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What are your thoughts on the rise of eSports? Do you watch any? Are eSports players "athletes?" If so, which ones?

Bonus questions: what do you like about eSports? And, perhaps more controversially, are eSports players "athletes?"
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Quote:
What are your thoughts on the rise of eSports? Do you watch any?

I actually do follow eSports. I used to play LOL and CS:GO and anytime there is a World Championship I still like watching the games. It takes me a while to get back into the gist of things, learning what the new champions do, understanding the new meta etc. but I still find it enjoyable.

Quote:
Are eSports players "athletes?"

I don't see much of a difference comparing esports with any other forms of sports. Both have entertainment value when watching, both are essentially players playing a game with certain rules. All that aside athlete to me doesn't make much sense. How should I put this, well, esport players don't particularly need athletic skills. Yes they do need fast reflexes, perfect eye hand coordination and what not but they don't need endurance (all that much) nor strength. I'm not sure if those qualities qualifies as athleticism and I want to emphasize that I'm not saying all this to belittle or trivialize their achievements at all. I think we should just call them players.
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I watch games of Blood Bowl on Blood Bowl II's Cabal Vision?

Other then that the only 'eSport-style' gaming I watch is speed runners which always both fascinate and amaze me!
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Mr Boris wrote:
Other then that the only 'eSport-style' gaming I watch is speed runners which always both fascinate and amaze me!
Up until this point I never thought about speedruns as esports but you are correct, I would count them as such as well.

I watched a few speedruns earlier today actually. Phrases like, "Next turn he will hit me from 62-68 damage. If I have less than 13 hit points after this fight I need to rest or else I will die three fights afterwards when facing this and that that resists my first attack with 6 hit points remaining." just shows you how much they know their game which is just amazing. INSANE!
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Bemusement.

I grew up sharing a computer and thus sometimes sitting and waiting and watching while someone else played. And it was entertaining, though different since I could talk to the person playing and suggest other options. And also not as entertaining as playing myself, usually.

But whatever makes people happy.

Perhaps I should add that I'm not a sports fan either. Every once in a while I'll get into something like beach volleyball or curling at the Olympics, but I don't follow baseball, basketball, football, hockey, etc and find watching sporting games incredibly boring.

Again, if you like that sort of thing, more power to you. I just don't.

Are eSports players athletes? No, I wouldn't say so. There's not enough full body physicality to what they're doing. Ideally, we'd come up with a new term or just use players.

Conversely, as I don't think this is coming across in my general disinterest and negative replies, I do think that what they do is deserving of respect. They are working hard on strategies, teamwork, and training reflexes to pull off specific series of moves to outwit similarly skilled opponents for the entertainment of their fans and hopefully their own satisfaction and personal goals.
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I follow competitive Street Fighter pretty closely, but it should be said that national and international fighting game tournaments preceded the term "eSports" by almost two decades. As a result, the entire ecosystem that supports such competition developed on its own, without the boom-and-bust venture capital associated with modern eSports. That makes it a much more stable thing to be interested in as both a fan and a player.

There's a major tournament almost every weekend from March to December. Capcom patches the game right around Christmas, and then there's a three month off-season while everyone hones their skills on the updated version.

Two weeks ago the tournament was in Atlanta. Last weekend it was in Malaysia. This weekend it's in Sacramento. The weekend after that in Brussels, etc etc.

For dedicated players, Street Fighter (and most polished fighting games) are a lifestyle. They are deep, robust, complex, and fast-paced. They require an enormous investment of time to be good at (imagine an avid boardgamer who learns Go and gradually stops playing anything else). For me, actually playing the game is out of the question. Instead, I play lots of other games, and the tournament scene gives me the insane high-level matches that I find fascinating.
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ghostpants wrote:
What are your thoughts on the rise of eSports?

A natural turn of events.

ghostpants wrote:
Do you watch any?

No. I watch the occasional note-worthy Street Fighter or Rocket League match, but I don't follow any. (I don't watch any sports at all, and don't really understand the point.)

ghostpants wrote:
Are eSports players "athletes?"

