It can be challenging to articulate why Esports should be considered real sports in light of the negative responses by some people that believe sport is simply a measure of physical prowess. Therefore, let’s explore some compelling arguments for why Esports should be termed a real sport.
The main reason Esports should be considered a real sport is that there are a lot of transferable skills between Esports players and traditional athletes. Furthermore, Esports as a sport mirrors the evolution of the definition of sport and its place in the future.
The following arguments will explore the snippet above in greater detail:
1. Esports Players Are Recognized As Athletes In America
Due to the growing popularity of Esports in America and the hosting of international tournaments, it became essential for Esports players from other countries to be provided with visas to compete in America.
Consequently, this led to the official recognition of Esports players as athletes by the American government in 2013.
Furthermore, the awarding of athletic scholarships across America at various universities and colleges is indicative of the recognition and skill set of Esports players as certified student-athletes.
2. Esports Is Recognized As A Sport In Many Countries
Although America and large parts of the Western world are grappling with Esports as a sport, many Asian countries have welcomed the definition for both the sport and its players as athletes.
The most notable example is the overwhelming popularity of Starcraft in South Korea.
Another clear example of Esports’ definition as a real sport involves discussions around the introduction of Esports as an official category of international sporting competitions like the Olympics.
3. Esports Has Similar Objectives To Traditional Sports
Similar to traditional sports, the goal of Esports is to create competition between individuals or teams subject to set rules, restrictions, and gameplay options. Therefore, the most successful players/teams can best operate subject to these confinements.
To achieve consistent results thus requires advanced reflexes, training, raw talent, strategies, and quick decisions! It is argued that this clear overlap is an example of the substantial overlap between Esports and traditional sports.
4. Esports Follows A Traditional Sports Model
Because Esports has become a global phenomenon, many of the lessons learned over the years regarding the business model of sports are being applied to the evolution and mainstream appeal of Esports.
Consequently, dedicated Esports stadiums, high-profile transfers, brand loyalty, team loyalty, professional broadcasting, and large prize pools are becoming commonplace!
5. Esports Falls Into The Dictionary Definition Of Sport
The Collins Dictionary defines a sport as:
“A competitive activity that requires physical effort.”
In comparison, the Cambridge Dictionary simply defines sport as:
“A game requiring physical effort according to rules.”
Because the amount of physical effort/skill is not defined, Esports falls into these parameters. All Esports require a level of physical input to issue a command (similar to other sports that use involve technology, such as motor racing.)
6. Esports Players Have Training Similar To Athletes
Although there is a perception that Esports players do not train as hard as other professional athletes, the training regimes of professional Esports players are highly challenging.
While a large part of the training does involve playing video games, there is also a significant focus on daily physical exercise, dieting, strategy sessions, media sessions, and sports therapy.
7. Esports Promote Sportsmanship
Given the increasing popularity of Esports and its ongoing appeal among mainstream audiences and society, tournament organizers are actively promoting sportsmanship and humility among players.
Furthermore, the introduction of commend/denounces systems on online platforms allows players to have direct control over the behavior and image of their Esports community.
This level of control and professionalism mirrors how traditional sports fans and organizers promote sportsmanship, fair play, and humility.
8. Esports Requires Advanced Reflexes
Like traditional sports, many Esports titles require their players to have quick reflexes and spatial awareness to counter their opponents’ moves successfully.
While quick reflexes are especially true in genres that try to emulate real-world sports, shooting or fighting games, other genres also have transferable skills with real-world athletes.
9. Esports Require Excellent Communication Skills
Because various Esports involve teams of players competing against other teams of players, advanced in-game communication is key to victory, similar to how team sports require players on a field to effectively communicate with each other.
Furthermore, even if an Esports player plays a one-v-one genre like fighting games or real-time strategy, they are still expected to communicate with fellow players and coaches during training and strategy sessions.
10. Esports Promotes Problem Solving
Although most e-sports require players to plan and strategize ahead, many e-sports need players to implement quick-thinking skills and moves.
Therefore, e-sports reward players that work on improving their decisive problem-solving skills to change/alter strategies that may be unsuccessful or that need to be realigned.
11. Esports Requires Planning And Strategy
Regardless of the genre of e-sports being played, it is essential to understand the mechanics of a game, the current “meta,” your strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition.
In conclusion, e-sports teach players to plan and strategize before competitions.
12. Esports Supports Diversity
As a global phenomenon, Esports attracts players and fans from across the globe. Due to the nature of Esports, these players and fans can communicate with each other in an online space, creating a unique platform for cooperation, discussion, and debate.
Because of this amalgamation of languages, cultures, and beliefs from people across the globe, Esports supports diversity and cooperation in the same manner as traditional sports.
Thus, while often overlooked, Esports would be seen to achieve the larger, more important goal of global cooperation that is at the heart of most sporting bodies’ goals/mission statements.
13. Esports Promotes Accessibility
Unlike traditional sports, which are designed to be accessible for able-bodied, physically fit people. Esports is looking to evolve the definition and accessibility of sport by creating a safe space for neurodivergent people and accessible controls for differently-abled persons.
Furthermore, although most traditional sports can be accessible to people of low-income households/communities, the drive for free-to-play games, mobile games, and improved internet infrastructure provide an unprecedented level of access to competition, tournaments, and Esports content.
14. Esports Has A Lot Of Variety
Along with multiple genres, design choices, and mechanics, different Esports titles have different ways to interact with their games. For example, while some games are primarily passive and involve a mouse and keyboard, other simulation games may require full-body movement (such as simulation racing.)
Consequently, with so much variety on offer, it is unfair to use blanket terms such as “Esports isn’t sports” to define limitless possibilities! Especially in light of advancements to altered reality and virtual reality!
15. Esports Is An Evolution Of The Definition Of Sports
Similar to how other games are considered sports and placed under traditional sports bodies (such as the inclusion of skateboarding and table tennis in the Olympics).
Esports will likely be considered the next evolutionary step in sport – as this is of particular importance for promoting inclusivity and accessibility!
In conclusion, although some detractors may not be convinced, there are various compelling arguments for why Esports should be considered a real sport!