Videogames and Olympics: a combination that seems like a dream for all gaming enthusiasts at a competitive level. This dream could become reality , or at least we are witnessing an encouraging change of mentality – Italy apart – towards the entity “Videogiochi “, Often abused or relegated to something childish.
Let's go in order and quote the words of Thomas Bach (President of the IOC) : “ Competitive e-sports – it is written in the release of the International Olympic Committee – can be considered a sporting activity, and the involved players prepare and train with an intensity that can be compared to that of the athletes of the traditional disciplines “.
Bach immediately focuses on a fundamental issue when it comes to e-sports, ie preparation and training, fundamental pillars of the teams that intend to participate in the most challenging tournaments. Of course, it may sound strange that we have to train to play video games but, in this case, we talk about the highest level of videludic activity, which passes from simple activity to real sport
Let us examine the definition of Sport which from l 'Encyclopedia Treccani: “A activity intended to develop the physical and at the same time psychic abilities, and the complex of exercises and manifestations, above all competitive ones, in which this activity is carried out, practiced in compliance with rules codified by specific bodies, both for competitive spirit (accompanying oneself or differentiating oneself, in this way, from the game in the proper sense), and, from the beginning, for fun, without therefore the necessity, the obligation, proper to every working activity. “
The definition of Sport can serenely apply to the competitive realities of gaming : it brings with it a development of psychic faculties (concentration, coordination, multi- tasking, tactical as well as rapid thinking) together with the increase – albeit to a lesser extent – of some capacities of our body such as hand-eye mobility
A sport that can be assimilated to gaming is archery, or shooting activities in general , where the difference is not breath or athletics in the strict sense , but concentration, coordination and use of the senses
In short, everything seems to go smoothly, smoothly and with a good dose of logic to reinforce everything, but you know, nothing is ever taken for granted when it comes to Videogames and related preconceptions.
Being an attentive observer of Social Networks, a bit out of passion and a bit for work, I examined the reaction of the Italian public to the announcement of the IOC. The reactions can be summarized in three categories: favorable, skeptical and critical.
Leaving aside the first category for obvious reasons, let us focus our attention on the “discontented”, starting from the skeptics. They do not fully condemn the possibility of the Videogames-Olympics union, but they complain that other activities should be added to the Olympic disciplines. What disciplines do they talk about? Chess, billiards, poker and so on, in short, activities that for years have had a constellation of tournaments, associations, sponsors and direct TV. The deepest difference between these activities that we have just listed and the e-sports is team dynamics: most of the titles (with various exceptions) that are played at a competitive level are titles where you fight in a team. This factor can be quite captivating in view of the Olympics, where national pride exalts even more the value of the teams, which represent, in that context, their own nation
If the skeptics seem to be rather proactive, the critics instead really offer a bad show based on prejudices and a backward mentality, forged for years and years of bad publicity about Videogames.
Scrolling through Facebook, I came across the exemplary comment regarding this type of attitude: “Perfect, the right activities for a generation of retarded: more and more dumbfounded, once you left home to play !! ! “
There really is the summa of the most nefarious mentality that, alas, still dominates in Italy. From the idea that games become dull, to the memory of the “good old times” in which we were better, the indignant user demonstrates the harmful effects of the negative propaganda that, often, the mass media have poured into tv, radio and newspapers.
Fortunately I did not find any comment that would bring up the elusive axiom “the video games make people violent” , but, with a little patience, you would find some similar shoot. Is Italy therefore ready to welcome and invest in the world of e-sport and competitive gaming? Yes and no. Undoubtedly, many children but also adults would be very interested in an “Olympic” aspect, which would be the maximum point of arrival of a career dedicated to video games as a sporting activity; on the other hand, the inclusion of the gaming circuit in CONI would cause a wave of massive controversy, which could discourage the State from investing funds for suitable facilities and for the growth of competitive reality
Once again, the Bel Paese is likely to fall behind, not only against the countries of Asia that have always been very advanced in this regard, but also against other European nations such as Germany, France, Eastern European countries, etc.
At a purely economic level , a factor that must always be taken into account, e-sports are a chicken with a golden egg. In this regard we cite a article of the Sun 24 Hours: “ The export is a phenomenon that is being consolidated, full of online tournaments with groups from which the best cyber athletes emerge, faced in finals followed by millions of fans. In Western Europe, in importance is the second largest market in the world after Asia, I am almost 48 millions of enthusiasts of which 22, 6 ” enthusiastic “and generate revenues slightly higher than 151 million dollars less than a quarter dei 696 millions ( 41% on the 2016 ) moved worldwide . “
Undoubtedly remarkable figures that testify how the reality of competitive gaming is consolidating year after year. In our country, everything is still a bit fragmented, with fierce rivalries between the event organizers , this undoubtedly harms the entire universe of exports. For more information, we announce this interesting article di Wired.it.
In terms of consumption, the Italian is spending, on average, more and more for consoles, accessories and videogames in general , a symptom of a widespread interest and not only relegated to the young / very young.
To sum up: economically, putting video games in the context of Olympic sports could be an appropriate club, corroborated by widespread interest and a broad audience.
When, then, video games at the Olympics? It seems possible that already in the 2024 at the Paris Olympics they could the first e-sports appear. So we talk about six years, a good amount of time to organize the basics of a sport. Of course, if there were to be the inevitable controversy (which could reach Parliament), the six years would pass between sterile debates, postponements and convenient solutions that do not satisfy anyone.
What can we, passionate and intelligent players do? Encourage the change of mentality by highlighting, on every occasion, the healthy values that video games bring with them . We have already talked about teamwork, but we can also name respect for the adversary, growth as a group, the aggregation factor for timid or struggling subjects. These are just a few examples, but they make the idea of gaming “beautiful”, without mentioning the artistic and cultural value that certain titles embody.
Some will raise the accusing finger and say: “Video games stimulate anger, lead to quarrels etc”. Well, which sport does not lead to heat the spirits? It does not seem to me that the soccer championships have been boycotted for the fights on the pitch or for some post match discussion.
The cultural growth of the country towards the videogames passes, also and above all, through us players.
In your opinion, Videogames and Olympics are a winning combination or do you think it is still too early?
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