Is ESPORTS a Sport? Introduction

Counter Strike team Virtus.Pro
Counter Strike team Virtus.Pro

How this mytake happened

Esports is a special interest of mine. Let's just say it brings me a lot of joy and I spend way too much time on it. I'm not even good at gaming but I love watching the best of the best play especially when I love the game and know a lot about it and if there's a lot of history even better. Esports is still kinda niche but I believe in it so much. I wanted to write mytakes about it but I wanted to write about something people actually care about and wanna read so I asked a question with a bunch of suggested topics and I got the friendliest sceptical comment I've ever recieved. I'm so used to people just thinking I'm weird and going ew that I'm really positively surprised and touched when something like this happens.

"I don't want to sound mean or uneducated but can you really consider computer gaming as a sport?

I mean, sport to me involves a physical activity that is more than just pushing a button a hundred times a minute to kill opponents. I don't really see what it has to do with sports in general, or am I missing something here?

Maybe you can educate us about what esport is since I seem to have a potentially wrong idea about it.

Grueezi to beautiful Switzerland, salut & anyong aseyo"

@SueShe wrote this and now I'll write a general introduction to what esports is and why I like it.

What makes Esports different from regular sports?

I'm gonna try and use basketball to explain this. When I watch Steph Curry play I love it and I'm amazed. Why? Because everytime he comes down the court he has to outplay his opponent. There's no I'm gonna use my body and stick my ass out and slowly cover 5 meters in 20 seconds and then take a meh shot over this guy. Who wants to see that? Even Lebron who is considered the best player he uses his strength and athleticism to either blow by the defender and dunk, or he draws multiple defenders and passes to the open guy. He does more than that of course but that's been the basic threat he poses to other teams for 17 years, that's what makes him hard to stop. It's just not very interesting compared to someone who has to reinvent their play every year and still stay on top.

Well in esports since everyone uses the same characters and has the same conditions at the start of the game the only thing you can do is outplay your opponent. You have to do something better than them and gain an edge big enough to win somehow.

Imagine if NBA players could chose which body they wanted to play in before the game. Steph Curry could play as Lebron James and we could see if he'd do better or worse in Lebrons Body. If your team didn't have enough big guys just chose one. Everyone chose their ideal team composition and then we'll see who can play it out the best. There would be no reason for players to step out of the way of a dunk because they don't think they can stop it anyway. You should be able to compete to your max capability with the team you chose and if you can't you can change it for the next game, or maybe you win but you're playing a different team and want to counter their strengths or exploit their weaknesses. But whatever you do, you have to outplay the other team because they have just as good of a team as you do so you better think how you're gonna beat them.

In Esports every fan can play the game with the same characters on the same map as the best players in the world, the only difference is their decision making, their practice, their mental strength, their skill, their teamwork, their tactics. It's all about the outplay. You can see a pro gamer play and load up the game and try and play the same exact game just you're controlling instead of him and you'll see the vast difference in skill. But in theory you could give the same imputs as the best player in the world. There's nothing stopping you except your own hands and brain. There are even games where you don't even need mechanics(how well you can execute the moves your brain wants to do with your hands). Virtual card games and Autochess for instance.

Do you wanna be like Mike?
Do you wanna be like Mike?

The game can always be improved

Here's another thought, a computer game can always be modernised, impoved patched, re-balanced and made more interesting. Imagine if in basket ball there were trampolines in the floor but the rims were higher. Imagine if you could get powerups where you could fly for 10 seconds or freeze the trampoline when the opponent wants to jump off, or make the ball weigh 10 times more all of a sudden. These are just some random ideas but the point is the possibilities are almost limitless. What limits an esport is:

The camera has to be able to capture the action in a way so you have a good overview of what's going on.

There can't be too many particle effects and abilities all at the same time so nobody sees what's going on.

And the action has to be clear to follow for someone who knows how the game works (and hopefully for someone who doesn't as well although that's often hard.)

Those are the limitations other than that the creators can be pretty free with their design. This allows for new forms of competition that were not thought of before. Or a tried and true formula can be tweaked and lead to amazing results. Also games that have been played competitively for 10 years can get refreshed and improved once a year. League of Legends does the last one the basic objectives of the game stay the same but they change the items or add new incentives to spice up the games.

Esports is continually evolving and trying to deliver the most exciting, most skill based, most fun, competition and I feel optimistic. On the business side there's still a lot of problems but that's a story for another day. In real sports it can take decades for a small rule change that everyone agrees should have been done a long time ago where in esports old games die and new games release and you can chose which one you like and want to support.

Skill and mindgames a the highest level

As a viewer if you know what's going on, you can see that skill being expressed in front of your eyes. You can see every move the player makes the situation he's in and what he must be thinking and then see how he overcomes the situation with brilliance or gets shut down by his opponent. The skill, the outplay is shown and everyone can see how he did it. And after the game his opponents can watch the whole match from his point of view and see exactly how they got beat. And next time when they play they will have plans how to deal with the things that got them beat last time. So you can't just have a move like the sky hook(back to basketball) that nobody can stop and use it your entire career. The personality of the player does show through in the way he plays and different players get known for things they're really good at or that one epic play they made to turn the game around so you do have a playstyle and strengths you rely on but you can never be static. You have to constantly evolve your game or you will be left in the dust. You can counter any strategy if you're smart enough and you can execute it so you have to be flexible. The game gets optimized and figured out to a level that normal sports can't reach because they're limited. It's constant bluffs, fakes, misdirection and mind reading to try and throw them off. And on top of that comes the pressure of playing in front of millions of viewers as a teenager or in your early twenties.

