Alex Mcalpine

Alex Mcalpine

Alex graduated from UWO with a degree in journalism. He is a Battle Royale and FPS guru. He often reads 'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner' as he is ranked in the top 100 on the PUBG leaderboards. Alex is also an Overwatch and CoD expert. You can learn more about Alex via our About page.

Is Esport a Real Sport?

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Can people competitively playing video games be seen in the same light as professional athletes? The debate has been raging ever since esports latched on to the mainstream culture. Some people see esports on the same level as real sports. They see players in the same vein as athletes. However, others are very dismissive and do not see a viable comparison between esports and real sports. In this article, we will look at the main arguments to try and figure out whether esport could ever be seen as a real sport.

SIMILARITIES

Firstly, it is important to consider the similarities between real sports and esports. They both involve a competitive element, and they both require a high skill level. Moreover, both can also be bet on in real-time. It is true that video games betting has become much more popular in recent years. This is because esports betting is rivalling real sports betting, and fans are looking to get in on the action. A lot of businesses now focus on providing platforms for esports enthusiasts to place bets on their favorite teams. You can place your bet online, personally visit an establishment or even download an app for this purpose. The fact that esports betting is so popular provides an argument that it should be considered a real sport.

Another similarity that can be considered is physical exertion. Although video game players don't do strenuous activity, their heart rates still spike during esports events. Just like athletes, video game players will also have to think about strategies to win the games and how they can work cohesively with their team members. In the game Call of Duty, for example, the players have to choose their weapons wisely and simultaneously move in the game. Accomplishing these tasks while working with a team can be very demanding and challenging. The more complex the video game is, the more skills it’ll require from the video game players.

This shows that there is a significant physical component to the game just as there is in real sports. Both esports and real sports provide a competitive environment in which audiences are entertained. Just like athletes, video game players also need to mentally prepare for their games in order to win. When looking at it from this perspective, they are fairly similar.

DIFFERENCES

However, there are also many crucial differences between real sports and esports. The main argument against the consideration is the physical demands. Elite athletes will usually need to be very physically adept in order to win matches. Their bodies are tested to the limit, and they have to train for years to get to the standard required. For instance, if you plan on becoming a professional basketball player, generally, you have to start playing as early as college and train with professionals for years. You need to have access to a professional coach and facilities to help you enhance your ability to handle, dribble, and pass a ball. You also have to learn the necessary techniques for the game and ensure that these are implemented properly. The same cannot be said for esports. Anyone can play esports regardless of their fitness levels. Regardless of whether they have the agility to move around or pass a ball to other team members, they can still play esports in the comforts of their home. Their bodies are not tested, but their reflexes are put to the test.

Esports is also played on a screen rather than facing off in real life. Unlike actual sports, you don’t need to go out in order to win matches. As long as you have the necessary equipment and connections, you can play esports anywhere. Depending on the requirements of the video game, you can choose to play at home or when you’re moving from one place to another. There are now video games that can be played using handheld devices. But even if video games are convenient, it’s still different from actual sports because everything happens in front of a screen.

There is a key generational gap between these opposing sides and, ultimately, it comes down to your individual point of view. There are many sports, such as darts, which also require minimal physical activity. But, it is obvious that being good at video games takes a lot of skill and practice.

The relevance of these differences depends on your own point of view and how you classify sports. There doesn't appear to be an objective way that sports can be called ‘real sports.’ This leaves an avenue open for esports to be officially recognized across the globe.

SIGNIFICANCE OF RECOGNITION

The debate around esports is more important than simple semantics and definitions. If esports are classified as ‘real sports,’ then they get financial advantages such as tax breaks. Additionally, they would get more legal protections that are provided to athletes. The esports community continues to carry its case in many countries for full recognition. They are passionate about this classification since it would bring much more legitimacy to esports.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Overall, there is no clear answer to whether esport is a real sport. However, it is clear that it will continue to rise in global popularity. It already has millions of viewers, and it will soon be able to consistently match some of the numbers of the world's biggest sports games. One of the best ways to enjoy the biggest esports events is by betting on them. You can check out the best esports bookmakers on esportsbettingwebsites.com.  Even if it isn't regarded as a ‘real’ sport, it will soon have to be taken much more seriously by the doubters. The popularity is simply too high to ignore. We expect the debate to rage on for many years to come.


Image Via: Fox Sports

Article Updated: March 16, 2020

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