The esports question / Andy Miah

Miah, Andy

Ever since the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, appeared as Super Mario in the Tokyo 2020 handover ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the scene was set for esports to become part of what the International Olympic Committee defines as the 'Olympic Family'. The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games' brief was brimming with references to Japanese youth culture, Japan's contribution to gaming history, the future of sports, the integration of increasingly immersive digital storytelling features within elite sports broadcasting, and the gamification of spectatorship. Furthermore, it spoke of the growing proximity of the Olympic and esports industries, which is the focus of this article. More specifically, the article examines the historical development of the relationship between esports and the Olympic Movement, harnessing the metaphor of the 'family' as an explanation for why the relationship is complex, multifaceted, unresolved, and intimately tied to a variety of processes that continue to limit further integration.

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