The International Esports Federation (IESF) and Global Esports Federation (GEF) this week followed up last month’s collaboration announcement with the formation of the Esports Leadership Group (ELG).
The sudden cooperation between the two largest international Esports federations developed after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in October announced plans to launch the Olympic Esports Games that could be staged for the first time as early as 2026.
The IESF and GEF are not officially recognized federations by the IOC. Instead, the recent Olympic Esports Week held to study the emerging genre, leveraged traditional sport federations to support game titles that are simulations or hybrids of the original such as Zwift for cycling, eBaseball: Power Pros and Chess.com. The IOC is steadfast in its approach to include titles that are non-violent and otherwise comply with strict Olympic values.
That initial competition alienated many elite esports athletes due to the unpopular selection of titles.
The strategy has distanced the IOC from the federations who stage more popular titles in Championships that often include first-person shooter games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant. But with the Olympic Esports Games now inevitable, the federations are working to be involved.
IOC Vice President Ser Miang Ng has been named Chair of the ELG, clearly a strategic decision due to his influence with the IOC . The Singaporean was also Chairman of the Olympic Esports Week Steering Committee and will provide a direct liaison between the federations and IOC Executives while the Olympic Esports Games develop.
Last year the IOC named French IOC member David Lappartient chair of the Esports Commission. He previously led the IOC’s Esports Liaison Group – the IOC’s first foray into the investigation of the potential of esports.
“We are entering an exciting phase in the development of esports, including the recent announcement by the IOC on the Olympic Esports Games, and diverse content being offered around the world,” Ng said in a statement.
“The collaboration of efforts and work between GEF and IESF will contribute to the global development of esports and the prospect of collaborating with the International Olympic Committee and sports.
“The bridging of esports and sports will create limitless opportunities for young people around the world, capitalizing on the innovation of esports and the values of sports. It is my privilege and pleasure to work with [IESF President] HRH Prince Faisal and [GES President] Chris Chan on this exciting endeavor.”
The ELG will now work to fulfill the terms of the collaboration and create joint initiatives for the gaming community.
Last week an IOC spokesperson said officials were in discussions with a number of National Olympic Committees interested in hosting the first edition of the Olympic Esports Games. No timetable has been set and only Japan has self-identified as one of the applicants.