What if I told you 10 years ago that playing video games competitively was a sport, most people would’ve called me stupid and rightly so, but the reality of it is that competitive gaming is somehow considered a sport, e-sports is a worldwide phenomenon, with huge tournaments and watched by millions of people, but should it be considered a real sport though. Not yet. To people who play physical sports, this is very offensive, many athletes go outside in terrible conditions like rain and snow to train as hard as they possibly could just to maintain or get up to the level of competition that is required to play in their respective sports, so to consider sitting down on a couch and twiddling your thumbs and playing on a console with little to no physical activity a sport is just ridiculous.
My first point is that e-sports doesn’t have the physical nature that a sport is known for and they can’t be compared. Anyone can learn how to play a game. The definition of a sport on google is ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.’ Sure, competing in an e-sports tournament requires a lot of skill, improves your cognitive abilities, coordination strategy, and tactics but the keywords in that definition are ‘physical exertion’. E-sports doesn’t have that physical element that a sport is renowned for.
My second point is that playing video games can hurt your health. Excessive gaming can have a bad impact on teen’s health as they spend more time playing virtual games rather than having some physical exercise. This practice increases the risk of childhood obesity. Sometimes, children also skip meals and sleep to play games they are addicted to. The constant glare from the screen can also harm the child’s eyesight in the long run. Video games lead to obesity, muscular, skeletal postural disorders, induced seizures, nerve compression, and numbness in hands, elbow, and shoulders, everything I’ve just listed has a terrible impact on your life but isn’t the point of playing sports to give you positive health benefits and to be healthier in general.
My third point is that video games have a bad impact on your life socially. With the Internet constantly available as a sort of substitution for face-to-face social interaction, certain teens grow up isolated, with personal communication skills that suffer as a result. Social networking or social games take the place of genuine, real-world social interaction. This can make real-world social situations difficult for these teens, creating problems later in life. These types of skills are still important in higher education and for when teens enter the job market later in life. Also, teenagers who play video games too much are less likely to indulge in extracurricular activities like, reading and writing and participating in ‘actual’ sports and do worse in school. A survey has shown that 47% of heavy online players got poor grades, while 23% of light users performed better than them.
My fourth and final point is that there are some major issues with the player’s well-being that need to be fixed. For example, research that the professionalism of competitive gaming needs to be understood as a risky form of work. And players are the most delicate laborers in the system of esports, which includes sponsors, managers, publishers, and many others. This is partly to do with the age of players. As in physical sports, youth is an important part of professional gaming. Gamers struggle to maintain their abilities past the age of 30 and many retire before that point. This leaves professional gamers in a state of career anxiety like that of physical sports. Most professional gamers rely on tournament income and live a substantial life, dependent on how well they perform. It’s an income that is uncertain and unreliable due to the different scope and size of competitions. SK Telecom 1 (an esports group) earns a disproportionate amount of money when compared to the tens of thousands of players who have seriously committed themselves to the pursuit of professional gaming as a career. The result is that professional gaming is characterized as a risky career path that is difficult to pursue. It relies on thousands of hours of unpaid labor and the expectation that new starters will fund their own training and travel costs. E-sports blurs the distinction between play and work by changing how players value the goals of gaming. Gaming does have many positive effects on human psychology. People express feelings of joy, happiness, and satisfaction from overcoming the challenges present in gaming. Research shows that players find themselves completely immersed and engaged in their play. It is a competition that gives players a sense of this energy and fullness: they seek purpose and meaning from unraveling the puzzles of games and developing strategies to win. Games offer players obtainable goals that generate a sense of achievement and motivation. From this perspective, E-sports should have a positive effect on mental health, by helping to boost players’ confidence and self-esteem. But the focus of play switches away from these positive benefits of gaming. In the research that I’ve found it switches to winning and the need to secure prize money. The result is that players are speaking out about the sense of disappointment that follows from trying to make it as an esports professional.
In conclusion, I think that there are many reasons why E-Sports shouldn’t be a sport. It doesn’t have that physical element that sports like basketball, football, and volleyball have, video games don’t make you any healthier and has a bad impact in years to come, playing video games constantly will have a damaging impact on your life and, the well-being of an E-sports player during their career and after their career is at risk.
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