Fortnite has been named as a late addition to the International Olympic Committee’s latest stab at esports.
Back in March, the IOC announced the Olympic Esports Series, a competition set to feature nine virtual sports, represented by a range of video games such as Just Dance and Gran Turismo. Today brings word that Fortnite will also now be included, as part of a 10th discipline: “sport shooting”.
The whole thing will also be part of a crossover in Fortnite (because of course), with a specially-designed island in Fortnite designed to promote the Olympics’ Esports event.
The news marks a U-turn by the IOC, which previously said that so-called “killer games” would never be featured.
“We cannot have in the Olympic programme a game which is promoting violence or discrimination,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said in 2018.
“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people. But sport is the civilised expression about this. If you have egames [esports] where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.”
It’s fair to say Fortnite is a family-friendly shooter, with outlandish items and no blood. But it’s still a shooter, and you still kill people to win.
Fortnite’s inclusion will take the form of 12 top players from the game’s 2023 Fortnite Champion Series being invited to take part.
This mirrors how other sports are being handled – largely by the developers of the games included in the roster. A final in-person event is set to be held in Singapore from 23rd to 25th June.
In total, 10 virtual sports will now be featured, including archery, baseball, cycling, sailing, taekwondo and tennis. Also, chess.
Its dance event will take place using Just Dance, while racing will be held within Gran Turismo. Other sports will be represented by mobile game apps, with archery replicated by smartphone game Tic Tac Bow, which combines “the traditional requirement for accuracy with the choices of the classic pen-and-paper game” noughts and crosses.