Olympic torch burns for gaming?

Head of Global Gaming League has Olympic-sized dreams for joystick jockeys; discussion with Chinese gov't in works for demo at Beijing.

The Olympic torch burns for gaming, says Ted Owen, founder of The Global Gaming League. Owen has already been in discussions with the Chinese government to make gaming a demonstration sport at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, according to CNN/Money's Chris Morris.

The idea of gaming in a competition as tradition-rich as the Olympics may seem hair-brained to some, but the argument can be made that a shot in the arm is just what the Olympics need. The international games have gotten stale in recent years and have used some nontraditional sports as life preservers. Beach Volleyball and Snowboarding have steadily gained popularity, while doping scandals have tarnished popular pastimes such as track & field, weightlifting, and swimming.

"You need to bring younger viewers back if you want to keep making money," Owen told Morris. "To do that, you need to embrace nontraditional sports. Video games deserve to be seen as a nontraditional sport."

Competitive gaming is still in its early years, but with the rise of gaming into the mainstream, its exposure has been growing exponentially. In addition to Owen's Global Gaming League, Major League Gaming, the World Cyber Games, and the Cyberathlete Professional League have grown in popularity, particularly in Asia.

Earlier this year, MLG signed a deal with the USA Network to air several one-hour episodes of competitive gaming, last year's total purse at the WCG was $2,500,000, and the Global Gaming League and America Online partnered up to bring competitive gaming content to the nation's largest Internet provider.

So while things may sound good so far for Olympic gaming, there's still one group that Owen has to convince: The International Olympic Committee. Not only is gaming not an officially recognized sport by the committee, but other big-name sports, such as baseball, have been cut from the Olympic curriculum.

So what if the Chinese government gives gaming the green light and the IOC doesn't? "We would do it anyway," said Owen. "We may not have the circles, but we'd do it right by the stadiums and would bask in the glow of the Olympic light."

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Discussion

49 comments
Dyrvom
Dyrvom

The Olympics are about humans striving for ATHLETIC perfection. I'd love to see video games get more mainstream coverage in general, but they fit better in their own category or alongside things like chess and hunting.

nerdmike
nerdmike

"This would be the equivalent of the Olympics hosting a Chain Smoking event."

Troy-M
Troy-M

Someone PM'd me the link to this article and it caught my interest, so I'll just tell you what I told them. Yes, this is the biggest step that e-sports have taken in the industry's history so far with GGL's pledge for videogaming's recognition as an Olympic discipline. However, despite the money given out in all these tournaments, the average professional gamer (especially those playing games given less general attention for competition such as Call of Duty 2 and Day of Defeat) will be lucky to make as little as $3,000 in a year from gaming. E-sports still have a long way to go until many of us can ditch our blue-collar jobs and such in hopes of making as much money as football and baseball players by becoming professional gamers, but right now, I find it more than worthy of becoming an official Olympic discipline.

gdogg4210
gdogg4210

but they still dont have skateboarding at the olympics, or do they?

JLCrogue
JLCrogue

TintedChimes "Olympic games tend to suck." LOL!! Funny, because it's true... I'm not a fan of sports, but I would be pretty entertained by watching professional gamers pwn.

Shingo
Shingo

That would be CRAZY! In a bad way or in a sweet way? I say both

DMWhiteDragon
DMWhiteDragon

Could be good, long as the games are only Wii games... you will need precision and have to be able to play for hours on end hehe (i can see players being passed bottles of water during the 15sec break, puffing hard). Computer games have been changing and the typical "frag fest" multiplayer would be a bad idea i think and its quite boring to watch... but there are alot of OTHER computer gaming areas that could suit and arn't too bad to watch The idea could work, but the impression i get from this little article i they are after typical frag fest multiplayer (which is fun personally, but i would never watch it and its got nothing to do with being an athlete) and i think that isn't a great idea

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

Wow... that is just dumb. Have you seen gamers? Not what you call Olympic athletes...

winnazdaluza
winnazdaluza

unreal tournament -->unreal championship -->unreal olympics!!!yay!!!

faizali86
faizali86

@cjek lol, ya thats the guy i was talking about. second article - the whole situation could have been avoided. crazy how kids can play for so long without moving a muscle. :S

troakun
troakun

Gaming is not a "sport". I mean really what's next? Competitive eating? Lego Construction? Chicken tossing? People wonder why no one watches the olympics, it's because it's all a bunch of stupid boring events that no one has heard of let alone care about. If the Olympic commitee is this desperate they should narrow it down to some basic athletic events and maybe someone might bother to watch.

