When one thinks about sports, the last thing that comes to mind is technology. But it seems like that is about to change. Videogame competitions, or eSports, have become a multimillion-dollar industry. The stadium used in South Korea for the Soccer World Cup in 2007, can be filled today with eSports fanatics.
According to Newzoo, eSports’s audience has grown 43% between 2014 and 2016, from 204 million to 292 million, and is expected to surpass 429 millions by the year 2019. Professional players earn salaries of up to six digits.
ESports is being globally recognized as a sport. Dustin Beck, vice president of eSports for Riot Games, says professional players can qualify for a United States p-1 visa, a visa reserved for professional athletes.
Scientists of the German University of Sports conducted a study of eSports athletes and got surprised. They found that eSports athletes are exposed to physical activity similar to that of “normal” athletes. ESports athletes can perform an average of 400 movements on the keyboard and mouse per minute. And the amount of Cortisol (stress hormone) produced is similar to that of a speed racer when driving. Additionally, the cardiac rhythm rises to 160-180 beats per minute. This can be compared to that of a marathon athlete.
But others are not convinced that eSports should he considered a sport at all, and express that it is more of a pastime, not a sport. Comments on debate.org argue that it should not be classified as a sport because it is not played outside. Others argue that it is not a sport because it does not include physical activity.
Many discover that eSports is the same as poker or chess and at least should be considered a brain exercise. But it seems like with the advance in technology and growth in popularity, eSports will soon be known as a sport.