Is it possible to classify video games as a sport?
Video games should, in fact, be classified as a sport. Video games and the playing of them are rooted in competition, involve athletic talent, necessitate preparation and physical exercise, take place in stadiums, and are cheered on by passionate fans.
Let’s start by pitting the concept against some of the most defining adjectives that come to mind when considering the definition of “sport”—competition, entertainment, and athletic ability.
Take a look at how those terms stack up when you compare video games to them.
Competition, victories, and defeats
This is, in my opinion, one of the easiest issues to show. Competition is a fundamental principle of any sport. In order to win, a team or individual competes against another team or individual.
We are surrounded by competition…
Even Monopoly is competitive (to the extent that friends become rivals and family members become enemies!).
As a result, it’s not a leap to call video games competitive. There will be competition in any form of video game, but notably in those where players compete against one another. You’re still competing even if you’re alone and playing a campaign against simulated competition in the shape of a computer, right?
What distinguishes Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson from other athletes? Both were professional football and baseball players who excelled in both sports.
My point is that outstanding athletes may be found all around us. However, many of those athletes excel only in the sport in which they have achieved professional success. If you put a professional basketball player on a baseball diamond, you should expect hilarity.
When you consider that each activity – and even each position within a sport – necessitates a unique set of athletic abilities, who’s to say that video game playing isn’t just another form of athletic ability?
A quarterback’s skill set is vastly different from that of a wide receiver. In baseball, the ability of a pitcher vs that of a shortstop is the same.
Physical activity is important.
Many people who do not consider video games to be sports have most likely never experienced a marathon gaming session. Their video game experiences have most likely consisted of sitting in couches or lounge chairs and occasionally playing a game when bored.
Physical exercise and the resulting strain, on the other hand, are real for professional players. There is a lot of button pressing and joystick movement going on. Is it as physically demanding as 90 minutes of jogging up and down a soccer field? Obviously not. It’s a shorter burst of action that takes place in a much smaller space or “playing field,” but it’s still physical activity.
Stadiums, fields, and arenas; fans and entertainment
It’s usual to see arenas packed to the gills, full of fans who are attending to show their support for their favourite gamers, in what is typically a scenario reserved for something like a Golden State Warriors basketball game.
More than 173,000 people turned out to see the 2017 World Championship in Katowice, Poland…
There were 100,000 more people in attendance for the Super Bowl that year than there were for the previous year’s game.
Consider the at-home audience—for the above-mentioned event, 46 million unique online viewers were there. It’s also been reported that young players between the ages of 18 and 25 spend an average of 3 hours and 25 minutes online watching others play video games.