Garry Cook, executive chairman of Gfinity, a UK-based eSports solutions provider, says it is “unfair” to suggest eSports would not be a suitable addition to the Olympic Games, after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach called eSports too violent last year.
“It could be said, should Fifa or football be a game that can be played at the Olympics at the electronic level, well, we’re seeing large uptake in that sector and yes, that’s probably a good case,” he told the Press Association.
“We must understand that consumers and participants are segmented into different forms and therefore it would be unfair to say eSports shouldn’t be in the Olympics – there are elements of it that play into the Olympic values.”
Dozens of games – including football series Fifa – now hold their own tournaments offering big money prizes while filling arenas and drawing millions of viewers online, with the industry projected to be valued at one billion US dollars this year.
Mr Cook, who has previously worked at Manchester City, said eSports presents a great opportunity for the UK.
“The UK has always had a very strong and deeply rooted traditional core sports agenda and we are seeing elements of it grow far quicker in the UK than anywhere else but it needs some of the leaders to take a hold and to gain traction,” he explained.
“We’ve also seen big events in big arenas in this marketplace, so we know there’s an audience.
“And we’re also seeing the likes of the Premier League and the F1 organisation provide eSports competitions which creates great content and storytelling, so it is growing, it continues to build and it continues to grow but just the sheer statics against this sector are not as large as some of the other markets like Asia or America.”