I love the Olympics. I love the spirit and pride that comes with international competition in such a wide range of sports. When I think of Olympic sports, track and field, swimming, skiing, and skating come to mind. Video games do not.
Ted Owen, head of the Global Gaming League, wants to see that changed. He’s pushing a campaign to get video games introduced as a demonstration during the 2008 Olympics. He's so serious about the idea that he has entered into talks with the Chinese government about having video games included during the Beijing Olympics.
Owen told CNN, " People aren't watching [the Olympics] as much anymore. You need to bring younger viewers back if you want to keep making money. To do that, you need to embrace non-traditional sports. They did it with snowboarding - and look how the popularity of that has surged in the Games. Video games deserve to be seen as a non-traditional sport...They would bring something to the Games that [that age group] engages in and everyone understands."
The idea sounds a little crazy, especially since baseball and fastpitch softball will get the Olympic boot after 2008. A few questions came to mind:
- Would video gaming compromise the integrity of the Games more than baseball and fastpitch softball?
- Does anyone else have a problem with new events being considered based on how much revenue they could pull in as opposed to it's accordance with the Olympic's mission of sporting competition?
- Could video gaming potentially be considered sporting competition?
(Photo provided by Bongarts, taken by Alexander Hassenstein)