Play of the Game from P1E Indy PopCon 2018

Yes, Esports Are Sports, and They’re Changing the Game

Esports are a revolution and a revelation in how people today watch and play games. Competitive video gaming is changing the landscape of the sports world.

“But esports are just people playing video games. That’s not a real sport,” claim some naysayers.

On the contrary, esports are a big deal, they’re here to stay, and they are indeed a sport.

When your friend tries to tell you that esports aren’t real sports, here are some ways to reply.

The Statistics Don’t Lie, Says the Fool

Between professional gamers and the new phenomenon of the internet star, esports have begun to take their place amongst the most trending activities for the younger generations, with viewers in the tens of millions tuning in from around the globe for major events. According to Motley Fool, “Last year, 43 million people tuned in to the League of Legends championship, with peak concurrent viewers coming in at 14.7 million.”

Viewership translates to revenue, of course. Revenue for 2017 was $600+ million and is projected to grow into the billions this year and in years to come! (Statista)

Market statistics from Statisa, Revenue of the Global Esports Market 2012 to 2021

The Olympics Are Calling, and They Want Your Video Gamers

Even the Olympics can’t ignore these statistics. BBC recently reported that discussions are currently in the works for esports to be included as a demonstration sport at the Olympics. The Olympics, the ultimate celebration of sporting competition. That’s like the Olympics committee took a giant hammer labeled LEGITIMATE and used it to give esports a big friendly whack.

The Experience May Be Virtual, but the Teamwork Is Real

Adam Krudy at PopCon 2018Socializing has also been a topic of debate when talking about esports. Concerned parents worry that kids are being deprived of a social life because of technology, but camaraderie is one of the biggest values taken away from participating in esports. Developing tight groups of friends, learning how to work together, or appreciating effort as a team after winning a game. The world of esports embodies these core values.

Just like with traditional sports, esports teams don’t happen overnight. Professional gamers train together, practice together, and grow together. These days there are even esports training facilities!

An activity that unites people of any size, gender, or physical ability has presented itself, and it’s called ESPORTS.

(Mad) Skills Required for Competitive Play defines the noun sport as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.”

The term “athlete” isn’t necessarily a good fit, I’ll give you that. But everything else? Necessary for esports.

One pundit argued in a Point/Counterpoint article on USA Today: College that he believed “eSports are entertainment and nothing more than that.” To counter, traditional sports spectators watch sporting events for entertainment, so in that way, traditional sports are also nothing more than entertainment. With esports, spectators are watching to learn tips, tricks, and new strategy to apply to their next match. But like traditional sports, esports spectators also enjoy watching as the best players in the world play their favorite game.  Spectators watch precisely because the professionals are capable of things that they themselves struggle to achieve.

The article’s author went on to say, “Even chess, which some people do insist is a sport, is a ‘mental sport.’” Again, to counter, there’s no fast-twitch response required in chess. Fast-twitch response is a physical ability that, by the way, happens to be critical to esports. And one more thing: Suppose an esports pro and a pro chess player each break their dominant hand. The esports pro is useless for anything more than rolling the cast across the keyboard, but the chess player can still play.

Still Think Esports Aren’t Sports? Squad-Up.

Let’s play some HALO. You’re going down. 


Adam Krudy is the Program Manager for Player One Esports (P1E). Find out more about Player One by subscribing to the P1E Twitch stream or joining in the fun on Discord.

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