People have been highly critical of the eSports wave since it made its original debut in the 90s. But even before then, there was forms of competitive gaming, they were just a lot more low-key.
In the 80s, there was the first ever Atari competition, the Space Invaders Tournament, which brought over 10,000 players to the event.
By the next decade, larger companies such as Nintendo held the first Nintendo World Championships in the 1990s. But even before that competitive players have always been challenging one another with private tournaments and meet-up sessions.
Still, people are hell-bent on not regarding eSports as an actual sport. If you look up the Wikipedia definition of “sport,” it states,
“All forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators.”
While I understand the argument “If there’s no physical exertion, it isn’t a sport,” I must point out that this is an outdated concept.
Let’s take NASCAR racing, for example. Though it’s an intense sport to watch, since the drivers are putting their lives at risk while behind the wheel, there is no physical exertion that you’re able to compare it to.
Basketball, American football, soccer, and gymnastics are all physically demanding games, and undeniably fall under that category. But video games, board games, card games, and others that allow two people or more to compete with one another can be just as mentally taxing.
Take a look at competitive Starcraft players below. The amount of effort, concentration and hand-eye coordination that goes into a Starcraft game can’t be downplayed. Getting good at a game takes months, if not years, to perfect strategy and direction.
This recent commercial by League of Legends, one of the eSports giants of 2017, alongside Dota and Counterstrike 2, takes a closer look at the misconceptions of the sports genre today.
While people continue to dismiss its impact, one thing is clear — it’s one of the most popular competitive events viewed by millions of people both in stadiums and on live streams.
Side note: The prize pool for Dota 2‘s 2017 TI was $24,687,919. That’s good money just like any other pro athlete is taking home.
This commercial highlights the statistics surrounding sports and shows the amount of skepticism surrounding it. Just peep Desus and Mero give their mixed opinions on it.
The root of the scrutiny seems to be that eSports don’t physically benefit you.
Nevertheless, there’s been significant research that shows the detrimental aspect of high-intensity sports such as pro basketball, football, and boxing, which target and injure body parts such as your knees and head, are too common amongst the world.
But the good news is that while there are many haters who refuse to accept eSports as a real thing, at least the world there’s a strong support and following behind the movement.
Anything in life needs balance.
Anyone playing sports for 10 hours straight would affect their health the same way anyone sitting and playing esports would.
If healthy lifestyle is what matters, it doesn't come from 'just' physical activity but finding a balance between it all.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) December 5, 2017
People sit in front of a screen at work for 8 hours a day and people dont say boo
— Andrew (@tropiccreates) December 5, 2017
Sure, you try to hyper focus for hours on end and then tell me you don't benefit from a healthy mind and body.
There is not deying that sitting down for long periods of time will have a negative impact on your health. But that is more a modern human thing than an esport thing.
— Joakim Persson (@Jockwards) December 5, 2017
So can this controversy end once and for all?
eSports are definitely a thing, that much is true… If y’all are so concerned about the “health benefits” then join a gym or something. I know damn well anyone hating on the world of eSports is just mad they aren’t professional enough to be a part of it.
Just think about this, kids growing up today will consider eSports a real business opportunity in the future. eSports is a respected competition, and should be on the same bracket of any other sport, physical or not.