Competitive gaming could be on its way to the Olympic Games as an official medal sport within the next decade.
The co-president of Paris's bid committee for the 2024 Games, Tony Estanguet, confirmed in an interview yesterday (9 August) that he will speak to both esports representatives and the International Olympic Committee about its possible inclusion, citing the need to appeal to a younger, esport-savvy viewership.
"We have to look at it because we can't say, 'It's not us. It's not about Olympics,'" Estanguet told Associated Press. "The youth, yes they are interested in esports and this kind of thing. Let's look at it. Let's meet them. Let's try if we can find some bridges."
The interview also claims that Estanguet is of the belief that "a contest of digital prowess should be considered a legitimate sport", but also understands that the road to legitimacy, both in terms of broader public perception and in an official capacity at the Olympics, will not be a simple yes or no scenario.
"I don't want to say 'no' from the beginning," Estanguet continued. "I think it's interesting to interact with the IOC, with them, the esports family, to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success."
Paris is set to be named as the host for the 2024 Games at an International Olympic Committee meeting in Lima, Peru in September, with a competing bid from Los Angeles now expected to shift to the 2028 Games.
The process of deciding which medal events will feature at the 2024 Games will begin after the 2020 Games in Tokyo – an event that gave video games a spotlight in its own way during the Rio 2016 Games' closing ceremony, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared on stage to mark the passing of the Olympic flag dressed in Mario cosplay.