Credit : Patrick Hopp

Should Competitive Gaming Be a Sport?

Competitive gamers nowadays can get paid up to six figures from a base salary. Isn’t it incredible how they get paid to play? I believe that competitive gaming should be considered a sport because the amount of audiences that it brings as well as having a big competitive pool. Most people think competitive gamers are just people who play games and that anyone could be a competitive gamer. But, in reality they do so much more behind the screen. Ever since I got exposed to video games at an early age, I have been quite involved with the gaming world. It has always been fascinating for me to watch how competitive gamers take gaming to a whole new level. There are so many preparations that players have to go through before a major event. People can argue that many other activities can be considered a sport but the fact that competitive gaming is starting to bloom shows that many people have a strong passion for it. The amount of audience attending each event and the amount of money that goes into each event shows how popular competitive gaming can be.

Growing up, I have always hopped on the computer right away after coming back from school. Turning on the computer is probably the first thing I would do right when I come back home. I have been a pretty big gaming fanatic growing up and love to watch people play. Watching people play teaches me new skills that other players are using and how I can learn and apply them to my own gameplay. It got to the point where I got pretty good at a certain game and it was at the time where many people knew about the game. I got so good at it that people wanted me to play on their accounts so that they could reach a certain milestone. But, in exchange, they would pay me as a service because it would take a lot of time and effort. The fact that people were paying me to play meant that I was capable of doing something that they weren’t able to accomplish. The fact that I became an expert at that game showed how all of my hard work had paid off. All of the sleepless night practicing a single skill set and all of the sleepless nights watching other people play had finally paid off. My friends were surprised to see that I was able to gain profit from gaming because they didn’t think that it was possible to do. This experience opened a whole field of opportunity that I could have taken to further expand my competitive gaming experience. Although, it is extremely competitive, It is what makes it a true sport.

Gaming has become a famous activity for many teenagers today as we become more exposed to technology as we grow up. Although, people may argue that gaming can’t be a sport because you don’t gain any money from it. They are incorrect because of the many opportunities that gamers can do to obtain money. Whether it be from streaming, sponsoring companies or making YouTube videos, gamers have many ways to make money. According to Alan Feuer, the author of “Grooming the Champions of the Keyboard” , competitive players are usually well paid. Alan Feuer argues that “his team’s top stars earned annual base salaries “well into six figures.” Seeing how competitive players can be paid in six figures shows the eligibility to play games for a living. If you are getting paid that much, it should definitely be a sport. The amount of money that people are willing to put into a major league event shows how big the gaming community is. Not only are they getting a base salary but they are also receiving product endorsements as well as earning from tournaments. For example, a recent competition event was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the first place team will take home a $1 million dollar prize pool. Not many sports out there can do this. The fact that players get picked up when they are young shows how relatable it can be to any other sport. To see that a young prodigy is good at something, companies will pick them up and help them advance to hit their full potential. The amount of intensive training that gamers go through is just the same as a competitive eater if not harder.

Credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Some may wonder how hard can pro gaming really be for it to be a sport? It is all about performance when it comes to gaming. If you don’t perform in the game, you will lose. Some pro teams have special analyst who comes in to see players behaviors when they are stressed. According to Conor Dougherty, author of “№1 With a Bullet: ‘Nadeshot’ Becomes a Call of Duty Star” he argues that not many pro players are taught to sit in front of millions and perform well under pressure. Dougherty states that “he had hired a Red Bull sports technologist to see how his brain functioned under the stress of video game combat.” To the extent that a professional sports therapist had to be hired to help players perform well in a large audience shows how stressful it can be. Not everyone is able to perform well over a hundred thousands viewers. This can easily be related to swimmers and how companies hire dietitians to help their swimmers eat healthy so that they have as little body fat as possible but still retaining muscle. As for a gamer’s perspective, they need to learn how to eat healthy as well or they will be unable to focus in game. Dougherty states “ Over the next several days, he and his fellow players gave blood while riding stationary bicycles, had their brains mapped by a computer and attended an hourlong yoga class where they learned, among other things, how to stretch their throbbing wrists.” With all these technology and trainers used to assist players, it can be shown that competitive players take gaming to a whole new level. Some may argue that competitive gaming is more stressful than majority of the sports today.

In conclusion, competitive gaming has evolved drastically over the years. It comes to a point where even retired NBA players are putting money into professional gaming teams because they believe that it is a true sport. Esports also known as electronic sport is becoming the next big thing in the online gaming community. The locations that tournaments are held are proven to show that large audiences are constantly attending to see these gameplays. Although, there will be critics who say that competitive gaming is not a sport because it doesn’t fit the definition of a sport. Though that may be half true, they have to understand that gaming involves a lot of mental thinking. A sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion but the fact that gamers use all types of mental effort can be the same as physical exertion. The hand to eye coordination and fast reaction is all part of mental exertion. Therefore, I believe competitive gaming should be considered a sport based on all the aspects that it takes to become a professional gamer.

Work Citations

Feuer, Alan. “Grooming the Champions of the Keyboard.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Sept. 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Dougherty, Conor. “№1 With a Bullet: ‘Nadeshot’ Becomes a Call of Duty Star.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

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