Tell Us Dammit: Is eSports A Sport?

I wonder if we can discuss this topic without getting angry at one another? That is today's challenge. Is eSports an actual sport? I'd love to hear your opinions on that.

To begin with I'd like to posit a disclaimer of sorts: saying eSports isn't a sport isn't necessarily an attempt to discredit it.

I mean, calling chess a 'game' instead of a 'sport' doesn't demean the incredible effort that is required to play it on a high level, it merely reflects the belief of many that playing a sport requires some sort of physical activity.

I guess it all comes down to how you define the word 'sport'.

Me? I'm not sure. Part of me thinks that the sheer physical nature of eSports — the reaction times required — are enough for eSports to be a sport. Another part of me believes that some sort of physical exertion is required for something to be called a sport.

In other words, I'm sitting on the fence as per usual.


    Well, going pro requires extensive training, dedication, and the cultivation of a specific set of skills that have questionable applicability to the real world. They require the development of fast reflexes and lasting stamina. They focus on team-based coordination or individual prowess, depending on which game you're talking about; they require precision and skill; they focus on competition, either direct or indirect, and reading/anticipating the opponent. People watch to appreciate that skill, and they flock in droves to do so, through any medium they can. To me, that defines what I'd call a sport. So, yes, I'd consider football and tennis to be sports.

    Does the above change if I substitute "football" for "DotA" or "LoL", or "tennis" for "Starcraft" or "Street Fighter"? Not to me.

    No , its a game

    Teamwork, reflexes, skill, instinct, focus, stamina. Yes it is a sport. if you think that "sport" is strictly athletics, you've never seen how physically exhausted international pro gamers get. Oxford dictionary defines sport as "An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment" and i think e-sports fit that definition.

    Last edited 04/09/14 1:41 pm

    It's a sport in the same way that darts, snooker and poker are sports.

    I'm going to say "no". Because sports are timeless - we'll be playing cricket, football, tennis etc forever - the sport doesnt really change in the rules and the basic idea. Esports are all going to be very short lived games, maybe a couple of years.

      but being very short lived doesnt mean one cannot appreciate the skill in playing those games. Trying to think of an example...maybe an impossibly long range headshot thats a pixel high ? a well executed double pronged base attack feint with a reaver dark templar drop? An Enchanted Crystal Arrow from Ashe that traveled the whole map to hit intended target ?

      I don't believe that you can't call some gaming prowess as timeless even if we dont play those games anymore. Exhibit A Daigo vs Justin: The beast unleashed. Even a fighting game noob like me can appreciate that this is one classic moment in gaming history.

        I'm not saying there is no skill involved - I'm saying that to considered a Sport - the game has to exist for more than a couple of years. Your example of whoever vs someone else - it might be a classic moment in gaming history - its nothing in sporting history.

    Sure games are sports and their participants athletes!
    In the same way a guy who works at Macca’s can go up to a girl in a bar and tell her that he’s a professional chef.
    Sure you can say it, hell you can make a technical argument for it and be 100% correct. It doesn’t make you any less of a tool.

    If you come up to me and tell me you play games for a living I’m going to think that’s awesome. If you tell me you’re an ‘E-sports athlete’ you’re likely to get the high-school nerd style wedgie that you deserve.

    People who have pride in what they do shouldn’t need to appropriate titles for themselves to validate what they do.
    Leave the sports and athletes tags for the traditional sportspeople.

    ‘Games’ are just that. Be a ‘professional gamer’ if you can make your living playing them.

    I consider eSport a sport, the same way I consider chess a sport. It requires lots of training and commitment, you go to tournaments, pay an entry fee, get prizes for winning etc. Even the physical aspect of it to a degree is similar, if you're unhealthy and out of shape you will find it hard to play eSports or chess at a high level. Because your health is directly related to your ability to stay calm under pressure, make quick rational decisions etc.

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