Is Competitive Gaming a Sport?
Is gaming a sport? Some say it is, some say it isn’t. Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument!
It totally is!
Earlier this year, MarketWatch called competitive gaming a worldwide phenomenon that’s “well on its way to becoming the next major professional sport alongside the likes of football and baseball.” In case you didn’t know, there are championships centered on gaming professionals—and people are watching them in numbers that rival the viewership of major sporting events like the World Series and NBA games.
“[Competitors] study strategy, technique and opponents,” pointed out e-sports event organizer Michal Blicharz in an interview with the BBC. “All the elements are there—the excitement, the adrenalin, players crying tears of sorrow and joy.”
What’s more, since 2013, the United States government has granted professional athlete visas to players traveling to the country to compete in electronic sports (or “e-sports”) tournaments, effectively recognizing the sport of gaming.
“Eventually it got to the point where they were like ‘We have no reason to say no…. OK, this is legitimate,’” Nick Allen, e-sports manager at Riot Games, told Forbes.
But what if you don’t play at a professional level? Kicking a football around the backyard may not be the same as participating in the Super Bowl, but it still counts as playing sports, and for many people, the same logic applies when gaming on the couch.
It totally isn’t!
Sports take many shapes and forms, but the vast majority tend to be associated with physical exertion. That’s something gaming lacks, although after a long session your thumbs and wrists may beg to differ!
“Sitting down for hours in a darkened room playing computer games doesn’t strike me as sport,” Tim Warwood, former British snowboarding champion, told the BBC. “When I was a kid, sport was all about getting outside, getting wet, muddy, out of breath—you’re not going to get out of breath smashing your thumbs on a controller.”
The technological aspect is another sticking point for people who think the term “the sport of gaming” is an oxymoron, and that playing video games should never be considered an athletic pursuit.
As PC Magazine pointed out, “Even sports defined by their man-made tools, like fencing and archery, do not feature mechanized or computer-aided technologies.”
So, when it comes down to it, is gaming a sport? What do you think and why?