“Whether it’s appropriate to consider e-games as a sport?”
E-games or video games have gained dramatic popularity since the late 1970s, and this fast-growing trend does not seem to stop any time soon with the boom of gen Y and millennials from gen Z . The huge arenas, a sea of thousand cheering fans and million-dollar prize has not been something unfamiliar with e-game players and the interested parties, which in the meantime has also caused a lot of debates whether e-games should be categorized as a sport. While many conventional sports enthusiasts completely deny the idea due to physical element requirements as a sport athlete, many supporters think e-games deserve as a sport competition. Personally, I think e-games has rights to claim its title in sports list.
Despite the fact that there is no universally accepted definition of sports has been determined after lots of efforts, according to the online Oxford English Dictionary’s definition, sports are the harmonization of physical activity, skills and competitive battlefields for the entertaining purpose. This statement will shed the light to prove reasonable claim of video games as a sport.
First of all, there exists a connection between physical exertion and e-games. Scientists have observed various changes in gamers’ physical conditions such as the oxygen level (VO2), basal metabolic rate (MET), blood pressure when they are playing. VO2 and MET have been recorded at a low to moderate activity level when participants stood and shook Nintendo Wii controllers for Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Many other studies also indicate this high blood pressure while e-games players participate in a video game competition and even during training sessions. By the same token, e-game athletes can reveal their physical practice attempts to reach the professional career as a video gamer.
Regarding to skill element, becoming a professional gamer means a long time of learning, practicing with different skills and techniques to achieve certain level. Not all e-games players were born as a natural professional. They all need training and experiencing to conquer different peaks, not to say to earn a living. This bears strong resemblances to career pathway of professional athletes. Also, not only one but many skills are essential as being a professional e-gamer. Skilled players outweigh people that just enjoy for fun and teamworking ability are exceptionally important in a competitive gaming environment.
In terms of the entertaining purpose of e-game competition as compared with traditional sports, the nowadays video games easily satisfy this criteria. Playing online games has no-longer served just a leisure time hobby but also tournaments to achieve money and recognition. No matter players are individuals in Street Fighter or teams in Counter-Strike or League of Legends, they are all derived from the entertaining interest and evolved into competition for prizes. Competitiveness is also the born nature of e-games as in any other sports like football, tennis, swimming,…in which there will be always champions and runners-up. Nonetheless, millions of audience are watching the gamers on stage or other channels, e-games have officially become a spot of entertaining competition.
Besides, the adoption of e-game as a sport in many countries has more and more achieved legal foundation and professional gamers are gaining their titles as athletes. For example, they can obtain P-1 visas, which are given to athletes according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Danny “Shiphtur” Le was the first player in history to get a P-1 visa for eSports. South Korea followed with the growing popularity of recognized professional gamers and Korea e-Sports Association was recognized by the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee with the view to regulating the standards and status of amateur and professional e-game athletes. Video games have much more than just sports’ characteristics to be classified as a sport.
Last but not least, it is unfair to say that e-gamers are not doing anything but moving their fingers to be considered athletes. Even a small move with wrist and fingers cost energy and a professional level to win the competition always require a lot of brain power and skills accumulated from individual and team training. A professional video games player can also experience the same physical exhaustion as any other traditional athletes when practicing for a win-or-lose match. On top of that, as more and more video game tournaments and big events with prizes and trophy are opened for gamers and fans all around the world, e-games have gathered enough resources to submit for an official recognition as a sport.
In summary, considering the definition of sports with requirements of physical exertion, skills, and participation of individuals or teams in a competition for the purpose of entertainment, e-games have proved enough evidence to claim their title in sports list. It might take time for the global recognition to be completely processed, but with the current scaling speed, e-games as an international sport is just a matter of the near future.