Five Games With Real-Life Sports Equivalent Joins New Olympic Virtual Series

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the new Olympic Virtual Series, the “first-ever, Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports.”

Basically, an esports event.

With the Olympics being the international level sports competition as it is, the five games to the Olympic Virtual Series are all based on real-life sports. So no Dota or CS:GO here.

The Olympic Virtual Series will partner with different publishers and organisers for each of the five games, and each will have a different format in participation. Though expect it to be “in the format that maximises online mass participation and prioritises inclusivity and participation”.

The five games and sports represented, and their respective organiser/publisher, are as follows:

  • World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) – eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – Zwift, Zwift inc.
  • World Rowing – Open format
  • World Sailing – Virtual Regatta, Virtual Regatta SAS
  • Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) – Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital

The two notable ones are the choice for motorsport, being a version of Gran Turismo. The series has partnered with the FIA, the government body of motorsport, for its FIA-certified Gran Turismo Championships which see worldwide participation.

The other commercial video game being used is the Japan-only eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball, or eBaseball Powerful Pro Yakyuu, series.

The Olympics have been eyeing an expansion into esports, as part of the recommendations outlined in the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020+5 document. Virtual sports have a bigger part to play in the world today, not only due to their massive appeal to the younger generation, but it’s also getting more and more complementary to the real-life equivalents.

The Olympic Virtual Series will start on May 13, ahead of the postponed Olympics Game Tokyo 2020, and will continue through June 23. Registration for the events will be opening soon.


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