First Olympic Esports Games could arrive in 2025. 'X'

"Next year or 'by 2026 at the latest'," International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach told Xinhua Sports last Monday. That's the date being considered for the first Olympic Esports Games, which Japan is bidding to host and where "artificial intelligence will play an important role".

"I think we can expect the first edition of the Olympic Esports Games in 2025, or 2026 at the latest," remarked Thomas Bach. The IOC President's words confirm what he said in October last year, during the 141st IOC Session, that Esports is a necessary reality in society and that its exponential growth requires reflection on the way forward.

The steps we have taken to get here are proof of this, with the hosting of the Esports Forum in Lausanne in 2018, the Olympic Virtual Series in 2021 and the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore last year, which attracted a spectacular audience and confirmed its success.

As reported by Xinhua, Bach pointed out that, on the one hand, there are virtual sports with physical activity, while, on the other hand, some of the most popular electronic games are in line with Olympic values. "I think we can put together a very interesting but also values-based programme," he added. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a key role in sport and the Olympic Games, according to the IOC President. "AI will play an important role not only in sport and the Olympic Games, but in all of our lives," said Bach. Everyone will have access to the best tools, treatments and personalised work with AI.

Thomas Bach sees the first edition of the Olympic Games in Esports fast approaching. IOC
Thomas Bach sees the first edition of the Olympic Games in Esports fast approaching. IOC

AI will allow athletes to improve and ensure that no one is left without the attention they need. Not only will the athletes improve, but so will all the structures that surround them. This includes something as fundamental as the judges and referees who ensure justice for the athletes. 

Negotiations between the IOC and the Japanese authorities to host the first Olympic Esports Games were expected to intensify during this period. Japan was the option that gained the most traction by the end of 2023. Nothing has been announced yet. The success of the Singapore Olympic Week has made all the stakeholders aware of the need to open the door to this project that will change the concept of sport, as well as the social and market landscape.