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I know of eSports, but I've never watched a competition. I don't know how the tournaments are setup or the requirements for the competitions either. So if there are any eSports fans reading this, please put in your 2 cents and let me know your opinion.
From the numerous eSports articles I've glanced over, I've seen plenty of comments over the years from people saying that it shouldn't be called "sports" and the players in these competitions shouldn't be called athletes. Now to reference a few of these articles:
Back in 2013, the US State Department officially recognized competitive gaming as a professional sport:

The official League of Legends eSports tournament League Championship Series has been recognized as a fully professional sport by the U.S. State Department.
For the first time, players from outside the United States can move to the U.S. under specific visas, which are provided for pro sports players coming to America to work. Previously, overseas LCS players had to go through a complicated series of applications to play professionally in the United States.

Source: http://www.polygon.com/2013/7/12/4518936/competitive-gaming-recognized-in-u-s-as-a-pro-sport
And as of yesterday, Robert Morris University Illinois will be the first college in North America to offer scholarships to League of Legends players just like they would offer scholarships to athletes that play basketball or football.

CHICAGO - Robert Morris University Illinois is pleased to announce the addition of an online sport to its athletic program. Commonly referred to as eSports, the activity consists of organized video game competitions. Specifically, RMU students will compete in League of Legends, one of the largest and most popular eSport games. Although eSports have long been a part of the culture of gaming, competitions have seen a large surge in popularity in recent years. Robert Morris University recognizes the value and legitimacy of eSports and is excited to add eSports to its already rich athletic program.

Associate Athletic Director Kurt Melcher states, "Robert Morris University has always been at the forefront of providing opportunities for a diverse student population with different interests and skills. League of Legends is a competitive, challenging game which requires significant amount of teamwork to be successful."

Robert Morris University is in the process of recruiting students for the first year of competition, beginning with the fall quarter in September, 2014. RMU will join the Collegiate Star League, made up of 103 institutions of higher learning and compete against other universities including Arizona State, George Washington and Harvard. Significantly, Robert Morris University is among the first in the nation to offer substantial scholarships for members of the first RMU Varsity eSport League of Legends team. Qualified gamers can earn scholarships of up to 50% tuition and 50% room and board.

Currently there are over 750 schools in 46 states and eight Canadian provinces that participate in League of Legends High School Starleague (HSL). Robert Morris University seeks eSport athletes with experience in the HSL or similar for their inaugural competitive season. Teams in the Collegiate Starleague compete for Riot's North American Collegiate Championship and $100,000 in scholarship money. Qualification to the event can be obtained through league play or through the North American Collegiate Open tournament.

Source: http://kotaku.com/league-of-legends-is-turning-into-an-actual-college-spo-1593193021

What do you guys think.. are these players professional athletes? Obviously the competitions have some damn good prize money and these competitors have to put in some serious training time to improve their gaming.. But these people are not playing a physical sport and it reminds me of how others still debate whether chess is a sport or not. So.. is "eSports" an actual professional competition of all online games or is it limited to just large game companies and organizations offering prizes for a limited selection of titles? Could eSports also include online chess or poker competitions? Could those individuals also be considered athletes? I'm currently leaning towards the opposite view. Sure there is some time and effort put into the online competition, but I don't think that people who professionally play Madden online should be considered athletes just like the physical players in the NFL. I'm just not seeing it.


There are two other things eSports reminds me of. The movie Gamer, which, if you haven't seen yet, I do recommend it because it does have a level of competitive gaming in it. I don't consider the one character in it to be an athlete at all.. he plays a game well and reaps the benefits of being popular for it. I suppose that could be said for any professional athlete out there, but for eSports, it makes me believe that anyone could technically be a professional in any eSports game as long as you put the time into it.. like this professional World of Warcraft player from South Park:




It makes me think of all those 100 star Colonials from Battlefield.. are the majority of professional gamers young kids with no jobs, social life or school? With me being outside of the loop of eSports, that is the general image I have in my mind. Perhaps I'm wrong, but most of the pictures I've seen of professional gamers are young adults that look like they just entered highschool.


Also, now that I mentioned South Park.. could playing video games professionally lead to other claims besides being called athletes? There is a clip in this South Park episode where Kyle is offered a job as a musician because he plays Guitar Hero professionally and he could entertain people with his gameplay.. go to the 13 minute mark:




What do you guys think about eSports?


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eSporters are not athletes. I'd categorize them in what ever category you'd put chess players, spelling bee contestants, World Poker Tournament players, and Magic The Gathering/Pokemon/ETC tournament players. They definietly have a skill, but they mentally expend themselves rather than psychically.


Its one of those tricky things. I can go with calling it a sport, but I can't call its participants athletes.


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Video Games aren't art unless they have to be as a sense of free speech or a slang term for a Linear Game.
Video Games aren't like movies because they tend to focus more on gameplay than an actual story.
Video Games aren't "something more" because most would limit it to the aspect that would cut out simulations.
But are Video Games a Sport?
Well they could be. But those types of games would require motion controls. And we all know how much most Video Gamers hate motion controls. So, no, eSports as most Video Gamers would like them to be can't be a sport. If anything they're less of a Sport than "Sports Entertainment". And nowhere near as athletic.
Also Video Games could still be a place to learn how to play instruments like Guitar if you're referring to something like RockSmith. But no if you're referring to something like Guitar Hero.

Those who fight deplorables should see to it that they themselves do not become deplorables.

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It sounds like DOTA 2 is having one of the biggest tournaments ever.. $10 million in prizes.. I wonder how many people will watch these live games and how the hell do these tournament organizers raise this much prize money. It blows my mind away that people can make more money playing this game than professional sports athletes.




Live stream:




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The so called eSports athletes in a spelling bee. I can hear one of the judges now.
"I'm sorry but the word gay isn't spelled G H E Y."

Those who fight deplorables should see to it that they themselves do not become deplorables.

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