Gaming is often associated with hardcore geeks spending half of their lives locked up in their rooms. And yet this unique activity can be considered a sport! Why? And what has changed in gaming in recent years? Let’s find out!

Contrary to the disciplines we know from the Olympics, playing video games is relatively new. The first esports competition took place in 1972, followed by another — already on a large scale — Space Invaders Championship in 1980. Since then, gaming competition has developed regarding audience size, equipment advancement, and the number of players. So we can now enjoy esports championships on a gigantic scale. But is joyful keyboard clicking a sport? And can gamers be considered athletes? After all, there is no sweat, muscle power exercises, or physical fitness. To solve this mystery once and for all, let’s answer some crucial questions about the rise of esports!

Is Gaming a Sport?

The definition of sport is any physical activity that contributes to the development of the bodily and mental condition, the growth of social relationships, or the achievement of results. As we all know, gaming has little to do with regular physical activity.

After all, it’s just sitting in front of a computer or console. But is it? As it turns out, the typical day of professional esports players is almost as rigorous as that of athletes. Participants in online competitions must maintain a healthy diet to stay alert. They practice specific control patterns or movements to improve muscle memory and tire less during official games. It is also vital to practice team cooperation and learn from mistakes by following records from previous competitions. It’s hard work that has nothing to do with lazy keyboard clicking. Plus, there are tremendously valuable prizes – Dota 2 International reached a whopping $40 million prize pool in 2021!

Dota 2, 2021 Prize Pool, Image credit:

The Pros and Cons of Gaming as a Sport

Like every life area, gaming has its benefits and weaknesses – especially as a sport. It turns out that if gaming was officially adopted as a sport worldwide, it could provoke new changes – regarding kids and adults. So what are they? Among the best pros in gaming as a sport, you can find improved hand-eye coordination. It is the basis of playing video games, constantly practiced by all players. Gaming also gives you increased attention and boosts your decision-making. And during the pandemic, we all discovered that gaming is one of the best ways to have fun together at a distance. So it can serve as a meeting tool.

Unfortunately, it also has some groundbreaking flaws. Playing for too long can cause muscle aches, sleeping troubles, or an aversion to physical exercise. Combined with an incorrect and lazy diet, gaming as a sport could do more harm than good. In this category, a lot depends on the strong will of the player, so professional esports players who combine physical activity with gaming can be a great authority. But kids may not have as much power over themselves, which can quickly lead to disorder or harmful addiction.

Why Some People Think Gaming Should be a Sport

Video games require constant skill training, team cooperation, and exceptional focus. Also, they earn more money and get more viewers than some professional sports like the NFL or MLB. Gaming is no longer just a fun activity for an afternoon after school – esports are growing in popularity and provoking goals like all other sports.

Video credit: Youtube (BobYoMeowMeow)

The Different Types of Gamers

This category can be vital in deciding whether gaming is a sport. Imagine a professional runner going for a run. His goal is to stay fit, achieve specific training objectives and become better and better at what he does. Now, imagine an ordinary person going for a run. In this case, the purposes are almost identical but on a slightly smaller scale, including the desire to lose weight. The path to these goals leads through physical and mental effort and outstanding dedication.

The goals of professional esports players are very similar. They want to win by staying in shape, healthy, and focused. What about non-professional gamers? Well, here we can find all examples of approaches to playing a game. Some may want to have fun, others desire to win, and the rest do it for companionship in multiplayer. But what about recreational players? Can this approach to video games still be called a sport? Even playing the piano is not, although some sonatas can push humans to the limits of physical and mental endurance. So it’s rather hard to say if amateur players play sports. At first glance – not so much

Does playing video games make you a better athlete?

As strange as it may be, the answer is yes! It does not apply to professional athletes from elite leagues like the NFL, NBA, or FIFA. But casual players can boost their athletic skills by playing games. Many interactive or simulation titles require knowledge of rules and hand-eye coordination. Even the most easygoing gameplay supports strategic thinking and cooperation with the team, which can result in many benefits in real life. So if you want to get better at your favorite game, check out the best sports games to improve your skills even in your spare time.

How does the gaming industry compare to traditional sports?

We can find the answer hidden in this question, as traditional sports is precisely that word – tradition. The rules have been known for hundreds of years, there is no need to change them, and the only difference is new records. Whether it’s running races, soccer, or javelin throwing, they’ve been the same since the dawn of time. Meanwhile, the gaming industry is constantly evolving. As a new area of life, it experiences constant changes, breakthroughs, and improvements. Even professional esports competitions can alter their rules over time, especially since a lot depends on the available equipment or new games released.

Why is there a growing interest in competitive gaming?

You can follow it just like traditional sports and have a lot of fun watching the struggles of your favorite team. But you can also play it yourself to explore the other side of this coin. Nothing prevents you from buying the title of your favorite team to engage in fantastic competitive play in similar locations and using similar strategies. Moreover, the latest video games come out in increasingly better quality, guaranteeing a realistic viewing and gameplay experience. All this brings new options to participate in competitions, prepare them, finance, manage and, in general, create new career opportunities.

Even the most casual player can become a gaming star if the audience likes his Twitch streams. So why is competitive gaming so popular? For two reasons – it is more accessible and creates new opportunities to earn big money.

Are video games a sport? – Summary

Not yet. But there are more and more signs that they may soon become. Gaming is still quite an exotic form of entertainment, almost unknown to older generations. Sports TV stations still broadcast traditional sports. Meanwhile, websites like YouTube and Twitch flourish thanks to the complex work of professional and amateur players.

Esports teams make millions of dollars, fans follow every tournament, and streamers become more famous than aging Hollywood stars. The gaming industry promises breakthroughs, changes, and profits – even if it never becomes a sport, it will always thrive. So it’s better to keep a finger on the pulse because the future of gaming means a noticeable change in the understanding of already known definitions.