Not at all, just as a chess player isn't an athlete. Of course, that depends on how you define the term "athlete", but I've always defined it as someone who trains their entire body for flexibility and/or power and/or speed, not just their brain, their concentration or their reflexes. I know that eSports are exerting, but so is a chess match. I wouldn't call a rally driver an athlete either. So, barring that I am completely off in my definition of an "athlete", no, an eSporter is not an athlete.

ghostpants wrote:
what do you like about eSports?

I like that video games are taken seriously.

I do not like the fact that what I considered to be my favourite pastime, far away from competitive win-headed people, now is regarded as something for competitive, win-headed people. When I say I play video games, people assume that I'm such a competitive, win-headed person, which is mildly annoying.
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I'm not entirely sure what eSports is, but I think it's competitive gaming featuring games I have no interest in watching (FPS, MOBA, fighting, or w/e).

Since I don't follow it, I guess I don't really have any thoughts about it. I don't really care for watching sports, either. I wouldn't call them athletes, though. Being an athlete requires physical exercise and training. I've seen a speedrunner walk a treadmill during a run before, but I don't consider playing a video game to be a sport (which is why I think eSports is a rather odd term to use).

When I watch other people play games, it's usually speedruns of games I enjoy or walkthroughs for a boss or part of a game I'm stuck in. Sometimes I watch just to support members of my Twitch community while I am performing some other task, but what I watch is usually RPGs and maybe the occasional Platformer or Adventure game. Sometimes there are speedrun races, but I wouldn't call those "eSports" either.
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ooozan wrote:
Mr Boris wrote:
Other then that the only 'eSport-style' gaming I watch is speed runners which always both fascinate and amaze me!
Up until this point I never thought about speedruns as esports but you are correct, I would count them as such as well.

I watched a few speedruns earlier today actually. Phrases like, "Next turn he will hit me from 62-68 damage. If I have less than 13 hit points after this fight I need to rest or else I will die three fights afterwards when facing this and that that resists my first attack with 6 hit points remaining." just shows you how much they know their game which is just amazing. INSANE!

I wouldn't consider speedruns eSports, but I think I just have a problem with the term since sports to me have always represented something physical. Memorizing a route does have much to do with the physicality of the game except for maybe a bit of muscle memory. Maybe it's different for other types of games though (I'm used to RPGs).

I guess I'm saying that it's too intellectual for me to have it lumped in with sports.
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Initially, I thought it was a pretty silly fad until one day I signed into rocket league to play with some buddies and we ended up watching the seasons tournament instead. It ended up being just about as fun as sitting down to watch traditional sports, but with the added bonus that we were picking up strategies for our own game. So when I see there is a big tournament going, ill usually watch the semi finals. Some games allow for seeing more of the players skill and teamwork, and those make for better entertainment.
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flaeryn wrote:
I wouldn't consider speedruns eSports, but I think I just have a problem with the term since sports to me have always represented something physical. Memorizing a route does have much to do with the physicality of the game except for maybe a bit of muscle memory. Maybe it's different for other types of games though (I'm used to RPGs).

I guess I'm saying that it's too intellectual for me to have it lumped in with sports.
Well I don't see how speedruns are different compared to the likes of darts, bowling or even long jump, weight lifting etc. Here is how I see it:
1. You have a game with a set of rules.
2. Everyone plays their own instance/turn.
3. Everyone has the same exact conditions - refer to rule number 1.
4. You see who comes out on the top, deemed the winner.

But yea I agree maybe like the athlete statement I made earlier, the name eSports itself is what causes all this debate to begin with. Why not call is Competitive Gaming and be done with it? I'm guessing its got to do with marketing the industry rather than anything meaningful.
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ooozan wrote:
flaeryn wrote:
I wouldn't consider speedruns eSports, but I think I just have a problem with the term since sports to me have always represented something physical. Memorizing a route does have much to do with the physicality of the game except for maybe a bit of muscle memory. Maybe it's different for other types of games though (I'm used to RPGs).

