Esports have been gaining more and more popularity among gamers, spectators, and society in general over the past few years. However, there is still a large section of society that oppose the inclusion of esports in the Olympics. This is mainly due to an increasing lack of understanding about what esports actually is. To many people, it may seem like just another form of video gaming and not an actual sport.
Despite the growth in popularity and acceptance from some traditional sports organizations and leagues, there remains a significant amount of opposition to its inclusion in the Olympic Games or other major sporting events. People against esports’ inclusion give several reasons for their opposition: it’s too violent, it trains skills with limited physical activity involved, rewards luck instead of skill, encourages addiction and cheating due to stress, might affect participant’s mental health adversely and doesn’t require much athletic prowess.
In this article we will explore each of these arguments against esports’ inclusion in the Olympic Games separately. We will also discuss why they are unfounded — or if there is any merit behind them — as well as addressing how people that are not familiar with esports can learn to accept its presence on such a prestigious platform as the Olympic Games.
Why Esports Should be in the Olympics
Esports is enjoying unprecedented growth globally, with millions of fans watching professional gamers compete in popular titles such as League of Legends and Overwatch.
Supporters of esports believe that competition at the highest level should be recognized and should be included in the Olympic Games. In this article, we will take a look at the arguments in favor of esports being included in the Olympics.
Esports is a Legitimate Form of Sport
Esports is increasingly being accepted as a legitimate form of sport and its growth means that it can no longer be seen as simply a game or hobby. It is now a burgeoning industry that inevitably has to compete alongside other forms of elite sport, such as traditional sports like football and athletics. It has the drive, determination and energy that any regular athlete needs for success in their chosen field; something that gamesmanship alone cannot provide. World renowned rapper Drake was even involved in a professional esports competition recently and was critical of the players’ performance, highlighting how mainstream these competitions are becoming.
In addition to having the same dedication required by any athlete, esports players must also adhere to strict regulations regarding conduct and fairness when competing at an elite level such as a competition for the Olympics. Matches are heavily monitored to ensure fair play is upheld at all times according to The Global Esports Federation (GEF). Furthermore, many esports athletes have their own coaches and nutritionists similar to traditional athletes, with one study finding that some League of Legends players have six-figure salaries with fitness-focused lifestyles. This demonstrates just how seriously they are taking their craft which further supports why they should be considered professional athletes deserving of recognition in an international stage such as the Olympics.
It Can Help Bring in a Younger Audience
One reason some people are calling for the inclusion of esports in the Olympics is to introduce a much younger audience to the events. Esports have been consistently growing in popularity and many young fans follow tournaments and players throughout the season. By introducing esports into the Olympics, it can help bring in a younger demographic and capture their interest for years to come. This could also help drive up excitement for traditional sports that may have seen stagnant engagement from younger audiences over recent years.
However, not everyone agrees that this is enough of a valid reason to include esports in the Olympics. Opponents argue that esports can’t be considered on par with physical sports, since they don’t require physical fitness or measure tangible skills like strength and agility. While esports draws strong participation rates, there is a fear that allowing them into Olympic games might ultimately devalue them by diluting the ideals associated with regular sports competition. This argument has led many organizations to oppose inclusion of these virtual skills as part of more traditional sports competitions.
It Can Help Promote Global Unity
Esports has the potential to bridge divides between cultures and bring together people from many different backgrounds. esports competition provides an opportunity for individuals from diverse countries to join together in friendly competition. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which oversees the Olympics, is already suffering from a reputation decline due to financial concerns, and including esports could help bring back the perception of humanitarian goodwill the games once had. Furthermore, having prosperous players and positive role models in esports would inspire younger viewers around the world who may be looking for something to believe in.
In addition, sports can often be a source of great national pride and include feelings of worldwide unity as people come together during competitions to cheer on their country or favorite athletes. This sense of belonging cannot be easily replaced with virtual events from home. Moreover, being able to celebrate international success stories can help give everyone around the world a feeling of connection that we are all part of one large global community—something that is particularly urgent as technology continues to rapidly connect us all more than ever before.
