The term “Esports” is a shortened version of Electronic Sports. The same way that the creation of sports led to professional competition, the existence of online video games has led to the establishment of esports competitions.
Origin of Esports
The origins of both traditional sports and esports emerged due to two fundamental aspects of human nature: continuous self improvement and a desire to compete. The 500 meter dash was created because people wanted to improve their own time and to be faster than others. Likewise, esports were created because people wanted to get better at video games on their own, while also being better than others at the game.
Esports emerged as early as 1972, where ,gamers banded together to compete in seemingly single-player games such as Space Invaders and Donkey Kong. Since then, Esports has only been growing larger in popularity, size and financial investment.
Traditional Sports vs Esports
What defines a competitive traditional sport are, in general, three things: the need for physical exertion of a certain skill, the establishment of a set of rules, and some form of competition between people.
When it comes to esports, the criteria for physical exertion of a skill is converted into the mechanical exertion of a skill, either through specific combinations of keyboard, mouse and controller inputs. However, other than the void requirement for physical exertion, there’s not much else that’s different between esports and traditional sports.
While a traditional sports league has established rules, esports games dictate their own rules rules based on the specific mechanics of the games designed by their developers. While a traditional sports league creates competition with leagues and prize incentives, an esports game’s competition can exist solely on the basis of games having someone who wins and someone who loses.
Building Blocks of Esports
Tournaments wouldn’t exist without the players. The lowest level tournaments often consist of players who are just passionate about the game, and train on a more casual basis. Higher level tournaments can include individual players who train more rigorously with the goal of going pro in mind. It also includes esports organizations who hire skilled players and treat them like athletes.
Structured competitions require people to organize them. This can include students who want to create a friendly Mario Kart tournament at their own school, all the way up to the game developers themselves who create multi-million dollar tournaments in world-renowned sports arenas.
Competitions require some form of incentive for people to attend. The lowest level of Esports Competitions might not have any prize pool, such as a group of friends who create a friendly tournament just to see who’s best at a certain game. At the highest level, prize pools can go up to the millions, where organizations from all over the world rigorously train their teams for the chance to earn both money and prestige.
As long as people can play the game, any place is a suitable location. This can include both online and in-person tournaments. Amateur level tournaments are usually hosted online because it’s cheaper and more convenient as it requires no physical travelling. On the other hand, higher level tournaments are usually hosted in-person, where teams travel to a specified location to compete. Vanta itself hosts fully virtual leagues throughout the year.
As with traditional sports, any esport will naturally attract spectators. While lower level tournaments don’t broadcast their games because they don’t have the funding or equipment for it, higher level tournaments will have professional equipment and top-of-the-line technology to ensure the smoothest observation experience. Regardless of the scope of the tournament, games are almost always broadcasted on twitch.tv, a site that specializes in hosting live streams of video games. You can check out Vanta’s Twitch channel where we stream live broadcasts of our games of the week.
Different Games in Esports
Most comparable to games such as soccer and basketball, these are games that involve one team facing off against another. They typically involve some form of teamwork and role delegation, where each player has a specific task that uniquely contributes to the team’s victory. An example includes Apex Legends, where one player can be in charge of scouting for enemies, while another is responsible for keeping the team alive with heals and revives.
Most comparable to games such as golf, boxing, and racing, these involve games where one player competes against one or more others to achieve a specific goal.
The most obvious form of competition would involve a player going directly against another player, which would include genres such as fighting games or card games. There is also a form of esport where no direct interaction between players takes place, such as speedrunning, in which players compete over how quickly they can complete a game.
Benefits of Esports
While it’s obvious that traditional sports have the benefit of maintaining physical fitness, the benefits of Esports are more internal.
Team games require the use of teamwork, and teamwork necessitates high quality communication between players through voice chat. The criteria for good communication between players in games are identical to any group-work in both schools and workplaces, which include regulating emotion, understanding and respecting the perspectives of others, and being open to receiving and implementing feedback.
Knowing that a large proportion of youths enjoy video games, it can be beneficial to utilize video games as a vehicle for both interpersonal and intrapersonal growth. Vanta Leagues helps to catalyze this process of growth by training its coaches to emphasize these skills during both practices and scrims, while ensuring a safe environment free of toxicity. To learn more, check out the full list of gaming advantages on our website.