WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The creator of the immensely popular multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft, says that competitive video game playing should be featured in the Olympic Games.
Rob Pardo, former chief creative officer at Blizzard Entertainment, explained to BBC News that “e-sports” should be included in the games because of the very broad definition of what is considered a “sport” today.
“Videogames are well positioned to be a spectator sport,” he told Afternoon Edition on BBC 5 Live.
Pardo argues that e-sports are just as intense and competitive as any other Olympic competition and that those playing World of Warcraft are forced to perform about five actions every second in order to keep up with the game.
“I think the way that you look at e-sports is that it’s a very competitive skillset and you look at these professional gamers and the reflexes are lightning quick and they’re having to make very quick decisions on the fly. When you look at their ‘actions per minute,’ they’re clearing over 300,” he told the BBC.
Prado conceded that comparing video game playing to the likes of marathon running, triathlons and other current physically rigorous events currently in the Olympics would be a difficult venture. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) capped the number of sports allowed in the Games and the process for being admitted is rigorous.
The IOC has long been reluctant to include chess in the Games, labeling it a “mind sport.”
“That starts getting into how you define sport,” said Prado. “If you want to define sport as something that take a lot of physical exertion, then it’s hard to argue that video games should be a sport, but at the same time, when I’m looking at things that are already in the Olympics I start questioning the definition.”
Prado argued that e-sports hold large potential for appealing to a broad audience using visual and digital appeal.
“You can do whatever you want with the graphics, you can make it be really excited and competitive,” he said.
But one thing not questioned is the game’s massive worldwide popularity. A recent e-sport final for the game held in Seol filled a stadium of 40,000 people.
Prado is one of the chief designers of the Warcraft franchise under Blizzard Entertainment and the game listed over 10 million subscribers in November 2014 – the world’s largest for MMORPG subscriptions, or massive multiplayer online role playing games, according to Guinness World Records. The game is also the highest-grossing video game of all time, surpassing Call of Duty: Black Ops at 1.5 billion dollars.
Blizzard announced in January 2014 that more than 100 million accounts had been created over the Warcraft franchise’s lifetime.