Video gamers could one day be stepping onto the podium to collect gold, silver and bronze medals after the International Olympic Committee opened the door for their inclusion in future Games.
The International Olympic Committee said on Saturday, October 28, video gaming could be included if it adhered to the Olympic "values."
It looks highly unlikely 'esports' will be included in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but a more realistic target would be the 2024 Games in Paris.
"The summit agreed that 'eSports' are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement," the IOC said in a statement after the meeting.
"Competitive 'eSports' could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports," said the IOC.
Esports include games like Call of Duty, Rocket League, CounterStrike Global Offensive and DOTA 2, where players take each other on in tournaments which often and draw millions of spectators online.
Global audiences are expected to reach 385.5 million this year, according to research firm Newzoo.
But the IOC, meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the weekend, said any inclusion in future Games would require official recognition as an Olympic sport and a governing organization which could guarantee compliance "with the rules and regulations of the Olympic movement."
No eSports Governing Body
eSports has been made a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and many professional sports teams have set up their own eTeams to compete for international titles.
Inclusion in the Olympics would be greeted with skepticism by many older people, but the IOC is hoping it would reach out to the younger generation, who have grown up surrounded by video gaming.