Are eSports "real" sports? Science says yes!

Five-year research project shows that professional eSports players are real athletes.

Despite growing in popularity, the validity of eSports as “real” sports is often in question. Even though ESPN now covers the Heroes Of The Dorm competition, it wasn’t that long ago when the president of ESPN declared that eSports weren’t a sport. Just last year in September Jimmy Kimmel also mocked both playing and viewing eSports on his show.

But one scientist has spent the last 5 years on research that puts eSports on equal footing with traditional sports. Professor Ingo Froböse, who works at the German Sports University, has found that professional eSports players experience physical demands far beyond expectations. The amount of hand-eye coordination surpasses that of table-tennis players, and the amount of stress hormones produced are similar to race car drivers. Froböse adds:

"This is combined with a high pulse, sometimes as high as 160 to 180 beats per minute, which is equivalent to what happened during a very fast run, almost a marathon. That's not to mention the motor skills involved. So in my opinion, eSports are just as demanding as most other types of sports, if not more demanding."

Froböse recommends that eSports players adopt some of the fitness regimens that traditional athletes use to stay in peak physical fitness, such as exercise and a healthy diet. This could help extend a professional's career by an estimated 4 to 5 years.

So if you want to be a professional eSports player, it might be time to cut down on the Red Bull.


Teevell is a professional writer and editor, and is primarily interested in MOBAs, MMORPGs, eSports, and game writing.

Tags espnĀ esports
Published Mar. 14th 2016
  • Kayle Simpson
    Featured Contributor
    I definitely agree that if we count race car drivers as athletes, esports players are easily also athletes. It's really more of an issue of language than one of validity, though.

    I feel like this is a very similar debate to the ongoing "who is a gamer?" debate. If you play a sport, you're an athlete- full stop. If you play games, you're a gamer- also full stop. Arguing about what sports or games are more "valid" than others is pointless and 100% subjective.

    I was in a competitive marching band in high school, so I am very familiar with the debate of athlete validity :P
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    Whenever a really intense match ends and my adrenaline is pumping, I usually have to stand up and walk off the dizzyness. It's a different kind of physical demand than say running a marathon, but it's definitely demanding. I can't imagine what it feels like after winning a tournament championship like The International or something.

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