A crowd watches an eSports competition. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Opinion

Opinion: Playing video games should be considered a sport

Esport competitors undergo training similar to sports players before a competition.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/yenbianca/" target="_self">Bianca Yen</a>

Bianca Yen

April 20, 2022
Recently, video games have started to trend tremendously due to the fact that many people have been cooped up at home due to quarantine. With the newfound love of video games, Esports, which is short for electronic sports, is a competition in video games that has increased in popularity. One of the most famous Esport venues is Esports Stadium Arlington in Arlington, Texas. Despite its growing popularity, many people question whether Esports should be considered a sport at all.

I personally believe that Esports should be considered a sport because Esport competitors undergo training similar to sports players before a competition. These Esport players have athletic ability, physical fitness, large arenas to compete in and go through intense physical training, just like athletic sports players do.

During their training, the physical demands of Esport are just the same as athletes. According to Exercise Right, the amount of stress hormone that is going through the players during competition matches race car drivers’ stress hormones. Also, during an intense game, their heart rates can reach about 160-180 beats per minute, which is equivalent to a heart rate while running, according to DW.

The word “sport” brings up the ideas of competition, wins and losses. According to iD Tech, in Esports, professional game players play against other players in competitions where they either achieve victory or loss. The first video game tournament was in 1972, according to NBC News.

A modern Esports event often occurs at a stadium where the players are on stage and the gameplay is shown in big scenes for the audience to watch. Some current games that have Esports are Valorant, League of Legends and Dota 2. These stadium games are just as loud and rowdy as any sports event.

Of course, many people may still not consider Esports a sport because they think video games are similar to board games. However, unlike a board game, video game players need really good coordination to strike at the perfect time, more like an athlete on the field.

For example, video game players need to react to what they see. In the game Valorant, players need to quickly shoot at the opponent team right when they see their enemies. Just like traditional sports, they also need the same coordination that is needed to catch or kick a ball. Board games do not require coordination as people just play and then wait for their turn, so video games are clearly not like board games.

During their many competitions, they also have fans attending their competitions. Just like traditional sports, Esports fans are just as supportive and loyal to their teams. According to Syracuse University, Esports fans are continuously growing; there are about 84 million viewers of Esports, which is higher than the 79 million MLB viewers and the 63 million NBA viewers.

Clearly, traditional sports and Esports are similar in so many ways that Esports should be considered a sport.