eSports: Is Professional Video-Gaming a Sport?
Throughout 2020, many sectors plummeted, while others started to bloom. Growth industries include new casino online and eSports communities. A common question that many have asked in recent months is, “Is eSports a sport?”
Today, Daniel Bennet, a long time casino and video gaming expert, discusses the growing video-gaming industry. There’s a lot of interest in eSports as a whole since West Ham United stars gave commentary on a Counter-Strike game. Let’s have a closer look to see what the fuss is about.
Video Games vs Sports
eSports games are booming and for a good reason. Video games aren’t what they were a couple of years ago. Now, world championships are held in stadiums. There’s also a massive fan base and team drama, much like traditional sports events.
Here, we’ll make a comparison and decide once and for all: video games vs sports.
There’s so much video gaming competition that it might shock you. Players can play recreationally, for a prize pool, or progress to the next stage of a tournament.
In the top-tier tournaments, the competition is fierce. For example, the 2020 League of Legends Championship in Shanghai’s Pudong Soccer Stadium has a $2.5 million prize pool.
Players that play sports games on a computer practice for hours a day before tournaments commence, just as a hockey or football athlete would train to get their team to the top.
The eSports community is ruthless, as each member is under immense pressure. One mistake could cost the game, and if you make an error, you could be benched from the team.
It may seem ridiculous to some, but video gaming professionals spend hours a day becoming better players and enhancing their in-game reflexes. Some will play for 10-14 hours per day, leading up to important competitions.
A recreational gamer will struggle to keep up with some of the eSports stars who reach an average of 500 actions per minute. That equates to more than 8 per second.
The eSports organizations have a full support team that manages and oversees the daily jousts. The gamers have a coach, general manager, and whole administration team behind the scenes.
In traditional sports such as hockey and basketball, the players need to be physically and athletically fit. While eSports gamers don’t need to maintain fitness levels to the same extent, they practice for hours on end.
Players are also prone to injuries and other health issues that could cause them to step away for a season. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, back, and eye strain are just a few of the common problems that the gamers face.
Top-ranking players also face exhaustion, with multiple players having to step away this year after suffering gamer’s burnout. Most recently, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team Ninjas in Pajamas, placed their player ‘nawwk’ on medical leave after he displayed symptoms of exhaustion.
Video gaming organizations have gained cult followings; some have millions of followers across their social media platforms. Pro-gamers also host streaming events where they can interact with fans.
At major events, broadcasting services like ESPN will televise competitions. Those at home who can’t attend a match can follow what’s going on with eSports commentators, referred to as casters or shoutcasters. They have the same function as traditional commentators and narrate ongoing events.
Even though thousands of fans stream tournaments, they’re just as willing as football fans to attend live events. In 2017, there were over 100,000 spectators at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship, more than the SuperBowl!
Revenue & Investment
During the turbulence of 2020, the video-gaming industry has grown exponentially. In 2019, eSports’ revenues were $950.6 million combined. This figure is expected to be more than $1.1 billion by the end of this year.
The eSports community has gained global attention with multiple celebrities investing in organizations. David Beckham recently invested in the Guild Esports organization, which has now floated on the London Stock Exchange. It gave fans a chance to become shareholders of their favourite team.
Many of the top-level competitions are also sponsored by multinational corporations like Coca-Cola and RedBull.
So, is eSports a sport? It most certainly is. There’s not much that sets the two genres apart when you strip it down to its basics.