Commonwealth Games explores potential esports inclusion with gaming event
In the latest saga of a sporting event flirting with esports, the Commonwealth Games is hosting a competitive gaming event through an "exploratory partnership" that could see the event include gaming in the future.
The basics: The press release indicates the partnership is predominantly geared towards supporting and benefiting the Commonwealth Games Federation.
- The Commonwealth Games Federation has partnered with the Tencent-backed Global Esports Federation to host the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships in Birmingham, UK, later in 2022.
- The CGF and GEF plan to explore the "development of sustainable esports properties" that would "benefit" the national members of the Commonwealth Games Association, though didn't detail precisely how this could take shape.
- The parties will also conduct an "analysis of the status of esports in the Commonwealth" to see how competitive gaming can "support and advance" the Commonwealth Games. This likely means the sporting event wants access to the young demographic that is interested in esports, just like the NFL's recent partnership with FaZe Clan.
The event: Major question marks surround the newly announced event, though some details have been released.
- The Commonwealth Esports Championships will be supported by the British Esports Association and take place on August 6-7th in Birmingham's International Convention Centre.
- While the "renowned multi-genre global titles" that will be competed on haven't been confirmed, the release states that the event will feature "exciting demonstrations showcasing Active Esports". Active Esports is what the GEF labels games like Virtual Taekwondo and World Cup Ski Racing.
The convergence: The Global Esports Federation has made a series of partnerships with traditional sporting bodies over the past couple of years, though it's hardly supported by endemic esports organizations and companies.
- The GEF has partnered with sporting bodies such as World Archery, International Surfing Association, and International Tennis Federation to "work on evolving physical sport experiences in the digital age."
- Esports has already been integrated into the Asian Games, with eight medalled events across titles like FIFA, PUBG, and Dota 2 set to take place in the 2022 Asian Games in September. Esports was a demonstration event at the 2018 Games and evidently proved effective.
- The largest discussion regarding the convergence of esports and sports is through a hypothetical acceptance for competitive gaming into the Olympic Games. While the International Olympic Committee toyed with esports in 2021 with the Olympic Virtual Series, the IOC maintains that it wouldn't embrace a game that is "promoting violence or discrimination."