With the announcement of League of Legends becoming an official sport of the United States, pro gamers from around the world can now apply for visas to attend events, train, and play for other countries. This is certainly a step forward in the world of e-sports and gaming in general. What about all those other games people spend a gazillion hours on, perfecting their techniques? Do they not deserve the same treatment?
Long before LoL was even a thought in the creative minds at Riot, players of StarCraft and Counter Strike were competing for world dominance. Millions of dollars flowed through gamers’ hands during the frequent Cyberathlete Professional League tournaments and people still pay to see those AWP no scope kills on de_dust2. Although those games are not a popular as the used to be, they still have very passionate and skilled fan bases.
At one point in time, if someone had said that a MOBA game would be the first to become an officially recognized sport, I would have laughed and said, “If anything, a first-person shooter or real-time strategy game would do it.” However, a MOBA game did make it and much to my surprise it is still growing in popularity, even with it being the most played game in the world.
What does this mean for gamers? It means that the door has been opened for other games to be included as a sport. It means that perhaps a game (maybe League of Legends) will be in the next Olympic Games. Above all else though, it means that this country is finally starting to accept gaming for what it is: a truly awesome and glorious entertainment medium that can attract both the young and old, geeks and jocks, men and women. Maybe now the world will see how gaming can bring families and friends together; and that, my friends, is worth more than gold.