They clench their teeth as their fingers tap furiously at the keyboard. All focus is on the screen, and absolutely nothing can tear their concentration away. For competitive gamers, winning a round could mean the loss of reputation, happiness or even money. To them, esports is their life and livelihood. So should Esports be considered a sport?
This question has been around since the dawn of the Internet.
By the Oxford definition, a sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.
Does Esports use physical exertion? In a sense, yes. Does it take skill? Yes. Do individuals and teams compete for entertainment? Absolutely. Esports tick all the boxes. And like athletics, rugby, and football, there are also intense tournaments and nail-biting moments. So why does it not get the attention it deserves?
It all boils down to attitude and different generations. When we think ‘sport’, we think traditional sports that school pupils played after school or sports that we learnt in gym class. But times are changing. It is about time the attitudes change as well.
Technology itself is changing
We are in the age where technology rules a large portion of our lives. Phones are thinner and sleek and we prefer to watch things on our laptops rather than on our television. Just like technology changes, the concept of sport is changing.
According to experts, the global market for Esports grew to approximately US$696 million in 2016. It is estimated that by 2019, the Esports market could exceed US$1 billion. Video games have been popular for over 30 years. However, Esports have recently gained popularity, drawing not only hundreds but thousands to tournaments.
“Once I walked into a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden, everything in those two days spoke to me as a professional athlete. I knew it was the next generation. Professional athletes and owners admire and appreciate the talent, dedication, discipline and mastery of their crafts. As a business model, eSports mirrors traditional sports with rapid growth. Professional gamers are athletes and deserve a seat at the table, ” NBA champion, Rick Fox told [a]list daily.
Esports is not just about the game.
It takes strategy. It takes wit. It means knowing your opponent. It’s thinking five steps ahead. In that way, it’s very much like chess. Chess, as well know, is considered a sport.
Times are changing. The question is: are you willing to change with it?