As technology continues to advance, the gaming world has reached unprecedented levels of enthusiasm from competitive players and spectators alike.
The world of video games has become so hyped that gamers are making huge sums of money simply for being the best at their respective games.
In 2019, the Fortnite Champion Series had a $10 million prize pool, creating major buzz and excitement across the gaming world. There is no doubt that these competitions have grown dramatically in recent years, and the large cash prizes have a lot to do with it. But does that alone qualify e-sports as an actual sport?
In order to answer that question, one must first establish the definition of a sport. There are certainly several characteristics that e-sports have in common with more traditional sports. Similar to football, basketball, or soccer, e-sports are a competitive game, in which there is a clear winner and loser. A scoring system is in place, in order to monitor the standing of the competition, thereby creating a set of guidelines that are undeniable to all players. Moreover, there are distinct rules that must be adhered to, in order to create a standard for all participants to follow.
However, there is one critical factor missing from e-sports that distinguish the games from ordinary sports. And that is any resemblance of physical activity and skill. There has been a longstanding debate regarding what specifically defines a sport. And if physical activity is a necessary factor, this could disqualify e-sports as an actual sport.
However, there are many other “sports” that are not as physical in nature as what we typically think of when using the term sports. For example, auto racing is widely considered a sport. When a big race takes place, the bleachers of the track of filled to capacity. The Daytona 500, Indy 500, and many other high-profile races, attract major attention from the sporting world. The sporting world follows closely, and bettors are welcome to place “sports bets” on their choice of competitors. Ultimately, the drivers are not truly using their physical skills as much as their stamina. There is no doubt that race car drivers put their bodies and minds through a great deal of pressure when participating in a race. But does driving truly measure the athletic abilities of the competitors?
Taking this theory even further, some consider darts, billiards, and even chess to be various forms of sports.Even poker can take a toll on the body, putting physical stress and stamina to the test over the course of a long tournament. These games are among some that are covered by ESPN on an ongoing basis, and they only serve to increase the long-standing debate of what specifically constitutes a sport.
The truth is that the definition of physical activity is subjective. Some might even consider golf to be more of a skill game than a sport, while others would quickly argue that a stronger player can obviously hit the ball further than others.
However in reality, it’s impossible to deny that a game that is played while sitting and barely even moving the human body, requires little physical abilities. This point holds even more truth when compared with standard sports, which require players to be in incredible physical shape in order to compete at the highest levels.
Does the definition of a sport require some form of physical ability and exertion? Or is the presence of a competitive spirit among participants, combined with the entertainment provided to spectators enough to qualify a game as a sport? In the end, the lack of objectivity on this topic makes this question nearly impossible to answer. It really comes down to each person’s perspective.