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The Metaverse and the evolution of esports

We haven’t seen any additional major announcements at this year’s Global Metaverse Virtual Conference further to our previous post. Subsequently, we’ll be turning over today’s post to the Metaverse and the evolution of esports. If anything crops up, we’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Esports, short for electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games. With its origins in the University of Stanford’s student halls and Atari’s 1980 Space Invaders Tournament, esports has grown into a hundred-million-dollar industry with an audience of hundreds of millions of people globally. The largest of these competitions includes The International, an annual esports world championship tournament for the video game Dota 2 video game with a 2019 prize pool of $34 million, and the League of Legends World Championship, another annual world championship tournament that attracted nearly 4 million viewers in 2019.

The popularity of esports has led to its inclusion in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) Olympic Agenda 2020+5. Under ‘Digitalisation’, the IOC recognise the convergence of the physical and digital worlds and see the “opportunity to further embrace digital technology as a powerful tool to address people more directly and promote the Olympic values”. In its recommendations, the IOC encourage the "development of virtual sports and further engage with video gaming communities" and, in 2021, the IOC launched the Olympic Virtual Series, or OVS. The OVS included five sports: Baseball, on Konomi’s eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020; cycling, on home cycling application Zwift; rowing, on the OVS’s web application; sailing, on the Virtual Regatta game; and motorsport, on the highly popular Gran Turismo racing game.

The Metaverse will open up a huge platform for competitive esports, for both professionals and amateurs alike. All existing sports will be viable for competition in the Metaverse, as well as whole new forms of sport. The Metaverse could herald a new renaissance in sport, with the ability for people to engage in sports that were both physically impossible and previously unthinkable outside of the digital world. How about snowboarding, but on a volcanic alien world? Boxing, but where the competitor’s avatars are giant robots and/or fictional monsters? And a golf course made up of the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, or the surface of the Moon?

Like all things in the Metaverse, the possibilities are literally endless. But like competitive sport in the physical world, there will be a need for guardrails so that athletes don’t take thigs too far. Due to the nature of competitive sport athletes will always try almost anything to improve and gain a competitive edge. The question is: “What performance-enhancing drugs will the Metaverse have to content with?”

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Courtesy of Wix

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