Can video games be considered a sport?
The first Olympic Games held in Ancient Greece in 776 BC gave men an alternative, non-lethal way to show dominance through sport. Since then, countless men and women have been competing in over 8000 different sports.
Nowadays, we are witness to a new stage in the evolution of sports, that is, the emergence of esports. Esports are events in which professional gamers play video games to compete for prizes and spectators can enjoy watching the competitions. Some people argue that esports cannot be called a sport, while others disagree with this opinion. In order to decide whether esports deserve to be called sports, we should consider certain criteria that define sports.
The definition says that a sport is an activity that involves physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against others for entertainment. Now let’s discuss whether esports meet these requirements.
To achieve good results when competing in a tournament, gamers have to be completely focused. We can see this kind of focus in chess tournaments, and chess is already considered to be a sport. Also, controlling the game characters demands fast hand movements, and sometimes, constant button clicking. So, we can conclude that the first requirement is met, since esport players need strong and swift hands and fingers and a sharp brain.
E-sports competitors practice as much as any other athlete does. They practice their strategies and they also try to develop and perfect motor memory of finger movements. Depending on how much training they’ve had, esports competitors can make better decisions, which enables them to win with less effort. This is proof that the second requirement is met as well.
Individual and team play
Esports tournaments involve many different types of games. In some games, players can compete alone, whereas in other games players can compete only as a team. Fighting games such as Street Fighter 5, Mortal Kombat X, Pokken or Smash can be played only individually. RTS games like Star Craft 2 are played individually as well, while FPS and MOBA types of games such as League of Legends, Smite, and Dota 2 can only be played as a team. This means that the third requirement is also met.
Video games have been popular since the day of their creation. They have given numerous children a chance to know how it feels to be a superhero, a ninja, a professional athlete or a blue hedgehog. Thanks to the possibility to connect with other players on the internet, video games have reached a peak in their popularity. You can play with anyone anywhere in the world. Tournaments are held in huge arenas and played for prizes that can exceed 10 million dollars.
Having all this in mind, we can conclude that esports meet all the requirements necessary to call them sports. Although many people still see esports only as video games, it is just a matter of time when we will get used to this new form of sports.