Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company and the owner of an esports business, is willing to promote adding esports to the Olympics – so long as they aren't violent.
Chief executive officer of AliSports Zhang Dazhong recently told Bloomberg it's "pushing for soccer, car racing and other games to be endorsed as an official competitive sport." It's worth pointing out, Alibaba is listed as an Olympic sponsor up through 2028, so the company may have some sway here.
"In our communication with the Olympics committee, we’ve come to have a better understanding of their values, which is to promote peace,” Zhang told the outlet. "That’s why for the future development of esports, we will focus more on titles that are actually related to sports, instead of games that focus on violence and slaughter."
Albab's focus on non-violent esports games mirrors comments the president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach made last year, where he said the Committee is interested in adding video games, but, again, not if they're violent.
"We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people," Bach said back in September. "This doesn't match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line."
Both parties not wanting to promote violent games make sense given the Olympics' stance on inclusivity, but it does bar a lot of the esports industry's top games from joining they fray. Games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch are all top games in the industry, bringing in millions of viewers each. But, given the fact they're all first-person shooters, it looks like they won't be part of the Olympics any time soon – if ever.
Aside from the two genres Zhang mentioned, it's unclear what games Alibaba is pushing for the Olympics. That said, the company is hosting the World Electronic Sports Game tournament this week, and the Olympic Committee is set to attend. Some of the game's being played include Hearthstone, StarCraft and the aforementioned Counter-Strike.
Taking the next step, adding games to the Olympics, developers and publishers would need to share their IP for free with the games, Zhang said. Additionally, for a game to be included, it'd need a large fanbase. Given the fast-moving nature of technology and games, reviewing games annually, as opposed to every four years, would be best for the Olympics, he told the outlet.
"We think as a third party esports organizer we’re a better match for principles that the Olympics promotes, which is fairness,” Zhang said. "If you’re a games producer, you’re suspected of only pushing your games for your own benefit."