The International Olympic Committee has announced the Olympic Virtual Series, a new Olympics event centred on video games. The series will feature five virtual sports, including motorsport via Gran Turismo and baseball via Konami’s eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020.The Olympic Virtual Series will be made up of five international sporting federations, each of which will be supported by a gaming publisher.From the world of baseball, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is working with Konami, and competitors will be playing eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020. Cycling will be represented by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), with competitors playing Zwift, a cycling MMO in which players use physical exercise bikes to control their avatar. For competitive sailing, the World Sailing organisation is working with Virtual Regatta SAS and the studio’s sailing race simulator, Virtual Regatta. Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) represents the Virtual Series’ motorsport events, which will take place in Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo. Finally, the World Rowing Federation’s event is open format.

All of the video games included in the Olympic Virtual Series are based on real-world sports, rather than being ‘classic’ esports games such as League of Legends or Counter-Strike. That’s down to the International Olympic Committee’s agenda, which is designed around “encouraging the development of physical and non-physical forms of sports”.

“The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports,” said IOC President, Thomas Bach. “Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”

The Olympic Virtual Series event itself will begin on May 13, taking place ahead of the main Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which was delayed from last year to July 2021 due to the pandemic.

If you like your Olympic events virtual, then maybe Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is the game for you. Like the OVS, it’s real sports made digital, and allows you to play well ahead of the main Tokyo event itself.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.



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