This is a discussion as old as there have been video games. While in the early days, technological restrictions would not allow many games to be played "competitively" beyond very simple concepts, things have been changing rapidly today. Video games are played competitively, and they have earned a name because of that – "esports."
Esports is the practice of competing in a video game. With over ten viable titles and millions worth of prize money going down in the majority of big events, it's easy to see the resemblance between traditional sports that take place in the real world and their digital counterparts.
For example, if you read a Pinnacle review, you will quickly notice that it covers both sports and esports. It wouldn't do so if esports weren't competitive, skill-based events that deserved recognition. Let's look at the reasons why esports are actually sports.
Same Level of Concentration
To excel at any type of contest, you need concentration. In other words, you need to be focused on what you are doing on a level that is usually inaccessible to ordinary players or athletes. To achieve that, you need years of rigorous training. Take a runner, for example. They probably started by just being able to run a few kilometers at most or run at a fixed speed.
However, over time and with training, they have developed stamina and endurance that have allowed them to excel and achieve new levels of performance that are impressive. Well, the same applies to esports players. They are able to concentrate on the game not because they are just "good at gaming."
Becoming the next best player in your game means super-human efforts, and you need to stay as focused as any professional athlete does.
For the longest time, esports players have been dismissed as not having much to do with the "physical world." Well, that is not entirely true. As things stand, if you really want to perform well at any type of video game at the highest level, you need to be in good shape mentally and physically.
The two are related and physical health usually influences mental health. That is why professional esports organizations are beginning to invest a lot of time and effort into convincing and helping their players to live and lead healthier lives.
Eating habits, proper exercise, and general body form are important to ensure that you are performing at your best. Athletes who are new to esports tend to neglect personal health so that they can clock in more hours.
However, since esports became a multi-million industry that is quickly closing in on the one-billion thresholds, many studies have proven that players will actually perform worse if they do not get enough proper resting periods.
Your Chances to Break in the Top Are Slim
Do you think tennis is hard work? Try becoming good at Dota 2. The game itself is fun and easy to get into, but exceeding and developing the qualities you would need to be one of the most remarkable players out there are very similar to what you would need to become one of the Top 100 players in Men's or Women's tennis. In fact, some players claim that it was easier for them to specialize in any type of profession out in the real world after retiring from esports than it was to become an esports professional.
Playing games is definitely fun, but there are not too many people who can play on a truly competitive level and do well. With this in mind, it's fair to note down that your chances of becoming a professional player are not very high, and this is precisely why esports is more like a sport than any other type of content you can think of.
Professional athletes need to make certain sacrifices – foods, sleep patterns, and rigorous regimes are all part of forming the next professional player in whatever sport they have chosen. In fact, these are the prerequisites that do not offer any guarantees that you will ever break into the top of your chosen sport.
You may as well spend years of your life never make it to the top, but the general wisdom is that if you train without making ever sliding back, you should achieve your top form and perhaps even compete on a high level. The exact same wisdom applies to esports, and it's true from A to Z.
Esports players are not good just because they are good at playing. They are good because they have shaped themselves to be good players. They have played extensively, taken care of their health, and generally learned and grown in the game so that they can reach the depth of gameplay that not too many other players can.
Mental Health Matters
Mental health is a hot topic in both sports and esports. The stress that players and athletes undergo is remarkable, and it can easily have very serious effects on your overall outlook on life. Depression, lack of motivation, mood swings are all parts of deteriorating mental health that you will have to get in control of, but you will also need to mitigate at times when the stress is too much.
Esports players and athletes can experience the same level of stress. A tennis player may play for a million dollars at a Grand Slam event, but a Dota 2 player in The International is playing for $20 million in a single game series, and disregarding the level of stress that esports players experience is impossible.
Not least, esports is a global phenomenon. There are serious events that fill out entire stadiums the same way certain sports cannot. In other words, you have international competitions that are taking place all over the world, with hundreds of thousands turning out to watch them. You have events that match the Super Bowl live audience, and this is only going to grow.
There is a major esports tournament in almost every major country around the world as a testimony to how popular these games are. Fans are happy to turn up in person, pay for tickets, purchase fanfare and other paraphernalia and support their teams. Isn't that what sports fans do?
It's important to note that many esports fans crave this type of personal interaction as it gives them a sense of belonging and community, much like sports fans feel.
Franchised Models in Esports
Esports is not played over the Internet anymore, and franchised models exist. Games such as Call of Duty and Overwatch are already using this model to attract fans to the stadiums. A franchised model is based on what sports have to offer, with home arenas and fans turning up in droves to root for their favorite teams and do so because they truly appreciate what gaming does for their communities.
Don't Forget – Esports Drives the Economy
Sports are often linked to partnerships and economic opportunities. While esports is hardly doing this on the same level as sports just yet, there are definitely promising trends. Multi-billion brands are coming to esports readily and offering to invest a pretty penny.
Those are the likes of BMW, Mercedes, KFC, Coca-Cola, and many other companies that have realized that advertising to esports aficionados with plenty of disposable income is probably a good strategy, to begin with.
Advertising in esports is only going to get more pronounced as more companies are joining in a bid to secure slots. A single franchised slot in the Overwatch or Call of Duty League can be as high as $60 million, which tells you a bit about the expected ROI that the organizations are purchasing it expect over the years.
Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments that esports is more like sports than anything else is the fact that they bring a lot of structured formats that allow you to compete. Structured competitions are one of the core conditions to have any type of serious esports or sports, for that matter.
Would the sports world be the same without the NBA Playoffs or the Olympics? Probably not - that is why esports is also hosting many successful competitions around the world. Every game in esports has a big event to look forward to, making the experience far more entertaining!