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The Olympics and Fortnite: Marketing match made in heaven or desperate move?

The Olympics and Fortnite: Marketing match made in heaven or desperate move?

Fortnite and the Olympics: Marketing match made in heaven or desperate move?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) can’t seem to get esports right.

The latest announcement, where Fortnite is introduced into the Olympic Esports Series is an perfect example. Getting popular game like Fortnite into the competition is a great move, but, it seems it is only used as hype material and a commercial move.

When Fortnite is mentioned, the first picture that comes to any gamer’s mind is a Battle Royale with 100 players diving into the map. That won’t be the case at the Olympic Esports Series, though. This is because players will only be tested on their “target aiming accuracy” just like “sport shooters.”

The Olympics and Fortnite: Marketing match made in heaven or desperate move?

Let’s take a look at why Fortnite, a remarkable esports title, is being reduced to a boring target practice in the Olympic Esports Series.

Fortnite in the Olympic Esports Series, why is this happening really?

All the games selected in the Olympic Esports Series are titles based on traditional sports. This includes Archery (Tic Tac Bow), Tennis (Tennis Clash), Cycling (Zwift), and more.

For a game to be a part of the Olympic Esports Series, it needs to be recognized by an established sporting federation. This is why popular titles like League of Legends and Counter-Strike have been shunned because they don’t have an equivalent real-world sport.

The main reason behind this is the way the IOC looks at esports. It views it as a subset of a traditional sport instead of a completely separate form of competition. Thus, to include of Fortnite, the IOC has brought on the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). The goal is to make esports as close to real-world sports and as a result, we end up with simple target practice in a game, instead of actual esports gameplay.

This isn’t the first time this is happening, though. The Asian Games 2022, which have been postponed to later this year because of the pandemic, also has a similar story. PUBG Mobile, one of the games part of esports in the tournament, will only have target practice and racing.

Olympic Esports SeriesOlympic Esports Series

The IOC needs to take a note from the SEA Games

The IOC may be terrible at doing esports, but one of its sanctioned events is already doing it right.

Esports has been a part of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games since 2019. After being a part in 2021, the SEA Games are set to feature esports as a medal event for the third time in 2023.

Unlike the IOC, though, the SEA Games don’t require a sporting federation to recognize an esports title. Instead, it appoints an esports-focused federation to handle video gaming in the event. Having people with an esports background handle it at the event is certainly the right move.

Last year, the SEA Games featured League of Legends, FIFA Online 4, Crossfire, Wild Rift, Arena of Valor, PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, and MLBB.

This is obviously a much better lineup than the Olympic Esports Series. Viewership numbers seem to be positive in this format as well. The finals for MLBB between the Philippines and Indonesia recorded a peak viewership of 2.2 million viewers. The tournament, which happened in May, even eclipsed some established esports events that took place in the same month like the PGL Major and MSI, per Esports Charts.

It remains to be seen if the IOC decides to backtrack on its steps and decides to do esports right.

Read next: Do esports even need the Olympics or is it the other way around?


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