GT Explains: What are eSports and How Do They Differ from Regular Sports

Chaitanya Tapase

Think Sports. And you’ll naturally think of strapping athletes with excellent stamina and a lean, well-maintained body with toned muscles. That’s not what you’d see in an eSport, though. Detractors have always used this argument of ‘not being physical enough’ to be defined as a sport. While defenders of the term say that both need training, strategizing, teamwork and good reflexes.

eSports has spectators like regular sports | Shutterstock
eSports has spectators like regular sports | Shutterstock

So, what is it, then? Is eSports really a sport?

Type of Physical Activity

eSport is traditionally a bunch of amateurs or pros trying to outdo each other in a video game of their choice. It could be in a small group of only 3 players or a much larger clan, but both sides need to have an equal number of players. Individuals also match each other to be named champion, but the biggest difference between traditional sport and eSports is the physical activity.

Stop being mean, girl!
Stop being mean, girl!

Sure, you can say that there is hardly any physical activity in any eSport. To which gamers will reply, have you even seen Curling? Since we aren’t really Sports Psychologists, let’s just stick to what we know. Even though I’d personally prefer traditional sports to eSports, we can’t dismiss them on the basis of not being ‘physical enough’; especially since both have more similarities than differences.

Even a big player like ESPN had trouble convincing people initially that it makes good sense to have an all-sports channel. So why wouldn’t the acceptance of eSports be any different?

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Appreciate Differences Rather Than Fighting Them

It took almost a hundred years for a fully fledged NHL team to go from being part of World War I to being recognized globally and their players enjoying multi-million dollar deals. On the other hand, eSports has transitioned from obscurity to the limelight in less than 20 years. These include TV deals, live exhibitions and revenue earnings from $200 to 600+ million. Just for 2015.

Gulp! Source: superdataresearch.com
Gulp! That’s just ONE continent! Source: superdataresearch.com

While you catch your breath after reading about the kind of money involved in eSports, let me also point out that it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. How could it be, with so much money, there are (you guessed it) so many problems.

Shady Deals

A recent ESL scandal highlighted that a prominent player admitting that he was doping. He also went on to say that “.. we were all on Adderall.” There’s also been plenty of online gambling and match-fixing scandals that have emerged from the shadows of eSports, plus some high-tech ones. Like the use of ‘Hacks’ to make ‘Aimbots’ which identify and destroy enemy troops, giving an unfair advantage to the players who used them sneakily.

black-and-white-people-bar-men

Do these make eSport not really a sport? Well, if that’s the whole argument then Tom Brady isn’t much of a footballer and really, is Football really a sport? I’ll let you decide that.

Life’s Mantra is in Balance

As cliched as it may sound, but a good combination of stimulating online games and physically exhausting sports is what the coming generations need. If you have opinions contrary to these, do share them in our forums.

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Chaitanya Tapase has varied interests in Technology from Android to Windows to DSLR Photography. On weekends, you'd find him catching up on TV Shows like Game of Thrones and enjoying House Music.