E-sport will be present on the sidelines of the 2018 Olympic Games

Intel will host a Starcraft II tournament in PyeongChang ahead of the opening of the Olympic Winter Games. This competition has the support of the Olympic Committee, which is considering the integration of e-sport as an official discipline.

This is another step towards recognizing e-sport as an Olympic discipline. On Friday, the computer manufacturer Intel announced that it was going to organize a video game competition with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Named “Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang”, this tournament will take place in the Korean city, host of the Winter Games in February 2018, a few days before the opening of the Olympics.

The players, selected around the world, will compete on the strategy game Starcraft II (Activision-Blizzard), very popular in South Korea. The qualification phases will start on the Internet in November. Intel also plans to hold a public final in Beijing in December between the top two Chinese players. The winner will win his ticket for PyeongChang. The Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang will also include a tournament without stake around the title of Ubisoft Steep: Road to the Olympics, official video game of the Olympiad 2018.

This partnership between Intel and the IOC is particularly advanced. The tournament will be broadcast on the Internet on the official platforms of the 2018 games. “TV and digital partners will be announced soon,” said Intel. The computer manufacturer will also have access to the Olympic Village and the Games venues. He will place bollards there so that the sportsmen and the public can try Steep: On the way to the Olympic Games.

South Korean figure skater You Young (L), the first torchbearer of the country, passes the Olympic flame to South Korean comedian Yoo Jae-Suk (R) during a ceremony of the start the Olympic torch relay across South Korea at Incheon bridge, west of Seoul, on November 1, 2017.
The Olympic flame arrived in South Korea on November 1, 100 days ahead of the opening ceremony for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

Popularity of e-sports in South Korea
South Korea is the ideal breeding ground for e-sport entry into the Olympics. Video game competitions have been a phenomenon for the past decade, with major television shows broadcasting events that easily fill stadiums. Several Korean professional players are considered as real stars in their country. As Starcraft II champions are very often Koreans, Intel and the IOC ensure that the local audience is attracted to PyeongChang and have very good audiences, both online and on television. The IOC did not choose Intel by chance. The computer processor manufacturer has successfully sponsored e-sports competitions since 2006, the Intel Extreme Masters. The latter are held on several games (Starcraft, League of Legends, Counter-Strike …) around the world and promote the components of the American society. The event in PyeongChang will be equipped with the Intel Core i7 processor and enterprise cloud solutions.

“The IOC will explore more deeply the links between e-sport and the Olympic movement. We are curious to see how this experience will unfold, “commented TimoLumme, IOC Marketing Manager. At the end of October, the same committee suggested that it does not close the door to the entrance of video games into Olympic disciplines. The popularity of e-sports among young people is indeed a good excuse to get them interested in the Olympics and boost their audiences. But the IOC sets its conditions. The games “must not break the Olympic values”, which effectively excludes the warrior titles. Another prerequisite: “the existence of an organization guaranteeing compliance with the regulations of the Olympic Movement (anti-doping, paris …)”. The world of e-sports, very exploded, is still far from having created its international representative body.

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