Esports in the Olympics by 2020? It could happen

Can DeepMind take on a professional StarCraft player? Adela Sznajder/DreamHack

We could see esports become an official part of the Olympic Games by 2020. The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), a South Korean organization, has received a response from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlining the process and next steps to allow esports to be recognized as an Olympic sport.

IeSF submitted a request to the IOC on Feb. 19 to obtain information on how to gain recognition for competitive gaming as part of the Olympic Games. That request was responded to on April 8, and IeSF claims it will follow up the response with all the materials and paperwork needed by the IOC.

IeSF secretary general David Lim told theScore esports in an interview that applicants are required to fill out paperwork that covers basic information, popularity, history and tradition, universality, governance, and development of the sport. The evaluation process of said paperwork is set to begin in December.

This is the second time this year that action has been taken to have esports involved with the Olympic Games. Earlier this month, it was announced that the British government is backing the International eGames Committee (IeGC), a non-profit organization, in cooperation with the IOC that will host an esports event in Rio de Janeiro alongside the Olympic Games this year.

The esports games that will take place at that event are currently uncertain. But according to the IeGC, Brazil, Great Britain, Canada and the United States will be featured in the tournament.