I guess I'm saying that it's too intellectual for me to have it lumped in with sports.
Well I don't see how speedruns are different compared to the likes of darts, bowling or even long jump, weight lifting etc. Here is how I see it:
1. You have a game with a set of rules.
2. Everyone plays their own instance/turn.
3. Everyone has the same exact conditions - refer to rule number 1.
4. You see who comes out on the top, deemed the winner.

But yea I agree maybe like the athlete statement I made earlier, the name eSports itself is what causes all this debate to begin with. Why not call is Competitive Gaming and be done with it? I'm guessing its got to do with marketing the industry rather than anything meaningful.
But you could use those constraints to describe any type of game. They are that generalized.

What I am saying is that sports are a physical endeavor.
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flaeryn wrote:
What I am saying is that sports are a physical endeavor.

That matches my understanding of it, FWIW. Yeah, there are groups calling tabletop games "mind sports," so I suppose it makes just as much sense to talk about "e-sports." But all my life I've gone around saying, "I love games but hate sports"--meaning I'm not into physical competition (tests of strength, dexterity, etc.). So it's like an unwelcome term has intruded on my favorite hobby.

It's good that there's something for everybody. But I personally have zero interest in the highly competitive aspect of any type of gaming. To me, competition in video gaming is nothing but the AI putting up some resistance so I have a challenge to deal with--so that I get to enjoy the learning experience of the game.

If, by some miracle, I ever got really good at a game, I might jump right in with the sharks and try to be the baddest shark of all. But that hasn't happened, and I don't expect it to. And I don't even want to see the sharks fighting each other. It just reminds me that other gamers are in a whole 'nother world.
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I can almost guarantee that the use of the word "eSports" - the "sports" part in particular - exists purely for marketing, in three separate directions.

1. Using the word "sports" smooths the way for intra-corporate, intergenerational communication. You have relatively young people in specialized roles at media companies who are communicating with older executives who know less than nothing about videogaming.

2. Using the word "sports" smooths the way for advertising to a broader audience. After all, the whole idea is to have a revenue model based on spectating, rather than direct participation. It's not a coincidence that ESPN broadcasts a variety of videogame competitions, or that traditional sports franchises routinely buy large stakes in eSports franchises.

3. Using the word "sports" smooths the way for soliciting investment capital. The whole pitch is basically, "traditional Sports are slowly dying - dump money into this and get in on the ground floor."

I doubt very much that anyone pushing the term cares about the connotation of physical exertion, or about implying some sort of equivalency between the training and execution involved in each endeavor. Although, on the other hand, it's more and more clear that eSports competitors have to take very good care of themselves physically to compete effectively.
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I like the viability of E-sports and the fact that decent money can be made by playing them. I watch most Fridays on TBS the CS:GO tournament. I also watch when they show the celebrity games. So in my opinion, E-sports are on the rise and will only grow in popularity.
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I like at a bare minimum the concept of e-sports, as I feel they fulfill a similar mental role as other sports, but for people who don't care about those other sports. Entertainment is entertainment, and if enough people want to watch, good for them!
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The application of 'sports' actually made me less interested than I might've been otherwise. While competitive video games are certainly popular, it seems as though a lot of people don't truly -enjoy- them; they get too caught up in the struggle to win. To me, that kills the point of playing video games, which I believe is to have fun.

If only the rise of E-Sports could've resurrected the idea of Sportsmanship...
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While it took me some time to consider competitive gaming a sport, I think the traditional definition of sport should be updated. I don't think intense physical activity should be required to consider gaming a sport since it has pretty much every other facet that a traditional sport has. That said, I don't think the players are athletes. While I don't really follow eSports myself, I think it's really interesting, and I'm happy it's becoming more legitimized and popular.

I think what draws (most) people in to watching traditional sports is seeing extremely talented folks excel at playing the game. I assume it's no different with eSports. I enjoy watching folks dominate in competition, particularly in complex games that take a lot of smart planning and teamwork. Arguably, video games offer an even more intense version of those things over some traditional sports.
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Spirit of 70 wrote:
The application of 'sports' actually made me less interested than I might've been otherwise. While competitive video games are certainly popular, it seems as though a lot of people don't truly -enjoy- them; they get too caught up in the struggle to win. To me, that kills the point of playing video games, which I believe is to have fun.

