Germany's Olympic Federation president says 'esport does not exist'

There's been talk over the past year or so about bringing esports to the Olympics in one form or another: The International Olympic Committee held an 'esports forum' last year, and while videogame violence is obviously a point of contention, it's not going to keep esports medal events out of this year's Olympic-affiliated Southeast Asian Games

Not everyone is in favor of the movement, however, including Alfons Hörmann, president of DOSB, the German Olympic Sport Federation. "Esport does not exist," Hörmann said, as reported by (Google translated). "And it will not be included in the Olympic program." 

His comment echoes that of Peter Beuth, Minister of the Interior and Sports for the German state of Hesse, who previously (and hilariously) compared esports to knitting and playing the recorder and expressed strong opposition to government support for esports programs. 

"The idea that the e-gaming industry is vying for funding, I think, is absurd," he said. Beuth has previously called for an end to the use of the term "esports," because it "has nothing to do with sport." 

Interestingly, the DOSB recently adopted a resolution that actually embraces an element of esports, to a limited extent. It said that "electronic sports simulations (virtual sports)" are important to the ongoing development of sports and sports organizations and recommended "the systematic development of strategies for development of sports in the virtual world." It also acknowledged "the importance of egaming as part of a modern youth and everyday culture." But not "as a separate sporting activity," or as something that meets the criteria for DOSB support. It also "resolutely oppose[s] a reception of egaming/'esport' in the Tax Code."   

Hörmann's reluctance is blunt, but esports does have at least one supporter in the German government: Dorothee Bär, Germany's State Minister for Digitization, tweeted in October 2018 that "esport is sport."

Thanks, Unikrn.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.