eSports should be just as respected as traditional sports. eSports athletes put just as much effort into their training as any Olympic athlete. To compete at the highest level, eSports players practice hours a day. They do training drills and scrimmage matches to perfect their techniques and strategies. In team eSports, watching your opponent’s past match footage gives each team a vital edge going into the big games. Even ESPN is taking notice of the growing popularity of eSports. If ESPN is treating eSports with respect, you should too.
eSports are competitions of skill conducted through video games. Nearly any game can allow people to compete, but the most successful eSports games are ones that have high skill caps and reward both great strategy and great physical execution of that strategy. eSports are a combination of physical and mental competition in the same way traditional sports are.
eSports are not only solo sports. There are team based games that require as much precision and coordination as the best basketball teams. This does not detract from the achievements of solo eSports athletes. Many dominant fighting game competitors put in as many hours as the grandmasters of fencing.
eSports also have the advantage of accessibility. In many cases, there are many more opportunities to play eSports at high levels than there are for more traditional sports. Many of us do not have the privilege of living in a family that can afford the costly sports training needed to compete in the highest levels of sports. The eSports community is full of stories of teenage prodigies discovering the game that takes them all the way to the top of the competition. Barrios Gonzales from Chile, and Leonardo Perez of Mexico came from poor families, but are now making a large amount of money playing Super Smash Bros. in America. The low barrier to entry can make players’ dreams a reality.
One challenge to eSports’ growing popularity is the complexity of the games. It is often more difficult to explain to a newbie what the rules of a game are than it is in traditional sports. Most eSports are more complicated than putting the ball in the place, but this may change as the next generation of game designers build games with spectators in mind. As eSports become easier to watch their popularity is sure to grow.
eSports are a growing industry. They will never totally replace traditional sports, but that is okay. There is a place for both in the spectrum of entertainment options. All achievements that push the boundaries of human possibility should be recognized.