PS3 News: Competitive Gaming Isn't A Sport, But It's Still Legitimate - PS3 News

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Competitive Gaming Isn't A Sport, But It's Still Legitimate

This is going to be a thorny topic for gamers, simply because they're conditioned to defend their much-maligned hobby against mainstream detractors.

During HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" (as cited at GameSpot), panelists poked a little fun at competitive gaming; most agreed that it should not be labeled a sport.

Sportscaster and former pro tennis player Mary Carillo didn't even know eSports existed and added- "It's still not a sport. It's a game." Fox News correspondent Bernard Golderg and Frank Deford mentioned "Star Trek" conventions and said those who watched eSports are just "crazy." Well, there's no denying that despite what some people think, video games are not - and perhaps never will be - on the same level as other forms of "accepted" entertainment. The bottom line is that the mainstream media still accepts - and promotes - the age-old stereotypes that are, by this time, so archaic, they're embarrassing.

However, let's be real: Competitive gaming isn't really a sport. It depends on your definition of "sport," of course, but I say it has to involve more than just reflexes and some strategy. My contention is that if it doesn't involve any form of physical prowess, if you don't have to be physically conditioned to do it, it's not really a sport. In other words, if you've got a big ol' beer gut and you'd keel over trying to run a mile, and you can still be one of the best in the world at a competition, you're not an athlete.

Yes, for the record, this is why I say things like billiards and darts aren't necessarily sports. And by the way, if those sports experts are going to laugh at the idea of competitive gaming being a sport, they have to do the exact same thing for something like pool. Both are very similar, really; they both require fantastic hand-eye coordination, dexterity, precision, and lots and lots of practice. They're both games. I'm not sure they're sports because you don't need to be an athlete to compete at a high level. On the other hand, if you say any form of competition is a "sport," then I guess everything is a sport. Scrabble is a sport at that point.

Now, I accept that competitive gaming maybe shouldn't be dubbed a sport. As always, though, I don't appreciate the little jabs the mainstream media can never resist taking when video games are in question. It's just getting really tiring. Do some research, please.

Tags: competitive gaming, video gamers, major league gaming

12/18/2013 9:55:52 PM Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (42 posts)

Temjin001
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 10:45:33 PM
Reply

I like to think of athletes and sports as something involving physically active people.

...but seeing that something like Chess is apparently considered a sport by the International Olympic Committee..... and it would seem this thing has been argued involving Chess for much longer than video games ever have been around. it doesn't look like anything is going to resolve soon.

I suppose we can just agree there's physical athletes and eAthletes. Like mail and email =p

Last edited by Temjin001 on 12/18/2013 10:48:34 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 10:48:25 PM

Yeah, chess isn't a sport.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 10:49:00 PM
Reply

Doesn't make it cool to rip on people. Sports are just games too.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 10:52:09 PM

so when we refer to "sports games" we could just as well as call them "games games"
=p

Last edited by Temjin001 on 12/18/2013 10:52:25 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Banky A
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 2:24:12 AM

Oh sports games... Megaman is more athletic than any high-jumper in there.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 9:40:43 AM

I think that's more of a genre specifier thing.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Xombito
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 11:28:16 PM
Reply

Shouldn't sports be about skill rather than athleticism?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:11:29 AM

Anything takes skill. Balancing a pen on my finger takes skill. Doesn't make it a sport.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:20:22 AM

Doing long division is an acquired skill. So is playing piano, learning to type, doing a crossword, thinking critically... can't possibly all be sports.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/19/2013 1:21:32 AM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Banky A
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:23:24 AM

ty7ping with yhuur elbowesxd is a skikl,l

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:30:52 AM

LMAO!

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:30:40 AM
Reply

I have a degree in physical education, and even the most educated in the field can't agree on a set definition of "sport". Typically speaking, however... most activities can't really be considered a sport if the majority of people who defend a particular activity's as "sport" are largely the only ones to do so.

It's largely accepted that there is some aspect of physical prowess involved along with a degree of gamesmanship. Some argue chess or poker is a sport because your heart rate changes and what you do physically (tells, bluffs, etc.) matter. It's a bit of a stretch, personally, but the majority of people in the field would reject it as a sport mostly because the majority of people who would see it as a sport are those involved in it.

