The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Professional gaming should be considered a sport

Chris Lowe
Sarah Dutton
Chris Lowe

Over the past few decades, video games have become a staple of the entertainment industry. Lately, a discussion has started over whether video games should be grouped into the category of sports as well. 

First-person shooter games and massive multiplayer online games (MMOs) in particular have spawned dedicated teams of players from all around the world. 

This has led to the establishment of massive gaming tournaments. These tournaments have become so prominent in recent years, ESPN has even added an eSports section to their repertoire.

 It seems as if the battle has already been won for eSports, but many people refuse to acknowledge their legitimacy. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” 

With this in mind, it appears easy to plug many video games right into the definition. With all of the popular games in eSports, it requires a huge amount of effort and training to reach a competitive level, so of course these gamers possess an impressive amount of skill in their respective games. The physical aspect of this however, is the point of debate. 

Obviously, gamers are usually sedentary for their tournaments, but claiming that there is no physical exertion is false. 

Competitive gamers have learned to quickly and precisely chain together complicated in-game movements and attacks, which is only possible with a high level of dexterity. 

Sure, this is not comparable to the type of physical exertion associated with sports like football or hockey, but finger movements are physical nonetheless. 

Gaming as a sport has piqued the interest of quite a few prominent companies: T-Mobile sponsors ESPN’s eSports section and Intel sponsors a competitive Halo team. 

Just like in the NFL or NBA, these companies see eSports as something that can prove profitable everyone involved. 

In fact, according to the research firm Newzoo, “The eSports industry will grow from $278 million in revenue in 2015 into a $765 million industry by 2018.” Obviously people take the gaming industry seriously, which is an undeniable point in its favor.

However, none of this is as convincing as the entertainment aspect of video gaming, in terms of whether the activity should be considered a sport. 

Compared to other activities identified as sports, like chess, eSports have become a global phenomenon. In particular, games like League of Legends have garnered millions of fans from everywhere imaginable. 

CNN states, “In South Korea, stadiums once used to host football matches at the 2002 FIFA World Cup are now frequently packed to capacity with eSports fans, looking on as a new generation of heroes wields keyboard and mouse.” 

An aspect of all sports that people tend to forget is the public demand for them, and the eSports fanbase already eclipses that of many other sports. Tournaments in the most popular games are big-ticket events with prize pools in the millions. 

It is very easy to immediately think of basketball or baseball when one thinks of sports, so it makes sense we have a hard time thinking of something as a sport if it does not remotely resemble them. 

However, gaming is a big deal and is a huge spectacle internationally, with teams of players sinking hours upon hours of their day into honing their skills and battling it out with others at the highest level of competitive play possible. 

The essence of sport is pure competition, which professional gaming is all about. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Professional gaming should be considered a sport