The next Olympic Games in Tokyo will be revolutionary because we will witness the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series that is going to include baseball, motorsport, and cycling. They will be held between May 13 and June 23 and will be organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
For the first time in the history of this centenary sporting event, there will be a digital version with eSports. This demonstrates the change of trend and the growing importance of video games within the more traditional sports organizations.
First-ever Olympic Virtual Series will be held between May 13 and June 23
There will be five sports in the organization: baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing, and motor sport (car racing). For their organization, the IOC has partnered with the federations of these sports, which will configure each event.
In the case of virtual car racing, the International Automobile Federation has chosen the Gran Turismo video game, a classic of this genre; the World Baseball and Softball Confederation has opted for Konami’s eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020; the International Sailing Federation has opted for Virtual Regatta, a title that has a community of more than 1 million active players; the International Cycling Union will collaborate with Zwift, a developer of applications for indoor cycling; while the International Federation of Rowing Societies has opted for an open format.
Thus, the event in Tokyo will be the first milestone in the history of the Virtual Olympic Games, which the IOC hopes to expand in future editions. In fact, they told in the presentation that the soccer (FIFA), basketball (FIBA), tennis (ITF) and Taekwondo (WT) federations have also shown interest in participating. For the moment, those are all sports-related video games. We are curious to see video games such as League of Legends or Dota 2 in future organizations.
An open-format to gain massive audiences
One of the great attractions of the games is that anyone will be able to participate in the competition from home. The organization has opted for an open scenario to maximize the online participation of the largest number of users. The registration methods for the different modalities, as well as the prizes included in the selected events, will be announced soon.
“The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports. Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”
For his part, David Lappartient, president of the negotiating table between eSports and the IOC, as well as President of the International Cycling Union, has pointed out that the Virtual Olympic Games will be “an exciting step forward for the virtual sports world and the Olympic Movement.”