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Will eSports become as important as “Real Sports”?

One of the smaller eSports game shows in the world.
One of the smaller eSports game shows in the world.
Photo Taken by felixtriller/Creative Commons

eSports have never been bigger or more entertaining to watch than they are today. With cash pots as big as $500,000 going to champions, digital gaming tournaments are gaining more and more prestige among the world's sports realm. With games like Starcraft 2 and League of Legends pushing the envelope on the strategic and mind-bending tactics required to win, it's getting more impressive to be able to claim you are a participant in eSports.

Although online gaming tournaments are already a well established item, there are debates in some corners over whether eSports tournaments should even be considered a sport at all. At the end of 2013, HBO's Real Sports with Bryan Gumbel held a discussion over whether or not it should be considered a sport. Their conclusion was no, it shouldn't.

eSports are not thought of as a sport because they don't require any athletic ability to participate. But neither does NASCAR racing, Chess, or Texas hold em, which are widely considered to be sports. So, apparently eSports critics are forgetting one essential thing: there is a difference between an Athlete and a Sportsperson. If something requires skill, whether mental or physical, it can be made into a sport.

The precise definition of what separates a sport from other leisure activities varies between sources. The closest to an international agreement on a definition is provided by Sport Accord, which states that a sport must have an element of competition, be in no way harmful to any living creature, and not rely on any "luck" element specifically designed into the sport.

The fact remains, no matter how much you work your triceps, you might never defeat the Starcraft world champion simply because you aren't mentally 'fit' enough.

How the world may perceive eSports is not important. What is important is that eSports are becoming more and more entertaining to watch. Isn't that what sports are for?