So what is gaming? Sport or competition?

by Matan Heller

There is a heated discussion regarding the relevance of eSports to the Olympics games but we think that the discussion is more profound than that. The real subject here is what exactly is eSports (or competitive gaming)? Some would say it’s a way to kill time and nothing more while others would say that eSports requires the same skills and knowledge as other traditional sports. In this piece, we would like to suggest a different way of thinking.

Before we continue with this debate, let’s define what a sport is more thoroughly. defines “sport” as follows “ an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature…”.

On one hand, gaming has almost all of the attributes of an orthodox sports field, on the other, gaming is lacking a crucial component of mainstream sport which is the physicality of it. But even that could be put to question, one of Starcraft pro-gamers most important measurements is APM (actions per minute) which revolves around 200+, this means a player makes more than 3 valuable actions per second, maybe it’s not enough to break a sweat but only a handful of trained people could sustain it for 5 games in a row (each game takes about 10–15 minutes).

APM demo (every tap is intended)

Just as luck won’t help you in a chess game with Garry Kasparov it won’t help in a Fortnite session versus pro-gamers, you may succeed in surviving for a short period of time but without the proper skills and deliberate training, chances are — you’re gonna lose. This is one of the reasons why being a pro-gamer comes with various benefits such as sponsorships, endorsements and lucrative prizes achieved by winning tournaments (at 2017, top player ,Kuro Takhasomi, has earned a prize of $2,436,772).

It’s easy to see that eSports, undoubtedly, holds competitive and skill-based elements, even a physical aspect (if you’re willing to drop old-fashioned claims).

As a side note — The first rubber ball was invented by Mesoamericans roughly 3600 years ago and was introduced to western culture more than 500 years ago, since then games revolving this strange new rubber ball captivated the minds of many and shaped our modern leisure time. Considering this fact, it’s not surprising that gaming is currently on the fringes of mainstream-sport, alas the first competitive video game (Empire) was launched less than 50 years ago.

Are Gamers eligible for the title of traditional athletes? currently no, and they don’t necessarily want to be called that. Times are changing and as we saw, eSports is an extremely young concept in comparison to other sports. pro-gamers symbolize an entirely new field of competition and they deserve a definition of their own.

What would be the final argument? Let us know.

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