On 11 November, the European Parliament adopted the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT)’s resolution on esports and video games.
The importance of addressing this sector on the European level was further emphasised during the debate ahead of the vote, as the EU market for video games was estimated to represent over 23 billion euro in 2021. Rapporteur Laurence Farreng (Renew, France) also stressed the esports and video games industry as one of the only sectors that recorded growth throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, MEPs urged the Commission and the Council to establish a long-term European strategy to recognise the potential and growth value of esports and video games within the EU and to enhance EU and national investment to help retain European talents within the EU esports and video games industry.
While the distinction between esports and sport is made, MEPs ask to evaluate the possibility of creating guidelines regarding the status of professional esports players, similarly to professional athletes, and to create visas for esports personnel based on the Schengen sports visas. Partnerships between the videogames and sports sectors are encouraged to “create new projects that bring added value to players and audiences”. Esports and video games were also further highlighted as potential educational tools to enhance creative and digital skills.
The need to educate players about the potential downsides of esports, e.g., match-fixing, illegal gambling or doping, is also acknowledged by MEPs, who call on the Commission to develop a charter to promote European values in esports competitions.
While the resolution is not legally-binding and will therefore not have any concrete effect on legislations at this stage, it still represents an important milestone, showing that European institutions are interested in the topic and paving the way for further measures.