On July 21st, the Olympic Esports Forum was held in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Olympic Esports Forum was hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Global Association of International Esports Federations (GAISF) at the Olympic Museum. The aim of the Olympic Esports Forum was, according to 'The Esports Observer', "To explore potential collaboration opportunities and commonalities across the different industries, as well as discussing methods to improve conditions for each community.".
Around 150 stakeholders across all industries were invited. Amongst these stakeholders were representatives from giant supporters/influencers in the Esports industry. These representatives were from Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Epic Games, and others.
In the opening remarks of the forum, Patrick Baumann, president of GAISF, stated that the main purpose of the day's meet was to "Build a joint understanding between the Esports community and the Olympic movement.". Noticeably, Patrick commented that they were investigating the "mutually beneficial" steps that can be taken after to move forward.
Shortly afterward, Baumann introduced the moderator of the forum, Rick Fox. Former NBA superstar and Esports franchise owner, Fox ensured that this forum would be "one of many forums to come in the future.".
Rick Fox introduced "The World of Esports" panel. In this panel, it presented leading Esports executives discussing their thoughts on where the industry is now, the benefits to gamers, what its current priorities are, and what they would like to see regarding collaboration opportunities with the Olympic movement.
Blizzard Entertainment president and CEO, Mike Morhaime, commented on one of the big turning points for Esports was back in 2010. Morhaime goes on saying that 2010 allowed streaming platforms to become available on the internet which made everything accessible. "This made it accessible for anyone to broadcast a tournament, and to watch a tournament anywhere in the world. I think that started what has been an exponential growth for the industry.".
Korea eSports Association (KeSPA) secretary-general, Kim Cheol-Hag, gave his insight on the matter. "Starting in 1998 we started to change the world of Esports from a player oriented industry to a spectator game.". Afterward, Kim continued on by saying Starcraft had been beloved in Korea for years. In addition, Kim Cheol-Hag explained that KeSPA's goal is not necessarily only focused on targeting the increase in entertainment of its games. KeSPA is also encouraging players to take a new and unique professional route with training. In other words, a player aiming to become an all-around respectable player instead of only looking at the big prize pool.
Riot Games CEO, Nicolo Laurent, stated that he would like to see governments getting more involved with what everyone else is already working on. "Recognising Esports as its own discipline, creating the right regulations and the right systems to enable us to really grow. One of the big pain points is travel, certain countries really welcome Esports athletes, such as the US, you get an athlete visa. There are certain territories that are less sophisticated in that regard, and that makes it hard for us to grow the sport in certain areas of the world.".
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