While video gaming is gaining popularity in the entertainment industry as the best past time activity, it is also emerging as the identity of passionate and gaming. With the increased usage of iphones and easily accessible Internet, the industry of Esports has seen an upsurge in the last few years. Esports are simply defined as video games that are played on a professional and competitive level among some of the professional and highly-trained gamers. When video game has made its space as a professional Esport, there is still this debate whether video gaming is the same as any other sport like basketball, football, cricket among others.

 Video games are more than virtual gaming

It is an incomplete idea that video gaming does not involve any physical exertion, mental ability, competition and fandom. Video gaming involves a lot of mental focus and responsiveness to coordinate with what is happening on the screen and what buttons to press on the remote. It also needs coordination with the teammate if it is a multi-player game. It involves physical exertion, though not as high as in basketball or football. Continuous sitting on a chair for a marathon gaming session, pressing the buttons or joysticks for a long time naturally strains and fatigues the body.

Key Takeaways:

  • Video gaming is gaining popularity not only as a hobby but as a professional activity.
  • Video games are part of Esports that are played on competitive levels and involve highly-trained professional gamers.
  • However, the debate about whether video game should be considered a sport or not continues.
  • Does the definition of “sport” need to be changed?
  • Or is there a need for more awareness about e-sport?

The competitive spirit in video games is always high. Competition is the driving force that clashes some of the best gamers across an area. Even when video games are played on the individual level, the competition with the virtual player keeps the game on and interesting. As far as the fandom is concerned, it cannot be denied how the popularity of virtual games like PUBG, MPL has taken over the online world. Besides, according to research by Inc.com, on an average young gamer of age 18 to 25 are spending an average of three hours and 25 minutes each week watching other people play video games online. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal in the year 2018, the e-sports tournaments and live streams drew 258 million unique visitors. The popularity of video gaming gives an edge to gaming enthusiasts to pursue and be successful in something that they are passionate about.

“I don’t think it is a sport. It lacks tangible activity, contact with the real world. It does not provide the space to learn team spirit and binds everything to the remote control.”

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Why does the debate still continue?

The major reason for the continuation of this debate is the definition of the term “sports.” Conventionally, it is believed that “sports” refers to a game that involves first, extensive physical and mental activity, lots of practice, the competition of a high level, a cheering audience. India, for example, is crazy about cricket but this craziness is to see the match and their favourite players on the field. This fandom will completely face away if they are suddenly told that cricket is only a video game and can be enjoyed only through a screen. Sports are generally described by the open field, the competitive environment and a throbbing crowd cheering their favourite team. Does video game fit in this description of “sport”? Or do we need to change the definition or at least make sports more inclusive?

Another hindrance in connecting video games as a sport is the idea that video games take over and devalued the field sports, in exactly the same way how technology has taken over the ground reality. Besides, debates on video games are divided into these two perspectives- one as a hobby or a past-time activity and other as a sport for the highly trained and professional gamers. There are still many other reasons to consider video gaming as “sport” or not. So, SheThePeople approached the millennials to get their opinion on this debate and catch a glimpse of the debate.

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Pankaj Kumar who is a student and an emerging entrepreneur says videos games cannot be considered as a sport as it does not involve any physical activity. It cannot even be counted under the competitive indoor games like table tennis which are sports since it involves physical exertion and competition.

Similarly, Nidhi Kumar, 2nd Year BA LLB student and a gaming enthusiast agree that video games are not sports. The dictionary defines sports as involving physical exertion and video games do not have any.

Focussing on the online aspect of video gaming, Titiksha Kashyap, an IIMC student, says “I guess no. What good are video games doing? Making kids lazy, increasing violence as one recent survey suggests, making kids isolate themselves. There should be major reconsideration about video games.”

Adding to this Muskan, MA English student in DU, says, “I don’t think it is a sport. It lacks tangible activity, contact with the real world. It does not provide the space to learn team spirit and binds everything to the remote control.”

On the other hand, shifting the narrative towards the possibility of considering video game as a sport, Aashima, student of MA English in DU, says, “Yes, they can be considered as a sport as they initiate competition among the players. However, they are indoor sports which lead to inactivity among the players. It is a virtual environment which hinders the scope of physical activity.” Perhaps video games are sports but not true “sports” because they are based on technology which does not allow human emotions to tackle the situation.

Video games are part of Esports that are played on competitive levels and involve highly-trained professional gamers.

Overturning the argument and giving a conclusion to it, Tauseef, students of BA Hons. English in DU and a gaming enthusiast says, “Video gaming is already a recognised sport, or rather an e-sport. Professional organisations like Indian Gaming Communities have increased since the popularity of PUBG. They look for good players, sign contracts and invite them at their boot camps where they are trained, providing proper lodging. And then they play in e-sports. I think people who disagree with video games as sports lack awareness about the importance and recognition of e-sport. Perhaps, this is what we need to talk more about.”

Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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