I love real life sports too

I'm not writing this to discredit real sports. Wrking on your body and performing at the peak of your ability are amazing feats. I follow many sports and I have played sports all my life. Growing up I often played multiple sports at the same time now I'm mostly focused on indoor and beach volleyball and working out but there's still new things I want try out and take up. But Esports does have something special and I feel it is the future.

To finish I wanna say the passion of everyone involved , the community and the on air talent are also awesome and I'll drop some videos related to this take.

Peae and have a nice day :)

Is ESPORTS a Sport? Introduction
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  • SueShe

    Thanks for the very detailed insight of Esports but mainly for having taken up the challenge of my reply to your other question.

    I have never considered intellectual challenges as a kind of sporting activity because for me, sports involves physical qualities rather than mental ones. Perhaps I am locked in that state of mind.

    But your take is an eye opener and next time I hear about Esports, I will refrain from judging it as solely a kids' or nerd's "game" but as an intellectual sports that require abilities that are different than the ones of regular sports as I had always defined them.

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • tallandsweet

    I just watched the "No one respects Esports" video and I agree with the guy.
    It all boils down to how many people watch a tournament.
    It doesn't really matter whether esports are a sport or not, I just think that it has its right to have a place in this worls, especially because it sparks joy in certain people.

    My boyfriend loves playing Call of Duty and is quite good at it, I don't like egoshooter games, but I still accept that it takes skill to be good at video games.

    Like 3 People
  • VertigoJ

    Esports are sport. They take the same dedication as traditional sport. They aren't my cup of tea, they've damaged the games market and the way games are made, but they are every bit as valid as anything else and are often as, if not more, entertaining. I had the great "pleasure" of going up against Fatal1ty and Kornelia back in the early 00s and if they weren't as skilled, it would have been in no way as honourable as a defeat as it was, and believe me, it was some kind of defeat, when you have someone deathmatching and ending the round on 50 kills with no deaths, that is kind of bloody impressive.

    Like 1 Person
    • Lynx122

      Yeah I didn't just want to say it takes skill but also focus on the advantages esports has over traditional sports with less barrier to entry and more of a equal playing field where you have to create the advantages in game. Also players can compete over big distances without having to travel that's a nice thing too. I feel like in sports there's such a big focus on training your body and how to execute the moves you need to compete. In esports there's more of a focus on how to play the game the optimal way and gain an advantage over your oponent how to would you react in this situation etc. The meta discussion etc. It has certain elements of chess I guess. You still need mechanics and be able to execute too but it's more of a mental battle.

      I was really drawn to American football for a while because I feel like it combines both aspects, the mental part, the strategy almost like commanding an army and the physical part athleticism, more than any other sport.

    • Lynx122

      Really cool that you played vs Fatal1ty :) The prime of Quake was long before I discovered esports so I never followed the game but I have informed myself a bit after the fact and I watched a little when the new game came out.

  • AllThatSweetJazz

    Anything can be a sport.
    Most norrmies just have this brain barrier which makes then associate it with strictly physical feats, even though a huge number of "official" sports are not strictly physical. e. g shooting, car racing. Many have strategy and tactics as core the sport, e. g anything against another person for starters like fencing or football, gaming just makes it all about those mental skills.

    If there a real gripe with gaming it's that balance is always shifting and that new games emerge and split communities. It needs to endure longer, staying consistent if it's going to be part of sporting culture.

    Like 1 Person
  • Jamie05rhs

    Sorry, bro, but you'll never be able to convince me of this, no matter what you say.

    LikeDisagree 2 People
    • That was a really good MyTake, by the way. Very well written. Even if I still disagree on it being an actual sport. Lol

  • Soremain

    I've played video games all my life and followed more esports than traditional sports and I don't consider it sports and I don't see the need to call it that. Why not just call it esports or gaming.

    If someone would've asked me what was I doing on a summer break and I say I played 12 hours of sports every day and when they ask what sports, I say counter-strike and WoW.. Yeah right :D I can't fool anyone including myself to believe I was playing sports 8-16 hours a day when I was young.

    Now I can also say I didn't like sports, I preferred gaming. No I don't watch sports, but I watch esports. I prefer those to be separated because there is very definitive difference between the two.

  • Riebeck

    It 's only for people who play the game itself, even then it's niche for players. Anyone who doesn't play has no idea what the hell is happening in DOTA. If you're only exposed to the best moments of rocket league you don't know how good they are.

    At least people know what it takes to do a traditional sport. It not like a computer aiming for you.

    I feel like only EAsports would be successful at getting non gamers to watch.

    Also, glorifying killing people shouldn't be a sport.

    Yes I am a huge gamer, but esports does not hype me. I watched pubg for a bit and it was well done how they streamed it, but it only puts me off the game seeing others so much better

  • Archerer

    No it is not a sport, maybe when VR becomes more of a thing it will

    • Why would the perspective being attached to your face be the deciding factor?

    • Archerer

      @AllThatSweetJazz I mean more than just on your face, when your body actually does the motions and not just a controller

    • Archerer

      When physical fitness actually counts for something

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