Will we see gamers become the new rockstars?
This article is letter (E) of our “Culture” series where we write an article for each letter of the phrase. “Culture” examines how digital influences culture. Find links to more articles in the series below.
Move over sports. There’s a new rockstar in town and it’s called eSports. Contrary to the name, eSports have close to nothing in common with football, soccer, tennis, etc. eSports are competitive video games complete with cash prizes in the hundreds of thousands. Far from a fad, the sales numbers show gamer culture is just getting started.
Can Video Games Be Considered A “Sport?”
It’s the invisible elephant in the room – how did video games ever become a sport?
“I sure don’t feel like an athlete when I’m playing Candy Crush on my smartphone,” you, and hundreds of others, may think to yourself.
Whether you agree with it or not, the legitimacy of video games has been solidified by eSport tournaments selling out entire stadiums, professional teams, and millions of worldwide fans. On Debate.org, 66% of respondents say “Yes,” video gaming should be considered a sport. Here are a few examples of why they stand behind eSports:
- "If Chess is a Sport, why Aren't Video Games?… It requires strategy, is played worldwide, and is a competitive game. Those same principals can, and are - applied to video games."
- "If poker card games and chess both have the players sitting down and are considered sports, why not virtual gaming as well. There are two kinds of sports: one physical and one mental."
- "For starters, sports requires strategy, thought into each action, muscle memory, reflexes and reaction time, etc…. And to take into note that gaming is moving very quickly into Virtual Reality, which can put you into a world where you physically have to run, jump, crouch, reach and look at your surroundings in real life to achieve the same results in the game."
How Did eSports Become So Popular?
So when did video games, the stereotypically geek hobby, become the new worldwide sensation? Video games surpass the movie and music industry. In the words of VentureBeat, “It’s an eSports world, and we’re just living in it.”
The League of Legends championship alone pulled in 36 million daily views around the world. The eSports gaming market is estimated to grow to $1.1 billion by 2019. eSports are incredibly popular because audiences demand it:
“...audiences play such an integral role in esports — users choose these games in part because of the communities they’ve fostered. Without a community following, new esports titles will simply collect dust in the virtual corner of the game industry.”
Simply put, video games have intensely loyal fans and dedicated audience. Dedication naturally comes to gamers, completing one game can sometimes take hundreds of hours.
Why eSports Are Here To Stay
And that’s why eSports will be here to stay. Until audiences are tired of it, there is no logical reason to back down from giving the people what they want.
Not only do audiences like video games, they come close to being obsessed with their favorite video games. If spending the amount of hours it takes to complete a video game wasn’t enough, audiences will spend even more of their time with their favorite game.
There are whole conventions dedicated to certain games, online communities, fan art, livestreaming (when you’re not playing, you can watch someone else play), and more.
In the very near future, eSports tournaments will be taken to the next level by combining competitive gaming with Virtual Reality. This will add another layer of immersion and intensity gamers will be excited to explore.
While not a physical sport, eSports definitely can be counted a sport in the same category as chess and poker. More exercises of the mind than flexing of the muscles. Esports has it’s devoted audience to thank for its rise and continuation into the future. As followers of VR, we can’t wait to see how gamer communities and eSport tournaments will incorporate it. Will you plan on buying a ticket to join thousands of others cheering in the stadium crowd for an eSports tournament?
This article is part of our “Culture” series where we write an article for each letter of the phrase. “Culture” examines how digital influences culture.
Click below to read more articles in the “Culture” series: