This Year's Olympics Will Have A Tie-In Virtual Sports Series
Esports is coming to the Olympics, sort of.
In line with the International Olympic Committee's goal to "encourage the development of virtual sports and further engage with video gaming communities," the Olympics will be getting its first ever gaming series this year. Dubbed the Olympic Virtual Series, it will feature five virtual versions of Olympic sports in a separate event, which will take place before the actual Olympics kick off in July.
Sadly the Olympics hasn't included esports like DOTA or CS:GO on its roster, and many of the top-name sports sims are missing from the line-up as well. The event does include Konami's eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020 in collaboration with the World Baseball Softball Confederation, fitness app Zwift partnering with the Union Cycliste Internationale, and Virtual Regatta paired with World Sailing.
The biggest name on the list is Gran Turismo, who have partnered with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile for the competitive event. Also included is rowing, which is listed as "open format" instead of naming a publisher and a game, presumably meaning participants will just be using a standard rowing machine.
Unlike the Olympics we're used to watching, the Olympic Virtual Series is a "mass participation series" which will allow anyone to compete from home presuming they have the right software or equipment. The Gran Turismo event, for example, invites players to "Become the best racer in the virtual world and be crowned in the first ever Olympic Virtual Series!"
Details on how people can participate, enter, or just watch are still a little hazy, however. The announcement on the Olympic Channel says "all five OVS events will differ in form and concept and will operate via the sport's respective publisher platform," and that "additional information on how to participate, as well as prizes included with select events, will be announced in due course."
The Olympic Virtual Series is due to take place from May 13 through to June 23, finishing up a month ahead of the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 23.
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