Arguments Against Esports in the Olympics
Despite the increasing popularity of esports over the past few years, some people are still making the argument that esports should not be included in the Olympics. These people have various reasons for their opposing stance, ranging from the lack of physicality to the ethical considerations involved in esports. This article will explore the arguments against esports in the Olympics and why some people believe it should not be included in the Games.
It Is Too Violent
Many people have argued that since esports involves virtual killing and violence, it has no place in the Olympics, which are popularly considered to be a symbol of peace. Despite the violence in traditional sports such as boxing, wrestling and martial arts, these sports have become integral part of the Olympics. Esports also involves strategic thinking but adds a reflexive element that requires quick decision making as reactions are decisive for playing at a higher level – which can be seen as violent behavior. This has led some to express their concern about allowing ‘bloodsport’ into the Olympic fold.
Esports also has its own drawbacks owing to technology and gaming related issues such as technical difficulties that can cause lags or slow-downs on player screens. It is possible for players to exploit game mechanics by developing tools or modding games – which could give them an advantage over fair play competitors on an unregulated platform like esports. These concerns lead many people to argue against introducing esports into the Olympics due to its potentially exploitative nature and potential perpetuation of cheating or unethical play patterns.
It Is Too Addictive
One of the primary arguments from those who oppose esports in the Olympics is that playing video games can be habit-forming and lead to excessive amounts of time spent on gaming. It’s true that addictive activities such as online gambling and video games can lead to overindulgence and neglect of other responsibilities. Time spent gaming could otherwise be devoted to doing gym, outside or a particular career.
It should not be forgotten that competitive gaming falls into the same category – it is no different than almost any competitive physical or mental activity, and can easily become a form of obsession. Addiction concerns are also often raised when real money is involved in certain forms of competitive videogaming, such as esports leagues with prize pools in excess of $10 million dollars. While this may not necessarily translate directly to The Olympics due to sponsorships and lack of real money prizes, it does give rise to caution when considering eSports for inclusion in The Olympics.
It Is Not a Real Sport
Opponents argue that esports should not be included in the Olympic Games because the games one engages in are not “real sports” and do not require physical activity. They assert that esports do not satisfy the traditional criteria used to define a sport, such as requiring physical skill and strength or involving a competitive environment where athletes work to attain victory.
Others argue that esports should be kept out of the Olympics because they feature violence and subject matter which some feel is inappropriate for an event featuring world-wide participation. They believe competitions should focus on sportsmanship, fair play, and friendly competition, while video gaming often involves themes of violence or aggression. Furthermore, some may argue that esports can still be played without ever attending an Olympic event or engaging with other competitors directly.
Additionally, there are concerns regarding the shear volume of esports players versus traditional athletes participating in the Olympic Games if both types of competitors were included in the Olympic events. Critics worry that athlete sports such as field hockey, rugby, and team handball would suffer from lack of attention due to limited television coverage time, when compared to more popular video games which have gained worldwide recognition. This concern has raised questions from opponents about whether or not it is fair for different events to be given priority over others at an international event focused on promoting peace and unity through sport.
In conclusion, there is strong opposition to the idea of including esports in the Olympics. Many people point to the lack of physical exertion, the dynamic nature of competitive landscapes, and a potentially gray area between sport and entertainment. Other opponents suggest that esports do not promote enough camaraderie or values such as fair play, sportsmanship and integrity as traditional sports.
However, supporters of esports contend that competitive video gaming should be classified as a sport because it requires skill, teamwork and strategic thinking. They also consider it equivalent to traditional sports in terms of physical exertion since esports athletes often engage in long hours of training regimes and practice at their craft.
Ultimately, it’s up to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to decide whether or not esports meets their criteria for consideration as an Olympic sport. If approved, there will surely be both advantages and drawbacks for professional gamers worldwide looking for a chance at claiming an Olympic medal.