E-sports, also known as “multiplayer video games played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers,” came under fire after ESPN aired Dota2, which irked ESPN fans worldwide.
Many of those individuals argued that E-sports do not count as a sport, as they don’t follow the definition of the word. Others claimed E-sports don’t require the physical or mental prowess of typical sports, such as soccer or chess, and don’t qualify as sports.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” This definition would make video games qualify, as many require extremely high dexterity and fast thinking to play at a high level, such as the Super Smash Brothers series. Many E-sports have teams or groups, such as EHOME and Evil Geniuses in Dota2, and playing video games is usually done for entertainment.
While most E-sports don’t require the physique of a bodybuilder, nor the mental ability of a chess player, E-sports do require adaptation of the mind and body depending on the game. In the two-dimensional fighting game Street Fighter, you need to be able to execute combo attacks repeatedly without fail, while being able to block, counter and predict your opponent’s moves.
A game such as StarCraft, a top-down strategy management game, differs in execution. The base concepts are the same: predict, counter, attack, but the play is different. Instead of commanding one character who fights another, both players battle using an army and encampment and attempt to conquer the opposition.
Despite these differences, both games demand many diverse inputs to defeat the opposing player. Street Fighter requires a simple fight-stick with a few buttons, making timed inputs on each button essential to execute a combo. StarCraft uses a keyboard and mouse and uses almost every button, each used for a unique task, from ordering units to attack and building bases to producing units from a building.
Some people point out that with E-sports, interaction between opposing players is not there; unlike with most traditional sports, you’re not face-to-face. You’re separated, often playing against each other in closed rooms.
E-sports have only been around for 44 years, while many traditional sports date back thousands of years. While some communities have adapted to them, there is still backlash from those that fear the unknown. But this argument grows weaker by the day, as E-sports advance more into society. It seems that in order for people to be comfortable with classifying E-sports as sports, it will require time.
But, does it really matter if we call E-sports traditional or not? It doesn’t change a thing about the main concept. As long as we can have fun playing sports, that’s all that really matters.
Oly Fisher is a student in Lauren Frodsham’s Writing 11 class at Belmont secondary.