Should video games be considered a sport?
As the complexity, attention to detail, and realism in video games are getting better and better with every year, the fan base behind E-sports is growing and growing, however people still refuse to consider it a real sport. What qualifies being a sport in the first place? The exact definition is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. These players and teams compete in huge arenas filled with fans and commentators with, in some cases, millions of dollars in prize money at stake. They endure hours of practice, every day, growing their skills, strategies, and gain insane hand eye coordination to compete at this level, also garnishing corporate endorsements and salaries from sharing and streaming there play sessions as entertainment on sites such as YouTube and Twitch.
It was in South Korea where video games competitions really blew up. In Seoul, South Korea more than 40,000 people would pack into a stadium to watch two players battle it out live in world championships of games like StarCraft II, and League of Legends. The company that made League of Legends says that 27 million people tuned in to watch 2014s championship. The worldwide video game market garnishes billions of dollars, in 2014 making an estimated $83.6 billion compared to the $36.4 billion the movie industry made that year.
These players and competitions aren’t focused on just one game but there is very high variety and it’s been going on for years. MLG (Major League Gaming) started in 2002 is one of the biggest in the United States, holding multiple competitions across the country featuring a variety of different games. Not just shooters or fantasy games are played, actual sport video games are featured and praised in the E-sport community, with FIFA being the biggest holding a yearly ‘world cup’ tournament featuring the best players from dozens of countries with millions of dollars in prize money.
Playing video games until 3 am every other night may actually pay off. Even schools are offering gamers scholarships to attend. Schools like University of Utah and University of California-Irvine recruit these gamers for their teams, allowing these students to engage in the gaming world with classes on game development and video production, along with forming these school gaming teams. Pro gamers and pro athletes may not be too different from each other. With the industry and attention to pro gamers increasing so quickly, kids are dreaming of being the world’s next biggest gamer instead of the next biggest athlete.