Unified eSports: What are they?

Born as a means to promote integration and share the values of sport such as tolerance, respect, achievement, courage, teamwork, empathy, and fun, giving priority to values over results.

Unified eSports are a new game modality within eSports, based on the Unified Sports Modality created by Special Olympics which promotes integration between people with and without disabilities through different video games in the industry. Its philosophy, shared by Fundación Telefónica, focuses on using sport as a means to give values to athletes and to society.

eSports are an industry growing at a dizzying pace and having a major impact on society. Because of this, we want to offer the possibility to people with intellectual disabilities to join in from the start, creating the new modality: #UnifiedeSports. We are facing a new model of sport and a new model of integration. In this case, people with intellectual disabilities start to play at the same time as the rest of society and not years later, when the sport is already fully up and running.

The initiative, among the first in the world, was presented on 22 May 2018 in Madrid in a press conference attended by Santiago Peydro, Head of the eSports project at Telefónica Spain, Carmen Morenés, Global Head of the Telefónica Volunteers Programme; Fernando Piquer, CEO of Movistar Riders eSports; Marcelino Pérez, Director of Special Olympics Madrid; Sandra Pascoa, PR Manager of PlayStation® Spain; and Ricardo Sierra, journalist and eSports expert. They all spoke about this new type of online games modality that provides important personal values and social skills improvements to people with disabilities.

#UnifiedeSports Goals

 To promote inclusion and improve social capabilities through eSports.
 To “normalise” the world of eSports from the beginning.
 To strengthen sports values within eSports and technological skills.

#UnifiedeSports Rules

All unified sports have rules adapted to maintain a healthy, fair, and above all else, inclusive competition. In this way, #UnifiedeSports have specific rules that implement this philosophy.

With this new modality, people with and without disabilities will learn from each other, taking a step beyond the game itself. Players without disabilities will learn about intellectual disabilities and the teams will be supported by experts who will help the pairs to understand each other. It is a League in which there is no individuality; all the matches will be played in pairs, and values will be rewarded above results, promoting companionship, security, trust, and empathy, among other values.

#UnifiedeSports Rules (PDF)

What are eSports?

Electronic games have been with us for more than 40 years. Since their first appearance, they have evolved so much that eSports, or electronic sports, have become professionalised. However, the eSports phenomenon is much more; it is a disruptive way of understanding sport and values such as friendship, trust, and integration.

“eSports are the mass shows of the digital age”

eSports, “electronic sports”, or “cybersports”, present the digitalisation of traditional sports. They are a new sporting discipline that is growing rapidly, up to 200% each year), making the big companies in each industry (mainly tech) want to participate by sponsoring leagues or events, or by creating eSports teams. This is generating a new industry with high potential that makes it possible to have a major social impact in the short- and long-term.