今年3月3日，臺灣教育部體育署發布了〈電子競技納為體育運動合適性評估報告〉。報告的評估結果認為，電競不適合納入體育運動項目，引發民眾一片撻伐。細讀報告內容，可以發現臺灣體育署對於電競國際現況的了解，僅僅只有「目前IOC（國際奧林匹克委員會）所承認之國際運動總會並未包含電子競技運動總會」，因此認定「電競目前不宜納入運動競賽項目之一」。然而這些理解並非全貌。事實上，一直有國際組織持續積極推動電競成為奧運項目，也就是國際電子競技協會（International e-Sports Federation，IeSF）。
Taiwan has always been considered as one of the preeminent regions for the development of eSports (electronic sports), also known as competitive or professional gaming. At the latest 2016 League of Legends World Championship held in San Francisco on September 30, 2016, two Taiwanese teams were successfully ranked in the Top 20 along with experienced players from China, Korea, Europe and the United States. The excellent performance by the Taiwanese teams attracted much attention from the local government and received personal support from Taiwan’s leader, Ms. Ing-Wen Tsai; as well as the open endorsement from Taipei’s mayor, Mr. Wen-zhe Ke. There is no doubt that Taiwan possesses an abundance of domestic gaming talents and considerable wealth of industry experience, but the government’s support for gaming must move beyond mere talk and towards practical implementation. In particular, the Taiwanese authorities have been slow to respond to the petitions for eSports’ formal recognition as a legitimate sport.
On March 3, 2016, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education Sports Administration released an official report on the ‘Appropriateness and Assessment of Electronic Sports as a Sport’, which concluded that the inclusion of gaming as a competitive sport was inappropriate. Not only was the public deeply discontent with the finding, upon a closer look at the report, it was apparent that the Sports Administration lacked a proper understanding of eSports trends worldwide. It had based its decision solely on the finding that there have not been any associations of eSports admitted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Unfortunately, Taiwan’s Sports Administration had clearly failed to consider the situation holistically, as international organizations like International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) had been actively and continuously advocating for the inclusion of competitive gaming as an Olympic sport.
Currently, the IeSF has 43 member regions around the world, including Taiwan. The IeSF has sought for membership under the SportAccord in order to successfully participate in the Olympic Games. (Note: A valid membership under the SportAccord greatly increases the likelihood of eSports’ inclusion in the Olympics, as the IOC is in close cooperation with the SportAccord.)
On April 8, 2016, the IOC accepted IeSF’s application with the first review scheduled at the end of this year. In order to satisfy the IOC review items, the IeSF decided to launch an ‘Athlete’s Commission’ with operations beginning next year. Against the unprecedented global growth of eSports, Russia officially announced the recognition of eSports as an official sport on June 7, 2016 (Russian e-Sports Federation had been pushing for formal recognition since 2001). The Italian eSports Association was successfully recognized by an affiliated organization under the authority of the Italian National Olympic Committee. The National Federation of Denmark (eSports Denmark) also became an associate member of the Denmark Athletic Federation. Furthermore, a number of European football clubs have invested heavily in the gaming industry.
In fact, Asia has always been much more open-minded and positive towards gaming in comparison to Europe. However, the government in Taiwan is overwhelmingly conservative when it comes to evaluating and perceiving the viability of eSports as a sport. The Taiwan Sports Administration report mentioned above clearly exposed the inadequate understanding and limited knowledge of the gaming industry developments, as well as the global petition for eSports’ inclusion in the Olympics. It has now become imperative for the Taiwanese government, the domestic players, as well as the general public to keep up with international trends, so as to ensure that Taiwan will retain its existing advantages in the gaming market.
Liu & Partners is deeply involved with key enterprises and figures within Taiwan’s gaming industry and keeps watch on the latest eSports developments and market news. Our partner, Ms. Victoria Liu, was invited by the Taiwan eSports industry to act as a vital role in the relevant e-Sports association. Based on specialized knowledge of the gaming industry and experiences in assisting emerging industries, our firm delivers the most comprehensive and necessary legal assistance to our clients, which include the most well-known and representative gaming companies in Taiwan. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about eSports, or any related inquiries for our services.
Liu & Partners Attorneys-at-Law 華通國際法律事務所
Victoria Liu (Partner) 劉懿嫻 合夥律師
Room C, 6F, No. 261, Sec. 3, Nanjing E. Rd., Songshan Dist., Taipei 10550, Taiwan
Tel: +886 (2) 2717 7878