Professional Video Gaming - Is It a Real Sport?

Professional video gaming is a virus that is spreading like wildfire, from South Korea to the USA and European countries such as England and Portland.

While there’s no formal education offered to become a pro gamer, many people have honed their skills in the various categories of games to make sustaining careers out of them.

For the longest time video games were viewed as massive time-wasters that encouraged laziness and anti-human interaction. In many movies, the stuck-up anti-social teenager who could not talk to girls was only good at video gaming. This may not necessarily be the case as gamers are normal human beings with the exception that they have a special interest for computer games, just like a fashion enthusiast would love to wear glow necklaces. Esports may be unconventional but it’s here to stay.

Here are some of the features that make professional gaming worthy of being called a real sport:

It takes skill and practice

esports, gamer, gamergirls

In the same manner in which baseball requires constant hitting and missing, so does video gaming demand long man-hours of practice. To be a professional player one has to put time aside to understand the dynamics of the game, the characters, the scoring and the rules of play.

A professional gamer can practice with robots or artificial intelligence just to get a feel of the controls and the game user interface. Afterward, he/she can advance to playing with friends for a more social setup and to learn the aspect of teamwork.

Tournaments and training organized

esports, arena, stage

Just like soccer, baseball, and rugby, pro gaming has attracted a lot of attention from both players and fans across the world. In 2015 alone the global esports audience was estimated to be 226 million people. This rapid growth of interest in video games led to the creation of online tournaments starting 2000. As the sport became more competitive a global championship was put in place where a 16-team participates for a month. As many as 40,000 fans filled the Seoul World Cup stadium in 2014 to watch a live League of Legends game. Some of the major tournament names are the World Cyber Games,  North American Major League Gaming league, Electronic Sports World Cup, and the World e-Sports Games hosted in China.

Video gaming requires intense private/home practice but this may not be enough to prepare one for a competition. It is in this regard that various institutions made by game developers have come up to offer professional training on a list of games. An example is the Team We Training center in China.

Pro gaming pays

dota 2, character, selection

Shooting hextech gunblades from behind a computer may seem like a lazy way of passing an afternoon but it pays the bills for thousands of people out there. By 2016 Dota 2 had awarded a total of 86 million dollars to different players over 632 tournaments organized. Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-Hyeok is one such player who bagged a cool 1 million dollars after winning a League of Legends game. Gaming companies also create employment opportunities, therefore, paying salaries for a huge population of people.

Wrap up

By definition, sports is an activity that calls for skill and/or physical exertion whereby one person or a team compete against an opponent for the sake of entertainment. If you ask me, video games check all the boxes in this regard. Not only does it need top notch skills it's rather entertaining as well and pays well too.

Video gaming as a ‘real’ sport may be controversial but it has a lot of perks that earn it the title -- not to mention esports competitors are treated as athletes for the sake of travel.

Published Apr. 11th 2017

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