E-Sports at the Olympics

Following the arrival in PyeongChang, I was given the opportunity to join Dr. Neirotti to meet her colleagues in the e-sport industry. E-sports is becoming a big industry and money maker and is even being considered for the program for the Paris 2024 Olympics. This year, there was a lead-up competition prior to the Olympic Games for the IOC to see what kind of attention e-sports could bring to the Olympics. I was very excited to have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the conversation and the world of e-sports.

We arrived at the Golden Tulip to meet with Dr. Neirotti’s friend, Wendy, and throughout the evening I was intrigued by the increase in attention that e-sports has received and the growth that the sport has experienced these past few years. Wendy explained how the sport has become so formalized recently. She explained that over these past few years, neurosurgeons have developed technology and assessments that can determine whether or not a gamer has what it takes to become a professional. Assessments can measure a gamer’s greatest strengths and weaknesses and determine their place on a gaming team. I found this very interesting because this type of assessment is rarely heard about in more traditional sports such as basketball or baseball, but because e-sports is primarily cognitive, different types of assessments must occur.

Also, during our conversation, branding was addressed. Most recently, global brands have taken an interest in e-sports and interestingly, Loreal has become a newcomer in the industry. With the emergence of women in the sport, Loreal has taken an interest into seeing what this increasingly popular sport has to offer. As previously mentioned, e-sports is hoping to make an appearance at the Olympic Games in the 2024 Paris games, but a major concern when selecting sports and events for the Olympic program is the balance of men and women to maintain gender equality. While women are emerging in the sport, there is still a question of how the Olympic program will need to be shifted in order to maintain the balance of men and women with the current unbalanced demographic of e-sports. It will be interesting to see how e-sports will evolve in the future particularly in the Olympic games and with women.

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