At the London Games Festival this week, the eGames were announced. Simply put, the eGames will be established as an international eSports competition which will take place during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiero. Unlike other eGaming competitions where competitors can win substantial reward money for their success, winning in the eGames means you will receive national pride and medals.
According to the International eGames Committee (IEGC)’s chief marketing officer,
“In line with other globally established sporting events, the eGames will be a medal only competition, with no prize money, but the opportunity to take home gold for your country.”
Operating with this mindset will most likely prevent the best players from entering, especially since high-payout competitions are where the top-ranked players are most likely to appear.
Besides the lack of financial rewards, the whole idea sounds like a fun concept.
Same time, same place?
But the eGames aren’t tied to the Olympics, so why are they trying so hard to steal their thunder? In fact, that raises a whole slew of concerns. Holding the eGames in the same city, at the same time as the most recognized, global sports event ever sounds like a recipe for disaster. From a marketing perspective, there might be a lot of people interested in competitive gaming, but it is going to be an uphill battle to get Olympic viewers to start watching the eGames instead. And I’m sure there will be a lot of gamers watching the Olympics, why put them into a position where they have to make that choice?
Making crowded cities more crowded
Ignoring the marketing aspect, there are also some social implications of holding the eGames at the same location and time period as the Olympics. Host cities are packed with people and the cities struggle to maintain their infrastructure for the event. While it brings in substantial economic returns for the host city, it’s also a nightmare as far as traffic congestion and pollution are concerned. Adding another big competition to the city will only worsen these problems.
It would make much more sense to hold the eGames at a different time, ideally, on different years from the Olympics. With the degree that host cities advertise the Olympics, the eGames could work with the cities to ensure that their competition would be promoted just as heavily at a different time. This would reduce strain on the host city and likely would also increase the success for the eGames.
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