The birth of esports lies at the rise in technology. Firstly, esports would not be possible without the technology needed to create these games. Although electronic games have existed for many decades, they lack the graphics and controls necessary for large scale competitions prevalent in esports. In terms of graphics, without the improved graphics, there wasn’t a good viewing experience to watch these games played. As the graphics improved, more people were willing to watch these games. At the same time, as technology improved, viewing and streaming platforms such as twitch.tv became readily available which allowed an easy access to watch and follow esports.
There is also much debate on the concept of esports. Are esports considered sports? There are many parallels in structures and it’s growth compared to normal sports such as their seasonal circuits and their relation to higher levels of media available to braodcasat them. Sports consist of purely physical activity and competition. While it is not to say that esportsmen do not partake in physical activity, they are actually very fit for the most part, their competitions and games are purely a contest of mental and skill orientated contest. As such, many do not believe that esports can be considered a sport, but their prevalence in today’s era of technology cannot be denied.
The problem with understanding esports lies in the location that this all takes place in. The digital realm. Many of the topics you may wish to find are located online in forums, discussions, and videos that may be “lost” on the internet. They can still be found as they say “nothing is truly deleted from the internet” but that is not to say that it will be easy. Many of these discussions are fast paced and threads get swept away daily. Information flow is incredibly fast and make this topic difficult to understand. Many researchers are only able to document the rise, but not the how. This is due to the nature of this topic.
Other preconceptions towards esports also exist that undermine the studies towards esports. There is the idea that videogamers are unhealthy, do not contribute to society, and promote inactivity. Most people leave it at that without bothering to understand the new culture that has arisen as a result of esports and the rise in technology.
The question remains, can esports and videogames be considered a sport? There is much debate on this questions, but traditionally sports are physical contests. By this definition, I would have to agree, esports cannot be considered a sport. But does that mean, that everything esports has accomplished is meaningless? I would have to disagree, as it does occupy the same role as regular sports. A means of entertainment. Esports would at best be defined as a separate entity. There is no need to compete with regular sports for the status of being a “sport.” It occupies completely different domains and fan bases. There is little overlap aside from structure.
This can be seen in other countries like South Korea where esports is huge and there are fully dedicated television channels dedicated to it. Presently, even in America, there is a huge following of esports where tournament streams can have hundreds of thousands of viewers and that’s not even including the tens of thousands that are willing to pay to attend the event live. Esports offers entertainment in a structure and popularity comparable to the level of sports. Esports also offers many opportunities for growth as an industry aside from just being a professional player and has worked to legitimize itself in public eyes. These include seasonal circuits and segregated levels of such as casual, collegiate, and professional.