Football... soccer... basketball... tennis... etc. etc. are easily considered sports because they contain high levels of physical prowess, skill, cunning, and gamesmanship. And an overwhelming number of people consider them sports. Even those not involved in those activities.

But unless you want to include music festivals where pianists or vocalists compete and are assessed by an adjudicator as a sport... you can't seriously think video games or poker are sports.

And again... if the majority of people who think it's a sport are only made up of people involved in the activity.... there's a problem.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

sawao_yamanaka
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:31:14 AM
Reply

Except that quite of few of these guys do not have beer guts. Don't spread the stereotype about gamers. Have you seen some of these competitive eAthletes? They are not over weight and could very well run a mile. They have to be on top of their game to do what they do. Is it a sport? No, doesn't change that what they do does involve skill.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 7:39:20 AM

I don't think the argument is whether or not what they do involves skill.

Frankly, I'm surprised people are even serious enough about the topic to discuss it.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:05:46 AM

I wasn't referring specifically to gamers. It was a general statement encompassing everyone who participates in games I don't consider sports; i.e., pool, darts, chess, etc.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Harerazer
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 5:27:09 AM
Reply

Best argument would be "Is auto racing a sport?"

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 7:36:52 AM

In gaming, do you have to endure a number of G's against your body and fight a controller or steering wheel for hours with arms raised while putting your entire body into it? Couple that with the life hanging in the balance speeds and quick split second reactions.

And despite all that, people still debate auto racing from time to time. Yeah, gaming doesn't come close to being a sport. It's actually amusing to think it is.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/19/2013 7:37:42 AM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bldudas1
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 7:35:09 AM
Reply

I don't think competitive gaming is a sport. Sports involve physical activity. Gaming is not physical activity.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

PC_Max
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 9:18:11 AM
Reply

Same could be said is gaming or games... art or an art form.

Admittedly, I have a hard time calling what I do for work or do for entertainment art. I call what I do graphic design as I stuggle calling it art and therefor I am not a graphic artist.

I have my own classification or definition or what art is, which of course will be different to most here, but the jabs at the gaming industry and at gamers themselves I do not take personally or seriously. And those that over react to said jabs, well, just prove the ... opponents point.

As for sport and what it means to call something a sport, one person I know argued a sport is an event that require no individuals judgement (like figure skating although thats another argument) but is based on ability, skill, competitiveness, and a final score count. One could say that there are games that do that, but I think my friends definition might be too simple. Sports to me are real life one on one or teamplay or interaction. Games to me are just simulations for those who can or cannot play in those real world spots.

Simulations, that really is all games are. Things we cannot, to some extent, not do in the real world. Nothing wrong about it, its entertaining and makes one feel a part of something. Very much like just being a spectator in an arena. Heck if Gladitorial games are or were a sport in the ancient Roman period...yep, I would rather play the simulation and not the real thing.

Keep playing what ever entertains you. Well, keeping within the law of course.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 9:20:30 AM

Art is even more difficult to define than sport!

And hey, I like what you said there. Maybe video games are "simulated sport". You know... like... pretend.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/19/2013 9:21:25 AM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 9:42:03 AM
Reply

Bowlers are incredible athletes :P

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 10:19:08 AM

Them shoes!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 10:20:33 AM
Reply

so what about motor sports? an unhealthy skinny guy puffing a cig could still race a car really good.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 12/19/2013 10:20:50 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:00:45 AM

exactly

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:06:32 AM

Absolutely a sport and trust me, it requires a LOT more physical endurance than you think. You don't have to be a world class athlete but being "unhealthy" really won't work.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:31:52 AM

it's not that i don't think there's any conditioning involved, it's just you don't see race car drivers exiting their car huffing and puffing with beads of sweat rolling down their face in sweat drenched race wear. it's just not the same as something like soccer or basketball. i somehow doubt a race car driver is at a similar level of conditioning.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:35:49 AM

You know their suits are air conditioned, right? They literally pump air conditioned, wonderful coldness into their suits.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 12:45:16 PM

