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Olympics chief says videogames won't be allowed because they're too violent

In July, the International Olympic Committee announced that it would take part in an "Esports Forum," with panels, interviews, roundtables, and discussions, all with an eye toward one day—possibly—bringing esports to the Olympics. The forum resulted in the creation of an Esports Liaison Group between the IOC and the Global Association of International Sports Federations, "to continue communication and engagement between the Olympic Movement and esports and gaming stakeholders."   

It sounds like a positive outcome overall, but IOC president Thomas Bach made it clear in an interview with the Associated Press that he's not interested in having videogames at the Olympics unless and until some big changes are made. 

"We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination," he said. "So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted." 

Bach acknowledged that there's an irony in the Olympics, which features sports that are actually violent—boxing, wrestling, judo, hockey—rejecting the entirely simulated violence of videogames. "Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people," he said. "But sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values." 

That may leave the door open to relatively non-violent games like Hearthstone or Rocket League, but without the likes of Overwatch, League of Legends, and Dota 2, the appeal of Olympic esports will be muted at best. Knowing that those games are absent because the head of the IOC believes that they're excessively violent "killer games" certainly will not help bring in the intended audience. 

The AP report also noted that IOC member Carlos Nuzman, head of the organizing committee for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, remains suspended as a result of his arrest on charges bribery, fraud, and vote-buying. Brazil spent approximately $20 billion hosting the 2016 Summer Games; the country's national museum recently burned to the ground, resulting in the loss of millions of artifacts, because funding for a sprinkler system and other fire prevention equipment was not available. 

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.