The students at ISU are being introduced to the gamer, a whole new kind of athlete. ESports already regard professional gamers as athletes and also sees that this brings a whole new meaning to how Iowa State’s eSports club sees athletes.
This is nothing new for ESports as it launched its first organized league of gamer athletes, in 2oo2. Thanks to the likes of YouTube and other websites that stream games to millions of viewers worldwide eSports has opened up a whole new range of sports and entertainment.
The athletes are professional gamers and the internet is their stadium. A recent article released by Polygom.com confirmed that there were 18 million people who tuned into the League of Legends All Star tournament in 2012 with this championship reaching the computer screens of over 8 million people worldwide.
Even with the rapid growth in popularity one question still remains, “Where do eSports stand with regards to gaming and traditional sports such as baseball or football?” The answer to this question is very different depending on who was asked. However, there is a common argument against eSports and this is that video gamers are lazy, or that video games are not physically active and therefore gaming can never be classed as a sport. Sport is active and played on a field as opposed to over the internet.
For all of those that don’t agree and do consider eSports to be a definite sport argue that the gamer is still part of a team competing against other teams competitively via a medium for enjoyment and competition. NASCAR is not what would be naturally considered as physically demanding, obviously there are skills to driving a car just as there are skills required to play League of Legends therefore neither are particularly physically demanding, yet NASCAR is still considered a sport. You get the idea?
In the same way football players practice on the sports fields, professional gamers also have to stick to their practice regime and this can take up to eight hours of their day. As you can see it is definitely not all fun and games! Practice for gamers sees them having to study their own matches as well as their opponent’s matches. They have to learn from their mistakes and learning about their opponent is a major way for them to formulate new tactics and strategies.
In the same way as any other athlete or team, professional gamers are offered generous sponsorships from many companies that have followed their performance online. For example, top grade professional footballer players are given a salary as recognition of their skill as a player and an incentive to give their very best performance when it comes to cash tournaments.
As technology continues to be a bigger part of our lives we will see eSports taking part in the Olympics. At this very time there is currently a movement that is trying to have the League of Legends and Star Craft 2 added into the 2020 Olympics.
As reality becomes more entangled with the digital world, a future where professional gamers are spoken of in the same way as the sporting greats Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan etc. Shortly, becoming a master of a video game will no longer be just a hobby it may become a really lucrative profession too, and it could be that before we know it there will be eSports teams competing all over the world without actually needing to leave their house. Just imagine how easy it would be to build a worldwide team of professional gamers without the overheads that a physical team would command.