Last week, Intel announced a new version of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament is heading to South Korea.
IEM PyeongChang will serve as a warm-up to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and is supported by the International Olympic Committee.
Two distinct gaming experiences in Korea
Ahead of February’s Olympic Games, IEM PyeongChang will feature a StarCraft 2 tournament with qualifiers starting in November. A second event will feature a separate exhibition, introducing Ubisoft’s video game expansion Steep: Road to the Olympics. The game is officially licensed by the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018.
“Intel has been pushing the boundaries of esports for well over a decade and our goal is to bring esports to every global sporting stage,” said Intel Client Computing Senior VP and General Manager Gregory Bryant. “From the qualifying events to the groundbreaking Intel Extreme Masters tournament in PyeongChang, we see this as another important step in giving more people around the world a chance to experience the thrill of esports.”
Intel also plans to bring the interactive gaming experience to the Olympic Village. Kiosks featuring Steep will be set up where attendees and athletes can try the game.
“We are proud to have our Worldwide TOP Partner Intel bring this competition to PyeongChang in the lead up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games,” said IOC Television and Marketing Services Managing Director Timo Lumme. “Following on from the Olympic Summit last week, the IOC will now explore esports’ relationship with the Olympic Movement further. This is the start of an exciting future, and we’re interested to see how this experience will play out.”
The main event and qualifiers will be organized and managed by Intel in collaboration with long-term partner ESL. The two companies have been working together for over 15 years and have continuously delivered top-quality events year after year.
“As one of the fastest-growing segments of media and entertainment, we are honored to help further the esports industry by helping to facilitate the Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang tournament,” said ESL CEO Ralf Reichert. “Esports already reaches a global fan base so this event in PyeongChang naturally aligns with this audience.”
IOC Summit: ‘Esports are showing strong growth’
The initiative to include esports in the Olympics has been around for a while now. The latest development on this front comes from the recent 6th Olympic Summit, which took place last week. The various discussion points also included topics focused on the esports industry.
During the “Development Of Esports” discussion, the Summit agreed that:
- Esports are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries. This can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement.
- Competitive esports could be considered as a sporting activity. The players involved prepare and train with an intensity comparable to athletes in traditional sports.
- To be recognized by the IOC as a sport, the content of esports must not infringe Olympic values.
- A further requirement for recognition by the IOC must be the existence of an organization guaranteeing compliance with the rules and regulations of the Olympic Movement (anti-doping, betting, manipulation, etc.).
While further steps still need to be taken to reach its goal, the Summit debating esports’ merits can be seen as progress. And with the ongoing development of the competitive gaming industry, the date when esports fans may cheer for Olympic teams could soon be in sight.
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