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Olympic leaders cool to the idea of adding video games to their Games

Olympic leaders cool to the idea of adding video games to their Games
Members of the USC esports team practice in a lab in the basement of a campus building on Nov. 12. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

How far will Olympic leaders go to attract a younger audience?

For now, at least, they seem to be drawing the line at video games.

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Not long after expressing interest in esports, representatives of the Olympic movement issued a statement Saturday explaining that “a discussion about the inclusion … is premature.”

Their decision emerged from a major summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, where attendees expressed numerous concerns.

They found some games too violent to be compatible with Olympic values and worried that the industry is too fragmented to accommodate an international governing body.

They also balked at referring to video games as a “sport.”

“It was agreed that competitive gaming entails physical activity which can be compared to that required in more traditional sports,” the statement said. “This, on the other hand, cannot necessarily be said to apply to leisure electronic gaming.”

It was just last summer that International Olympic Committee officials first met with esports organizers and players.

Despite this weekend’s pullback by the IOC, leaders suggested further meetings and voiced support for video games based on traditional sports such as basketball and soccer.

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