I am studying esports because I want to find out the different conceptions regarding videogames in order to help my readers question what characteristics define a sport.
What characteristics define a sport and how does esports fit into this in the progression of technology?
So what are esports? Is it just people playing a videogame? I say no. Major League Gaming, a North American professional Electronic sports organization, has consistently made the comparison of esports to regular sports. Esports consist of the same elements of teamwork, skill, training, competition, and even its own fan base. Yet, the debate of whether video games should be considered a sport continue. Is it the negative connotation associated with videogames? I feel that videogames are equated with antisocial, unproductive, and laziness.
Or maybe, its the fact that esports is so new and recent compared to traditional sports. In this new world of technology, these definitions toward the virtual world are becoming outdated. Will it really take technology reaching the point of virtual reality before digital games, as opposed to physical, become accepted as sports?
Yet, the issues concerning videogames seems mostly prevalent only in the western world. In the East, games are advertised much more and accepted. Internet Cafes and PC lounges where such games can be played are prevalent and only helps to encourage the culture of gaming. The population that follow esports is also significantly larger as a result and the potential for a career is more significant. Even in more traditional families, videogames become just a matter of moderation and stress relief while still providing an alternate route to success. There have been estimates to be 10 million South Koreans that regularly follow esports. Such a major difference in attitude between two sections of the world.
Games, such as League of Legends, can attract tens of thousands spectators to live events where they can support the professional players. Tournaments, prize pools, and coverage have only grown larger with time.
This may be due as a result of the creation of Justin.tv and now Twitch.tv dedicated completely to the coverage of games. This has led to simple access and live streams to watch the games you want by the players you’re interested in. Aside from publicity, it also promotes a chance for a career as well as generate revenue. This field is not without its own share of controversy such as fair play or how players and commentators should conduct themselves. But does this not only emphasize the growth of this community and it’s comparison to other sports? If a commentator for a sport is out of line, they are fired. Should one for an esport not also be fired? It’s these dynamics that continue to develop this community.
*Edit: Some questions have been changed for clarity.
Call for responses
What do you consider as sports? Is chess a sport? What about poker?
To what extent do you consider non-team games (golf, tennis, skateboarding) an extension of a sport? Does this extend to esports (Call of duty, Halo, SSBB?
Do you think esports will continue to grow? Do you think esports will be accepted anytime in the near future?