AnimeFalcon
AnimeFalcon

Olympic won't work games cause their always changing and rules of each game are changing Ex UT99 to UT2k3 and a video game doesn't last forever lets see if anyone plays UT99 90 years from now. I see chess more likely to happen than Gaming, you do see player faint at the GM Level

LordGamer0001
LordGamer0001

i like the idea of a olympic style gaming contest, but i dont think it should be joined with the olympics. i mean the olympics are very traditional and they shouldnt be put in the same catergory as videogames.

HyruleanLink
HyruleanLink

I don't know about gaming in Olympic sports. I don't think it would work. Good thought, but try again.

psykolikwid
psykolikwid

I see more logic in introducing skateboarding as an olympic event.

Dimb
Dimb

Yeah this is a bad idea. leave gaming to CPL and MLG. Besides even if it did i would still only watch womens beach volleyball.

visuall_basic
visuall_basic

I agree with Magus704. There's no athletic component to gaming. It should not be an Olympic sport.

qaz88aof
qaz88aof

Gaming an olympic sport... please no... although the idea brings more attention to the gaming industry, which is a good thing. Paintball would be interesting to see, but ex-commando dudes would probably rip it every time (not that that's necessarily a bad thing).

iscariot83
iscariot83

hey, if games like poker can be in the olympics, I really don't see why counterstrike can't be...it's closer to a "sport." For that matter, target shooting is in the olympics...a test of precision and skill, rather than athleticim really, which is a huge part of a lot of games.

Ced_Quijote
Ced_Quijote

I can see it hovering above the event-horizon... "doped gamers".

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

You get the gold pwnage medal if you win

living420
living420

they should have paintball in the olympics.

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

I just hope the next Olympic video game will be fun. They always are a waste of time and money.

SpiderFreak
SpiderFreak

Seriously, I love games...But they're not an Olypmic sport. I mean, next thing you know, we'll have things like fishing be an Olympic event, or foosball (sp?). This is just stupid. SF

PyroSean30
PyroSean30

lol, imagine the next olympic video games,"you get to play a guy playing a video game......"

Rato51
Rato51

i like gaming but the olympics?? if they want to communicate with younger audiences try wakeboarding, or skateboarding, you know, actual sports. i have nothing agaist gaming competition but its reeeaallyy weird seeing that in the olympics

decebal
decebal

watching teh_owner pwn fatal1ty in an olimpic game would be awsome. Well I dunno ... it's a little weird, but video gamimg could be seen as a competition....

MoonUnit
MoonUnit

Why do we need a way to reward people for playing games? I love playing games, but they are constantly changing. Baseball hasn't really changed all that much in the last 20 to 25 years, but look at video games. You've gone from Pong and Pac Man to Halo and the like. That's such a huge change that I don't really see games as a sport. It's more of a hobby. Now Paintball, there's a sport that could legitimately ask for recognition.

AKGermany
AKGermany

I bet the top pro gamers would fail any olympic doping test. Red Bull induced caffeine levels through the roof! No way...

gwilo007
gwilo007

bring home the GOLD FATAL1TY!!!

BarronMatthew
BarronMatthew

I think that'd be interesting to see, but the main problem i see with it is that playing games aren't consistent like other olympic sports like Track. the 400M dash is always going to be 400 meters so there can be records and what not associated with it. I assume the video games wouldn't be the same every olympic competition, so each video game championship would mean less than the sports or events such as track that have steady measures of tradition to measure against.

1337knight
1337knight

Wow..out of all the countries..China seems to be the one...interesting (i am wondering if they still have the internet/gaming/suppressing info limit issue...) I really do not think the IOC will let gaming be an official olympic event, but the fact China wants more money and power doesnt suprise me.

darkninja31337
darkninja31337

cool? not sure if id watch other people play games though.

faizali86
faizali86

o cool! imagine gaming for a living! lol i remember there was some asian guy who died playing starcraft for 2-3 days non stop. will we get to see more cases like these?

juanfraino
juanfraino

yay!... then again, those games dont turn out to be very good. look at torino 06 :(

magus704
magus704

Video Games and the Olympics? Come on, I mean, honestly, I love video games, but in no way, shape or form should they be allowed as an olympic event. Playing video games does not make you an athlete. The Olympics is the highest level of athletics, therefore, the olympics and video games should be no where near each other. Even in crappy liscenced game format.