying towers and the enemy base.”) The I.O.C. did not respond to emailed questions.

On Wednesday, Kenneth Fok, the chief of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, a governing body, told reporters that while Sunday’s shooting in Jacksonville, Fla., was a tragedy, e-sports and video games were not to blame.

“I think it is a bigger issue of gun control and also the access to guns,” Mr. Fok said.

In interviews this week, people in the industry offered different views on whether it was feasible — or desirable — for e-sports to shed their violent ways in a bid to shine up for a possible Olympic appearance.

Some, like Huang Cheng Hui, a professional player from China who competes under the nom de guerre Lciop, said certain games could be toned down to make them Olympic-friendly without dampening their competitive spirit.



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