Members of the Chinese and the Turkmen eSports teams compete in the eSports tournament at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat on September 25, 2017. (AFP/Igor SASIN)
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The future of the Olympics may just be in a basement in Turkmenistan.With leading Olympic figures considering a possible role for competitive computer games -- known as esports -- at the 2024 Games in Paris, a pan-Asian competition in the ex-Soviet state offers a possible vision of the future.The Olympic Council of Asia included esports as an official demonstration event at its Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games this week, with teams from China and nine other nations battling in four games ranging from space combat in "StarCraft II" to card-game strategy in "Hearthstone".If esports make it to the Paris Olympics, it would redefine what Olympic sport is meant to be.The IOC also fears violent games would hurt the Olympics' image.If esports make it to the Olympics, other potential problems for the IOC include criticism it's moving away from promoting a healthy lifestyle, and that it's ignoring poorer countries where fast computers and brand-new games are unaffordable.Not so for games publishers, who routinely mix things up to attract new players and keep things fresh.Senior figures in the IOC and the esports world have publicly doubted esports will be ready for an Olympic debut in seven years' time.
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