eSports: Are battles and shootings in games ‘violent’?

Games transfer us to virtual realities that we may not have experienced – You can play as Lionel Messi at the FIFA World Cup. You can travel back in time to ancient Egypt or to the future in Space. You may also end up at a battlefield.

The previous story shows evidences that eSports are coming on stage, but there is no consensus among the ‘traditional’ sports community and even among the eSports community on how to define and regulate eSports.

Take a look at the video above. It is an archive of the final of The International 2017 (TI7), an annual eSports championship of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game ‘Dota 2’, which winning teams got the record-breaking US$24 million rewards.

Do you find the game ‘violent’? The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has their answer.

In the same statement the IOC said ‘eSports’ could be regarded as ‘sports’, they also noted before it being officially recognised, there needed to be some kind of governing body to make sure the rising sports comply ‘with the rules and regulations of the Olympic movement’.

For instance, IOC president Thomas Bach said they would be ‘drawing a clean line’ against video games involving violence, explosions and killing, which would not fit ‘Olympic values’.

“We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people,” he told South China Morning Post in August.

Although Bach did not name any game, his statement may imply that highly popular and top grossing eSports titles like MOBA games ‘Dota 2’, ‘League of Legends’, and first person shooter games ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ and ‘Overwatch’ would not be considered as ‘eSports’ by the IOC.

For now, there is a clear gap between what the IOC and some parts of the eSports industry consider ‘eSports’ are. What do Play the Game speakers who spoke at last Thursday’s eSports session think?

(According to their order of appearance):

Ian Smith, the Integrity Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition. He is from the UK.

Alex Lim, Secretary General of International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), the global organisation for eSports. He comes from South Korea.

Ivo van Hilvoorde, Lecturer at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


(Feature photo: Gamers playing real-time military strategy title ‘StarCraft’ at Gamescom 2017, one of the largest gaming expo in Europe.

Credit: flickr user ‘dronepicr’/ licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))


This article is the second of the two stories of the eSports series.

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