Our readers now that we cover a wide range of sports, particularly those that are popular in Ireland. It doesn’t matter whether you’re more of a rugby fan, or soccer is your cup of tea, we have it covered.
This time we want to draw your attention to one interesting type of sports, or to be very precise and particular – a type of competitively played games that are considered sports by some, but there is no general consensus on that. Namely, we’re talking about esports. Yes, the name would imply that they are sports, but there’s also the argument that the use of the letter ‘e’ at the beginning definitely shows that these types of games aren’t sports or sporting activities.
There are arguments both for and against, quite compelling arguments at that, which is probably why it is so difficult to decide once and for all, unequivocally, whether esports are real sports. We aren’t going to reach a final verdict, of course, but we will have a look at the arguments for and against and let you decide. It is a matter of perspective really.
The aim is to win
Both sports and esports are competitive and participants aim to win, so that’s perhaps the most important shared feature between the two families of games. But then, it is fair to note that sports and esports aren’t the only types of games that are competitive, card games are competitive as well.
There is one notable difference though, namely in esports and sports players can actively and effectively have an impact on the outcome i.e. winning is up to them, up to their skills and the effort they put in the game.
Games of chance vs games of skills
Those who are familiar with slots, bingo, fantasy sports and other gambling-related activities are surely aware of the distinction between games of chance and games of skill. Games of skill are those where more skilled players stand a better chance of winning. In other words, if you can define the required skills needed for a win, regardless whether the skills in question are physical or mental, then that game can be played competitively. That’s why there are poker tournaments, but no slot tournaments. Although, there are some new online slots where the choice that you make during gameplay can make a difference, so in that sense skill is involved. Still, let’s go back to sports and esports.
One curious case – chess
Now, we’ve established that esports can be played competitively. One of the arguments usually presented by proponents of the classical understanding of sports according to which esports aren’t sports is that the field, or pitch where the game is played is virtual, plus players aren’t using their hands and legs, they’re using keyboards, joysticks etc.
As for the first argument from the paragraph above, yes, that is one of the strongest and most compelling arguments against the understanding that esports are sports. Yes, there is no physical field or area where a game is played, but if you look at traditional sports, there are great differences between the type of surfaces where different games are played, for instance, is it possible to compare football and darts? Furthermore, there is one sport that makes things even more complicated – chess.
Chess is played on a board, but you can play it on a computer and there would be no actual difference. And while there are few people who wouldn’t call chess a sport, it is generally accepted that chess is indeed a sport.
Esports are highly competitive and require high levels of coordination
While simply pointing that chess is also a sport might be the considered an argument strong enough to conclude that esports are also sports, we should actually look at the arguments in favour of esports as such.
First of all, esports are as competitive as conventional sports. There are professional teams, there are leagues and tournaments with prizes and players spend a lot of their time preparing for games and tournaments.
There’s even audience, fans of teams and players and lately, venues where esports competitions take place are usually sold out with viewers watching the games on big screens while cheering for their favourites. Even the Staples Center in LA has been sold out for esports events on numbers of occasions.
Finally, let’s go through the key argument. Esports athletes often achieve up to 400 actions on their keyboards and mice in a minute, which is four times what a normal person can usually achieve. It requires a high degree of coordination, as the both hands are moved at the same time, not to mention that different parts of the brain are also active simultaneously.
Many of the coaches who work with esports teams come form sporting backgrounds and have worked with athletes such as basketball players, volleyball players and so on. Still, it is fair to admit that one doesn’t need to be in a peak physical condition to be an esports athlete, it requires little athleticism. On the other hand, darts players don’t have to be too athletic either.
In the end, some people will never accept esports as sports, but millions of fans from all over the world tune in to watch their favourite Dota2, League of Legends, or CS:GO players and teams on a regular basis and that’s all that matters.