The International Olympic Committee together with Intel announced that esports will make its way into the Olympic Games in Tokyo as part of the Intel World Open. There will be two games featured at this esports event: Rocket League and Street Fighter V. In the former, Poles have a chance for a medal, which means that they could win part of a prize pool of 250 000 USD.
Over 60 million players worldwide play Rocket League, whereas the prize pools just last year surpassed 10 million USD. The game itself focuses on scoring goals with the help of rocket powered cars, and looks very much like soccer. The number of players should grow, as Rocket League only entered the Asian markets in August this year.
– When we’re working with the IOC and working on something like the Intel World Open, we’re really looking for the broadest audience and the most accessibility – said Mark Subotnick, the head of Business Development for Intel. – These two titles are something that the average consumer or audience member can look at and get what’s going on, and that’s unfortunately not always the case in esports – he added.
Michal Mango, an expert for the largest Rocket League organisation in the CEE region – ESE Europe – agrees with Subotnick. – Rocket League is an obvious choice, and there were rumours that this would happen sooner or later. The game’s popularity is growing, the prize pools are getting bigger, but this isn’t the only reason why RL will be present at the Olympics. Rocket League in comparison to games like „StarCraft”, which was present at the games in Pyeongchang, is a family game, with clear rules. This means that almost anyone can understand the game after watching a few minutes of action – says Mango.
In Rocket League you can play in different modes including: 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3 which is considered as the “Pro Mode”. – We do have big chances to win a medal – claims Mikolaj “Kolia” Wieckowski, the Rocket League coach at ESE. – Polish players are in the top 100 of world rankings in 1v1 and 2v2 modes, and players from our team (ESE) have featured in the Top20. Take for example Niseron, who during “Rocketmania ESE” in Gliwice Arena lost to “Deevo” from FC Barcelona Esports in extra time. It’s like losing to Rafael Nadal in tennis. I’d like to add that our team has already proven that it plays on the same level as top European teams, and our full-Polish squad is in the top 128 teams in Europe. At the end of September, they will be fighting for a place in the Top20 – says Wieckowski.