What are eSports?

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ESports is the term used to refer to professional video game competitions. It can be translated into Spanish as "electronic sports" and although it’s true that eSports have been around for a while but the recent popularity it has been receiving worldwide turned eSports into events of colossal dimensions and an authentic phenomenon in the current entertainment scene.Not only do eSports move millions of people around the world but they also move equally large amounts of money.

Competitiveness as a starting point

The essence of these tournaments lies in its competitiveness. Whether eSports is played individually or in teams, the aim is to face as many opponents as possible until one can become a champion. The term eSports in general and is used for all types of competitions but the type of sports has so many different peculiarities it is divided into various modalities. Games such as shooting ranges, sport stimulators, races, MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) and basically any game that allows participants to see who is better. This enhances the interactive and social aspect of video games.

Precisely because of the wide variety of ways in which eSports can materialize, it is very difficult to determine how many competitions and disciplines there are. These can vary according to the game they use ( some of the most popular titles are League of Legends, Call of Duty, FIFA or Fortnite) or their own structure. While small amateur tournaments are still common, more and more visibility is given to major competitions such as EVO (Evolution Champions Series) which released its first edition in 1996 and has been the scene of such epic moments as the mythical parry of Daigo in the semifinal of Street Fighter III, during the 2004 edition.

This honeymoon period that eSports are living can be seen both in the tracking they have and in the money they move. For example, the final of the World League of Legends 2017 brought 75 million viewers to the screen and in 2018 the eSport industry accumulated more than 300 million regular followers  according to Movistar eSports. The money moved by these events is striking both for what the prize winners win and for what is generated in the global sector. To give you an idea, the winner of the solitaire mode in the Fortnite 2019 World Cup, pocketed 3 million dollars in one weekend; the consulting firm Newzoo estimates that by 2020 global revenues will be 1,100 million dollars.

 Are eSports really a sport?

This is certainly a delicate subject that was the subject of extensive discussion, in the early moments when eSports gained relevance and reached the general public. Similar to what happened with video games themselves, certain population groups saw eSports competitions as a marginal activity and tended (and do tend) to stigmatize it. Without entering into the bag of whether they should be considered equal to physical sports or not, it is undeniable that they have common characteristics such as the grouping of different disciplines, the demand for skills and training, competition, their popularity in the society or their style marked by the spectacle. 

Professional teams and players receive intense training that seeks to polish and improve their skills in which they have experts and analysts who help them in both physical and psychological aspects of the respective sports.

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Many wonder why disciplines like chess have been recognized as a sport while eSports are still an open debate, but the truth is that,the South Korean Olympic Committee in 2015 recognized the status of ‘second level Olympic sport’ or eSport despite the fact that it was withdrawn in 2017. The complexity of the discussion and the novelty of this discipline, as well as its unique particularities, make it difficult to reach an agreement but what is important is not the name they receive but the respect they are given. Esports are not a thing of yesterday and other than being part of the world of videogames (one of the most powerful industries of the current cultural panorama) it is necessary to consider them as the hobby of billions of people, who enjoy eSports and dedicate more than praiseworthy amounts of time and effort to them.

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