Olympic video games? What to know about Olympic Esports Games coming soon

There will soon be Olympic Games for... video games.

The International Olympic Committee announced Friday that it is creating the "Olympic Esports Games," an international competition that will mirror the Summer and Winter Olympics but instead involve only virtual sports and video games. The plan is expected to be rubber-stamped at a meeting of IOC members in Paris next month.

“With the creation of Olympic Esports Games, the IOC is taking a major step forward in keeping up with the pace of the digital revolution," IOC president Thomas Bach said.

Bach previously told Xinhua, a state-operated news agency in China, that the first edition of the Olympic Esports Games would take place as early as next year and by no later than 2026. He said Friday the IOC is already "in very well advanced discussions with a potential host."

The Esports Games will include three different versions of video games, Bach said. There will be virtual sports such as e-cycling, which involve physical activity and mimic real sports, as well as two types of traditional video games: Sports simulation games (like NBA 2K) and what Bach called "traditional e-games," or non-sports video games.

Friday's announcement does not mean video game competitions will take place alongside sports competitions like gymnastics and swimming at the regular Olympic Games, such as the ones that begin in Paris next month. Instead, the IOC clarified, Esports Games will be a totally separate event overseen by a different team within the IOC.

"This structure must be clearly separated from the organizational and financial model which we apply for the Olympic Games," Bach said.

The IOC has been moving toward and hinting at the eventual creation of Olympic Esports Games for several years. It hosted the "Olympic Esports Series" in Singapore last year, and officials have talked repeatedly and consistently about trying to find new ways to engage with younger audiences.

Contact Tom Schad at or on social media @Tom_Schad.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Olympic Esports Games could begin next year, IOC says. What to know