If only the rise of E-Sports could've resurrected the idea of Sportsmanship...


I think that's fair. But similarly, I play basketball recreationally just for fun, so I think there's plenty of room for playing video games competitively and just for fun.

As for sportsmanship, agreed entirely, at least in public online gaming. For what it's worth -- and granted, I haven't followed eSports closely -- it seems sportsmanship is valued fairly highly among competitors, at least from what I've observed.
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Not that much, but when I do much of that is StarCraft 2. However, I like watching clips that may NOT qualify under the terms of esports, like if it's not competitive, nor professional.

For example, they posted a matchup of Sc2 where you basically had 2 lousy players going at it. One commenter even joked it was "plastic league playoffs". Sometimes, the proverbial train wrecks are as much, if not MORE entertaining. Also unique b/c they did many things that pros would never do*.

Another example is they do some fun stuff like "what if" scenarios. And I do like watching coop type plays

Last but not least, when I was in Washington DC, a friend (who wasn't even a Sc2 player) invited a bunch of us to check out "BarCraft"... it's a bar where you order drinks, and watch competitive games of Sc2 playing on their TVs.

.

More rare occasions, I'll watch matchups of Mortal Kombat, Smash Bros., and Street Fighter.

* Yeah, I remember that game...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
An early battle caused both players to lose all of their workers. However, they couldn't make any more of them b/c they were both supply blocked. They made due the rest of the game with what they had available.

The commenter mentioned that since they had the minerals/resources, they should've killed some of their own combat units from the get-go to free up the supply to make more workers, have the workers build more supply buildings, to enable larger armies and workers.
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ackmondual wrote:
Ilike watching clips that may NOT qualify under the terms of esports, like if it's not competitive, nor professional.


Now that you mention that, I do occasionally watch gameplay on Twitch or random YouTubers. Sometimes they're great at the game, sometimes they aren't. I find both enjoyable from time to time. It's fun to watch regular folks play a competitive game.
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ghostpants wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
Ilike watching clips that may NOT qualify under the terms of esports, like if it's not competitive, nor professional.


Now that you mention that, I do occasionally watch gameplay on Twitch or random YouTubers. Sometimes they're great at the game, sometimes they aren't. I find both enjoyable from time to time. It's fun to watch regular folks play a competitive game.


And not only competitive but casual games also have some entertainment value to them. I remember watching a youtuber play the entirety of Last of Us. Albeit it's a film-like game but still I had fun watching this hilarious personality struggle making his way through the world. - And yes I am aware this is a bit off topic is the eSports thing but still
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ooozan wrote:
ghostpants wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
Ilike watching clips that may NOT qualify under the terms of esports, like if it's not competitive, nor professional.


Now that you mention that, I do occasionally watch gameplay on Twitch or random YouTubers. Sometimes they're great at the game, sometimes they aren't. I find both enjoyable from time to time. It's fun to watch regular folks play a competitive game.


And not only competitive but casual games also have some entertainment value to them. I remember watching a youtuber play the entirety of Last of Us. Albeit it's a film-like game but still I had fun watching this hilarious personality struggle making his way through the world. - And yes I am aware this is a bit off topic is the eSports thing but still


Also a very good point. Watching someone with a great personality play through an interesting/casual game is also fun!
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Spirit of 70 wrote:
The application of 'sports' actually made me less interested than I might've been otherwise. While competitive video games are certainly popular, it seems as though a lot of people don't truly -enjoy- them; they get too caught up in the struggle to win. To me, that kills the point of playing video games, which I believe is to have fun.
Some people just enjoy winning. One of my close friends only enjoys playing games where he can win. Otherwise he finds the game pointless.
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ghostpants wrote:

Also a very good point. Watching someone with a great personality play through an interesting/casual game is also fun!


Completely agree! This is why I'm an avid Play Frame / Sidequest viewer.
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