New Olympics Esports Push Shuts Out Violent Games

Alibaba is throwing its weight behind a new push to include esports as an official medal sport in the Olympics. As an Olympic investor and committed sponsor through 2028, Alibaba has a lot of weight to throw around, but there is a catch-all games considered violent or gory are out.

Back in 2008, Alibaba's founder famously said he would rather starve than “live on games.” As one of the biggest companies in China with a dominant presence in e-commerce and technology, Alibaba is far from starving to death or making its living from esports, but the company is changing its tune none the less.

Through its AliSports division, the company has invested nearly $50 million in esports. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, AliSports CEO Zhang Dazhong provided insight into AliSports communications with the Olympics committee.

In an effort to align with Olympic values and promote peace, says Dazhong, AliSports is not including games that “focus on violence” in the esports titles under consideration for the Olympics. They will focus instead on titles related to real-world sports.

Dazhong also said AliSports is prepared to take a loss on esports, at least in the beginning. He described how the company is playing the long game and plans to push esports forward even when it results in financial losses, for the promise of a bright future in the industry.

Eliminating violent titles from the Olympics also cuts titles with ties to Alibaba's biggest competitors. League of Legends and Overwatch are linked to Alibaba rivals Tencent and Netease, respectively. 

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