As you are reading this, the big debate regarding Esports and whether it is just a recreational activity continues with a lot of passion. On the one hand, there are physical athletes and sports lovers who cringe at the idea of categorizing Esports in the same league. On the other hand, you have professional gamers that spend hours practicing, along with their fans who don’t mind supporting them.
Yes, a professional gamer can have thousands of fans, and they can keep his or her career afloat – not a liberty typical athletes can share. So, is Esports just a glorified term for something that is just a recreational activity? Or is there something deeper to the world of gaming?
The level of skill involved
Nobody is denying that Esports is essentially a mental-based sport with little physical effort. At least, that is what people assume. But when you take a deeper look, the physical effort just isn’t as visible.
To give non-gamers some idea of what it takes to beat other professional players, this is a breakdown of common requirements in order to reach a professional level:
– Lightning Reflexes
– Executing real-time strategies
– Mental fitness
– Attention to small details
– A team player
– Dedication to practice several hours of the day
What people, in general, have to realize that professional gamers spend as many hours practicing and competing as typical people would at their day jobs, if not more. Some gamers will spend as much as 15 hours a day in front of the screen, perfecting their tactics. And the fact that typical people won’t be able to last 5 seconds against a professional gamer tells you a great amount of skill is ultimately involved.
There is also the matter of the physical toll Esports can take on its players. Not only do players tend to retire early due to the constant pressure of new competition, but several teams have hired fitness coaches and mentors.
Why? Because professional players can easily burn out when they don’t pace themselves. The coaches and mentors are there to ensure players take care of themselves on a physical and mental level, otherwise, there is going to be a burnout that can lead to a player simply retiring altogether.
Equipment and dynamics
Players need to use the best of the best equipment in order to compete at a professional level. Does the same rule apply when it is just a recreational activity where you relax all the way through?
Players also have to understand the dynamics of the game inside and out in order to utilize all available tools. If they don’t have this knowledge, they probably won’t reach the professional level any time soon.
People gamble on Esports
According to analytics company Narus and research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, about $6.7 billion has been used for global betting on Esports in 2018, and they are projecting this number to grow to $13 billion by 2020. To make these numbers even more interesting, Esports gambling is still illegal in several states.
What does this tell you? Those who make money from Esports gambling realize it is about strategy and skill. If you don’t know the players or the game, you are just taking a risk. However, when you familiarize yourself with the gaming world, the betting risks become calculated.
Now, does this sound like something that can be done with something that is just a recreational activity?
Major sponsors and tournaments
Of course, not every Esports tournament is big and significant. Nevertheless, you will come across many that don’t just attract thousands of fans to the physical event, but millions connect via the Internet and stream the whole thing. At the same time, 1st-place prizes can easily reach $1 million.
So, what about the sponsors then? Well, you got everyone from celebrity sports stars to entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban are investing in Esports through some channel or another. If they are not buying professional teams, they think of ways to make gambling with the sport as easy as possible. So once again, what type of recreational activity will attract all this exposure and money?
High-ranking gamers don’t need day jobs
For the players who have been at it a while, the necessity for a day-job shouldn’t be a problem. Apart from getting paid by sponsors like those mentioned above, they live on the winnings they gain at tournaments. Even so, their income source doesn’t stop there.
You see, thanks to platforms like Switch, players can get paid by fans to practice. That’s right. Fans tune in to watch their favorite players train and compete. In turn, the players can get fans to subscribe to their channels, which is how they can donate in order to keep their favorite players going.
That means if players approach professional gaming with tact, they can maintain a comfortable lifestyle while doing what they love.
Esports sparks passion
After watching several Rivalry.gg tournaments, it will become clear how passionate players and fans can get about what some simply refer to as a recreational activity. You will see anger when the wrong decisions are made and the pressure builds. You will also see players and fans going nuts when they win.
The amount of energy a good game between professionals can generate should never be underestimated. In fact, it can be compared to the energy conventional sports create, which is another reason why Esports should be taken more seriously.
Considering the dedication that goes into being a professional player, as well as the amount of exposure it is getting, Esports can’t really be categorized as a recreational activity. Unless you are referring to a Friday night with some friends, becoming a professional player will include a lot of pressure and challenges.
Overcoming the physical obstacles the sport entails, as well as the lack of sleep and endless hours of practicing, professional gaming isn’t just something you decide to do. Instead, you need to take it very seriously if you want to compete on a professional level.
So, with that said. What’s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Jonas “O.J” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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