Oh ho, not true at all. If those suits didn't continually pump in air, they'd sweat so badly they'd probably pass out. They're tired and exhausted after a race and that's why it's a sport.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 4:07:41 PM

like Marty McFly's from Back to the Future 2?
sweet

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:00:36 AM
Reply

Why are people so uncomfortable with gray areas? Why does it have to be this IS or is NOT a sport, or art, or whatever. How about we agree that it is subjective and different folks have different opinions of what constitutes a sport? It doesn't have to be black and white.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:35:11 AM

yah, i accept it just fine as a grey area when i think of golfers and race car drivers and stuff.
i think a lot of it has to do with how much money is vested into it and how much of a spectator gathering there is. if billiards and darts drew in millions of people and $50 ticket seats and major network advertising, sure it's a sport.

i've seen fat people do bowling incredibly well

Last edited by Temjin001 on 12/19/2013 11:36:38 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:38:22 AM

and the world's best tourney DOA player does physical conditioning exercises to help with his game play.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 12/19/2013 11:38:37 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:45:20 AM

Me too. It's damn hard work, too!

http://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-Your-Fingers

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ZubraZap
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:34:19 AM
Reply

It is simply a competition. Most sports indulge in the idea of competing. Most athletics involve physical activity..

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 11:37:16 AM

I can see being iffy on the definition of sport, but all athletics involve physical activity. Athleticism is a pretty precise definition.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ZubraZap
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 12:16:11 PM
Reply

Thumb Athletics?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:35:21 PM

Shoot for the stars. Dream your own dreams, I guess.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Cuetes
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 5:59:03 PM
Reply

I like to think the saying "I do it for the sport" works well here. It may not be a physical sport per say but it is a sport.

You have competitive activities to play and have fun within an active pastime...video games fit that to a T.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 12:21:01 AM

I think if you can apply a saying to anything you want, it's likely not a good justification for a definition.

I just bake cookies for the sport of making them as perfectly round as possible. Takes real skill to have them mutate under just the right conditions to come out perfectly round.

That is just one of many equivalents to considering video games as a sport. Heck... why not enter a baking competition! Athletes all around!

Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/20/2013 12:22:26 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Lunar_Miyuki
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 6:01:11 PM
Reply

Golf all you do is hit a ball with a club thats a sport
hunting you shoot something with a gun thats a sport you don't have to be physically active to use a sniper rifle

Racing is a sport and all you do is sit behind a wheel and drive a car you don't have to be physicaly active to drive a car

well i guess people should go argue with South Korea that videogames aren't a sport because its their national sport

so now that i stated the facts

what exactly are the quallifications to call something a sport
physically active doesn't seem the case with hunting racing and chess

competitive is the only thing i see Linking every sport

sports originated from ancient times as a way to have fun and compete

If you actually researched what early versions of basketball and other sports were you wouldn't like what you find

like this imagine a coconut as a basketball or even older times human skulls were used

sports were made from rulers who wanted something else to watch or play

Ancient Rome the Roman Coliseium with gladiators dueling to the death was a sport they also threw prisoners in the colisieum and called that a sport

until you can actually define what a sport is videogames minus well be a sport


Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

TheRealBOBDOLE
Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 3:05:02 PM
Reply

Just some quick thoughts here:

Hunting is considered a sport, and requires no physical "prowess".

Athletes and sports are separate subjects, not to be decided with each other, or based on each other.

We could simply say "tennis isn't a sport, it's an exercise", and we would be just as right as the idiot who made the statement about video games.

Art is considered art because the beholder calls it art. It is as simple as that. If we call it a sport, then IT IS a sport, and no one has the the right to decide that it is UN-true.

The real question here, i think, is why people like Mary Carillo are so defensive about the word? What scares him/her so much about something they don't do being called a sport?

and finally, the ONLY ones qualified to decide if something is a sport, are the ones involved. Saying that it should be discounted because someone is involved in it is ridiculous. Obviously anyone who ISN'T involved, isn't going to understand why it should be a sport. I see no good reason why they should call hunting, bowling, Frisbee, golf, a sport. You can be a fat slob and just get really lucky every time you golf. Does this mean it isn't a sport? no. Because those who play it can determine better than others that it IS a sport.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

PlatformGamerNZ
Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 9:32:37 PM
Reply

last i check every sport is just a game anyways so watever they can say what they want and believe want they want doesn't make it any more or less relivant for millions of people

happy gaming =)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed Xbox exclusive, and...
...I'm so pissed, I can't see straight.
...I'm annoyed, but I can be patient.
...I'm not caring much at all.
...I think it's actually a good thing.

Previous Poll Results