Potential for esports to be medal event at Olympic Games

Chip maker Intel has been in talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the potential for esports to join the Games.

The body responsible for the Olympics has shown interest in competitive videos games, but concerns over violence have caused hesitations about whether it could make the cut as a medal event.

Intel, a partner of the Olympics, showcased 5G, VR, drones and artificial intelligence at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games to highlight how technology could enhance the competition.

During a summit in October 2017, it was agreed that esports could be considered as a sporting activity but it must not infringe on the Olympic values.

Intel UK's gaming & esports lead Scott Gillingham confirmed the company is in talks with the IOC.

"We don't have a view on whether it should be (included) or not but we're totally open and have been talking to the Olympics to let them understand what esports is and what potential there could be for it, but ultimately it is down to Olympic Committee on whether they decide to bring it on," he said.

"There are discussions between Intel and the Olympic Committee... but nothing at this point is confirmed but there are conversations."

Paris 2024 Olympic organisers have reportedly held similar talks about including esports during the next Olympics, in a bid to make the French capital an esports hub for Europe.

According to Mr Gillingham, the UK is the fifth largest gaming market, leading double digital growth of its gaming and esports division.

"The esports side of the market, the UK in the past has been a bit behind and a bit under-developed compared to say, the US, Germany and China but in the last couple of years, we've seen that growth really happening and more of an acceptance and an understanding of esports in the UK has dramatically changed," he said.

"Esports is helping us develop our data-centric side of the business and is a key element of fuelling that strategy."

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