…Consider yourself lucky if you’re ufamiliar with both terms.
I’m pretty sure those of you who played video games in the 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s never imagined someone would seriously make a Pro League for Gamers. That’s exactly what happened starting about 5 years ago with the founding of Major League Gaming (MLG): It’s an organization where gamers or a team of gamers compete against each other for money. The top teams have won five and six-figure amounts of money over the years though the largest payout ever happened earlier this year at $1 Million.
Before folks start rushing to give their bosses their 2-weeks notice, MLG is strictly limited to a handful of games: League of Legends, Call of Duty, StarCraft II, Halo, Super Smash Bros. and as of this year Heroes of the Storm. If you don’t already play one of these games, don’t quit your day job: It takes alot of time, effort and dedication to become an MLG Competator. It’s not something anyone can just pick up just like Pro Sports.
This brings me to the term “eSport”, which is the term used to describe gamers who play in the Pro Leagues and their fans. We’ve come a long way from the days of being huddled around Arcade Machines waiting our turn to get owned by the best player we knew: Harvard, MIT and Boston University are some of a handful of schools now offering scholarships to people who play video games. You read that right. Yes, society is starting to smile at Gamers. It’s been a long time coming!
That said, I view video games the same saw I vew NASCAR, Poker, Chess and Golf: Niche recreational past times but not sports. Let’s see what Meriam Webster has to say about the word “Sport”:
: to wear (something) in a way that attracts attention
: a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other
: sports in general
…We’re focusing on the definition of the word used as a noun. Note the parts I bolded. Does playing video games fit this criteria? No, it does not. Hence, it should NOT be considered a sport any more than the 4 examples I gave. The reason: The lack of the physical component. There is little to no physical exertion when you play video games. I have no problem putting that out there having played video games since I was 3.
The definition of eSports aside, there are already valid concerns capitalism will come in, take over and regulate everything. In fact, it’s already happening: Celebrities have been used in ads to promote new video games in the last few years. I’m of the strong belief capitalism and elitist gamers have hijacked the video game industry in general. All this talk of MLG being in talks with ESPN sets a very dangerous precident for your average gamer regardless of weather they are hardcore or casual. That said, eSports is a branding. Nothing more, nothing less.
The last few years have seen older consoles–specifically those from the late 80s to early 2000s–beginning to make a comeback. The rewnewed interest has alot of factors of course. The main one is the desire to just play video games that were never re-released, remade or ported to newer consoles. Many games that fit this criteria are part of a series and gamers want to play the older games in the series.
Getting back to the main point, MLG and eSports will do more harm than good in the end. If you just play video games for fun, all the more reason to look at MLG and eSports with at least a little bit of skepticism. Nothing wrong with competition but 9 of of 10 times, these leagues and organizations decide who’s in and who makes money. It’s as simple as that.