A change is coming to the Olympic Esports Series. The video game competition put on by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added a sport shooting competition that will take place within the Epic Games title Fortnite.
The Olympic version of Fortnite won’t feature a Battle Bus or any building challenges. Instead, a field of 12 players from the Fortnite Championship Series will compete against one another to determine which of them is the sharpest shot. Their Olympic-level battle will take place on a custom island designed within Fortnite.
Fortnite is the tenth game added to the Olympic Esports Series, and it will immediately become the most popular title in the IOC’s lineup. Other games that will host virtual versions of athletic events will include Gran Turismo (motorsports), Zwift (cycling), and Just Dance (which will help build hype for the upcoming Olympic debut of breakdancing).
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Little-known games like Tennis Clash and WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros could produce some compelling action, but when the 2023 Olympic Esports Series was first announced, gamers were not too thrilled about the exclusion of popular esports like Counter-Strike, Valorant, and League of Legends. “Because the Olympics included phony nonsense like the tennis game and the baseball one, it makes the whole thing look like a joke that they’re not taking seriously,” esports journalist Rod Breslau told Digiday.
The IOC’s decision to embrace Fortnite will help it answer its critics, even if the leading battle royale game will be played in an unusual way. Based on comments from the IOC, there may be more major esports added to the Olympic lineup before the virtual competition actually begins. “We have had interesting and encouraging conversations with wider [international federations] and game publishers, and expect additional titles to be added to the Olympic Esports Series lineup in the coming weeks,” reads an IOC statement shared by Polygon in March.
If the IOC’s collection of oddball sports games and the occasional streamer favorite piques your interest, you can now buy tickets to see the Olympics Esports Series live in person. The event will take place in Singapore beginning on June 22. A single-day pass costs only $10 SGD, which translates to about $7.50 USD. Those affordable prices will help get butts in the seats, and the presence of top Fortnite players won’t hurt, either.