10 Reasons Why Esports Should Be Considered Sports

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Esports, short for "electronic sports," refers to competitive video gaming. Teams or individuals compete against each other in multiplayer video games, often in professional tournaments with significant prize money at stake. While esports has exploded in popularity in recent years, there is still debate about whether competitive gaming truly constitutes a "sport." Below are ten compelling reasons why esports meets the definition of a sport and should be regarded as such.

1. Esports Requires Strategy and Game Intelligence

Like traditional sports, esports demands strategic thinking, planning, and in-game intelligence to outmaneuver the opposing team. Teams study their opponents, analyze statistics, and develop game plans before matches. Coaches are often involved to help players execute team strategies and adjust approaches during a game. For example, Valorant teams can call two timeouts during the buy phase to tweak strategies with their coach. This level of strategic gameplay mirrors traditional sports like football or basketball.

2. It Involves Intense Teamwork and Communication

Most popular esports titles involve coordinated team play. For example, League of Legends teams have players in different positions like top laner, jungler, or support who must work together towards destroying the opposing team’s nexus. Teammates communicate constantly using built-in ping systems to signal directions or warnings. The need for precise teamwork and communication among esports teams mirrors demands in traditional team sports.

3. The Competition Level is Immensely High

Top esports tournaments like DOTA 2’s The International boast record-high prize pools up to $40 million, attracting the best talent worldwide. Players compete intensely not just for money but legacy and bragging rights within the gaming community. Trash talking and rivalries fuel the competitive fire, much like traditional sports. Only the most skilled, determined and mentally tough make it to the top level.

10 Reasons Why Esports Should Be Considered Sports

4. Physical Fitness is Paramount

Contrary to stereotypes, esports athletes require immense physical fitness to compete at the highest level. According to studies, pro gamers can perform up to 400 movements per minute and reach heart rates over 180 BPM. Top players follow intense physical training regimens including weight lifting, cardio and specialized exercises to boost stamina and reaction time. Fitness provides gamers with competitive advantages similar to traditional sports.

5. It Demands Extensive, Rigorous Practice

Becoming an esports pro takes years of dedication and rigorous practice. According to Intel, players follow strict training schedules for 8 hours a day or more, including team scrimmages, individual skill sharpening and physical training. Such demanding regimens weed out those lacking motivation and commitment – hallmarks of competitive sport. Longevity is also an issue; most players retire professionally before age 30 due to declining reaction times.

6. Focus on Holistic Wellbeing

Progressive esports organizations provide athletes access to physical trainers, sports psychologists, massage therapists, nutritionists and more. This focus on holistic wellbeing across mental and physical realms mirrors support structures offered in traditional pro sports. Access to these resources allows players to optimize performance and cope with immense pressures during high-stakes competitions.

7. Quick Decision Making Under Pressure

Like traditional sports, esports requires making crucial strategic decisions under extreme time pressure. A wrong split-second decision can make the difference between winning a million dollar tournament and going home empty handed. Top players combine quick critical thinking ability with sheer instinct to make the right moves. This mirrors sports like fencing or wrestling where choices must be made rapidly.

10 Reasons Why Esports Should Be Considered Sports

8. Creativity and Problem Solving are Vital

To gain advantages in esports, one must solve strategic problems with creativity and imagination. Due to vast experience against global competition, elite gamers have seen countless play styles and in-game challenges. They make innovations to tactically outmaneuver any opponent. This ability to creatively problem solve by leveraging experiences makes esports akin to traditional sports.

9. Promotes Social Interaction and Bonding

Part of sports’ appeal comes from the social bonding platform it provides for fans and players. Similarly, esports nurtures relationships and interactivity among its over 215 million global fans. Platforms like Twitch enable fans across geographies to closely engage with popular gamers and each other. The vibrant community surrounding esports mirrors traditional major sports leagues.

10. Many Countries Officially Classify It As Sport

Ultimately, whether an activity constitutes a "sport" depends on recognition from authorities. As of 2023, major countries like the United States, China, South Korea, Germany, Russia and others formally classify esports as sports. Players apply for athletic visas and enjoy legal status as professional athletes. The broad recognition of global sporting bodies provides legitimacy to esports as more than just casual gaming.

What about arguments that video games can’t be sports?

Some still dismiss esports as lacking sufficient physicality or organization to be true sports, like Swedish and UK authorities. However, modern esports has evolved with significant athletic components involving intense hand-eye coordination, reaction times and mental stamina on par with many traditional sports. The establishment of structured leagues and tournaments with official rules and refereeing also legitimizes esports.

10 Reasons Why Esports Should Be Considered Sports

Which games are most physically demanding on players?

Some of the most notoriously intense esports titles include the first-person shooters Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant. These games require lightning quick reactions and precise mouse movements to out-aim opponents. They can physically and mentally drain players after long competitive sessions – much like a grueling basketball match would.

Why take esports seriously as an industry and culture?

Competitive gaming has evolved into more than just casual entertainment. The professional scene demands just as much skill, determination and preparation as traditional sports. Gamers form meaningful social connections and learn valuable mindsets like resilience through esports. It drives technological innovations and the gaming industry forward. And with its soaring popularity plus recognition from authorities, esports deserves acknowledgement as a legitimate sporting profession.

In summary, esports shares too many hallmarks of organized competitive sport – athleticism, training rigors, high stakes, spectatorship – not to be considered one. As gaming technology and culture continue advancing, arguments against classifying esports as an official sporting activity will hold less and less weight. Much like rock music evolved from rebellious fad into respected art form with lasting impact, competitive gaming continues positively transforming mainstream perceptions of what defines a "sport" for modern digital eras.

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