10 Reasons Why Esports Should Be Considered Sports
Technology has found its way into sports. Video gamers have turned a hobby into a career.
Esports is a term for the industry of video game athletes. These esports players compete globally. But do they deserve to be called athletes? Is esports a sport?
This article offers ten compelling reasons why esports should be considered a sport.
Is Esports a Sport?
When you think of sports, someone wearing a team jersey playing video games would be the last thing you’d think of. But esports is a serious business.
Pro gamers train for 50 hours doing team scrimmages on top of their solo queues. They invest money in the equipment and gadgets they play with. They spend years trying to learn the game and master the mechanics.
Esports athletes must have high game IQs and be physically fit to play at the highest level. Major esports tournaments have huge stakes. Cash prizes, sponsorships, and careers are on the line.
An essential aspect of esports is the competition. At its highest level, tournaments are often competed by players worldwide and sponsored by the biggest companies.
Characteristics of a sport
Many articles have different ideas on what the characteristics of sports should be.
The common factors that are mentioned include
- Physical exertion (heavy or light),
- Rules and regulations,
- Organizational structures.
At the professional level, sports are organized and regulated events with high stakes. The players and officials are expected to perform in a highly competitive yet professional manner.
The notion that sports activities require physical exertion is contextual. For example, golf and chess require a light physical effort but require great skills and talent to master.
The same can be said with esports. The industry has many games and millions of players and fans. The tournaments are regulated and have organizations.
Sponsors, organizations, and fans hold esports athletes to a high standard because of the stakes involved.
So why should esports be considered a sport? Better yet, why not?
Below are the reasons why esports IS a sport.
Reasons Why Esports or Competitive Gaming Is a Sport
If a traditional sports checklist exists, esports will tick all its requirements. Let’s take a look at each element that defines a sport.
Esports teams come up with strategies before a match. Strategizing in esports involves film studies and analytics. Many esports games employ a coach to help the players execute team plays.
Of course, even the best-laid plans don’t always work. Players sometimes have to make adjustments during the game.
HSEL Valorant rules allow teams to call two timeouts during the buy phase. Players and coaches can then discuss last-minute observations and tweaks.
Traditional sports also employ the same strategies and mechanics. Teams undergo practice to be able to execute certain move-sets and plays. Teams can call time-outs to draw plays and make adjustments.
A typical esports team has 3-6 members. Each member has unique strengths and skillset specific to their position.
The wildly popular game League of Legends has the following positions:
- Top Laner
- Mid Laner
- Attack Damage Carry (ADC)
Each role has specific characteristics but must work together to destroy the nexus. Similarly, point guards, power forwards, and centers must unite to score or stop opposing teams in basketball.
Most gamers today employ coaches to help improve their skills. Coaches help players thrive in the highly competitive industry by developing their game sense and maturity.
Not every esports is team-based. Fighting games are the exception.
Communication is essential in team games. Good communication builds great teamwork. One of the worst things in any team activity is a member that doesn’t communicate.
It’s not just about talking specifically. Games have built-in features that allow players to communicate, such as pings, which players use to signal directions, warnings, and SOS calls.
A baseball pitcher comes to mind when talking about pings. Pitchers use hand signals to tell catchers what throws to expect. This way, the catcher controls the ball and prevents the batter from running to first base.
It’s also similar to how a point guard signals to teammates what play to run in basketball. Simple hand gestures let the team know where and when to move.
Esports is a very competitive industry, especially in tournaments. The best gamers in the world fight for legacy, bragging rights, and huge prize pools.
The biggest purse in all of esports so far was handed out by DOTA 2’s The International. In 2021, TI’s prize pool amounted to $40 million. Team Spirit brought home $18.2 million and the Aegis of Champions.
Trash-talking and “styling” are big parts of the gaming community, amplified during esports events. These acts fuel gamers’ competitive fire or make their opponents tilt.
This level of competition is comparable to what you’d see in traditional sports. Players like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are some of the sport’s most intense competitors. The achievements that they have won are testaments to their competitiveness.
Some think gamers stare at the screen for hours and twiddle their thumbs. They dismiss esports for its seeming lack of physical activity.
They fail to realize that esports players are exposed to similar physical demands as traditional athletes.
A German study shows that pro gamers perform up to 400 movements per minute using the keyboard and the mouse. Like marathon runners, their pulse rates can go as high as 180 beats per minute. Their cortisol levels also match those of race-car drivers.
Diet and exercise are important in an esports athlete’s success. It enhances reaction time and improves concentration. Both can affect the outcome of a game at the pro level.
6. Practice to Develop Skills
To most kids, being an esports player is a dream come true. They can play for hours and get paid to do it. In reality, a pro gamer’s life is much harder.
Intel summarized the typical day for esports teams. Players usually start with warmup games against one another. They also go to the gym and rest their bodies.
Some players continue training on their own after the group practices. Others prefer to wake up early. This routine happens every day, including weekends.
Not everyone can withstand the tight schedule and strict training regimen. As with other sports, some players give up. Even those who make it tend to have short careers lasting three to five years. An NFL player’s career lasts 3.3 years on average.
7. Mental Fitness and Well-Being
Life was different for esports players not too long ago. They had to train in cramped gaming houses. Living conditions were dismal, and pizza was their staple diet.
Now, pro gamers are well taken care of. They have access to a fitness coach and a massage therapist. A sports psychologist monitors their mental health. Some teams even have an on-site chef and nutritionist. They are covered both physically and mentally.
These are perks enjoyed by elite athletes in other sports too. Their teams and sponsors give them everything they need to consistently perform at a high level.
8. Decision Making
Should you engage in a fight or regroup? Is it better to pursue an objective or let it go?
Several questions run through players’ minds at any given time. They have a split second to decide. Amid all these, they perform hundreds of actions per minute.
High-stakes games come with added pressure. A mistake can make the difference between winning the prize pool and going home empty-handed. All the more that players have to make the right moves.
Esports players combine critical thinking with athletic ability. They are similar to wrestlers or fencers who must make fast decisions to succeed.
9. Creative Ideas, Problem-Solving
In 2022, the US had the highest number of active competition players at over 3,700. China was a distant second with 1,710. Brazil and South Korea were not far behind, with 1,380 and 1,041, respectively.
Pro gamers have played thousands of games against hundreds of different opponents. They have seen countless styles and faced many in-game challenges.
The difference between the greats and the good is creativity. The most imaginative players find ways to solve problems and get the W.
10. Social Aspect
According to a Statista study, there were 215.2 million esports fanatics worldwide in 2020. There will be 322.7 million of them by 2025. These numbers do not include occasional viewers.
Esports has snowballed over the past few years with a thriving global community. You don’t need to look far to find other fans like you.
There are also several platforms where esports fans can watch games and interact with fellow enthusiasts, like Twitch.
Countries Where It is Considered Sports
If you’re still unconvinced, here’s a list of countries that recognize esports as a sport.
- South Korea
- South Africa
What about the view that video games are not sports?
Sweden famously refused to provide visas for players, preventing The International 2021 from being held in Stockholm. The UK has a similar stance, classifying esports as a game.
Which Esports games drain you out physically?
Valorant is one of the most challenging FPS games to play. You need to make quick movements while optimizing agent abilities.
Why should esports be taken seriously?
Esports helps foster social-emotional skills. Players gain these skills as they develop relationships and compete with one another.