eSports: An emerging kind of sports

Two decades after ‘mail’ get a prefix ‘e-‘ and one decade after ‘phone’ get a prefix ‘i-‘, the emergence and recognition of ‘eSports’ still surprise or confuse many people.

Although people are still figuring out where to place ‘eSports’ in their dictionary, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is taking a step forward by stating that ‘competitive “eSports” could be considered as a sporting activity’.

They explained that ‘the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports’ in a statement on 28 October.

Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, said in August that he was facilitating talks between eSports representatives and the IOC to look into the possibility of adding eSports gaming into the 2024 program.

By that time, Paris was already the sole candidate for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

And it is not distance future for ‘traditional’ sports events to include an eSports version. After all, ESPN has already add a dedicated ‘eSports’ section on their sports news site.

There will be eSports medal events at the 2022 Asian Games and demonstrations at its 2018 edition, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) confirmed in April.

Just last Saturday, 18-year-old British gamer Brendon Leigh, who works as a kitchen manager, won the first official Formula One (F1) eSports Championship.

He beat 19 other gamers at the final night on the game ‘F1 2017’, which is officially licensed by F1 and released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC platforms to simulate the real race.

Okay, eSports are coming on stage, but in what way eSports are sports? Play the Game speakers, who are scholar or representatives from the eSports field, are offering you their answers:

(According to their order of appearance):

Ian Smith, the Integrity Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition. He is from the UK.

Alex Lim, Secretary General of International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), the global organisation for eSports. He comes from South Korea.

Ivo van Hilvoorde, Lecturer at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

 

(Feature photo: Gamers playing MOBA title ‘Total War: Arena’ at Gamescom 2017, one of the largest gaming expo in Europe.

Credit: flickr user ‘dronepicr’/ licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

 

This article is the first of the two stories of the eSports series.

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