Esports Rant: A small step for men, a big step for Esports
Whether you agree or not, governments of many countries are discussing to or have already changed the status of Esports into what could be called ‘normal sports’. There are rules and regulations that apply to the sport environment that should be applicable for Esports as well. This means that gaming will no longer be considered as a simple form of entertainment but as professional sports, following official rules and governed by official structures. Nowadays, Esports are self sufficient and have their own revenue generating championships. The teams competing at the professional level are very structured and can be compared to any other sports team. Every team has their own players, a general manager in charge of the team and recruitment, medical and technical staff to support the players and a huge fan base following the team throughout the different competitions.
In my opinion, arguments like “gaming cannot be a sport because it does not involve physical activity, develops obesity and laziness among our children” are terribly lacking in common sense and prove how stubborn people can be. By looking through many forums this was the top argument people had against Esports. Obviously, in the mind of most people Esports will never be ‘a real sport’ as it does not involve enough movement and will only ever be a form of entertainment before anything else. Which is absolutely true, but we have to understand that this is not the topic of the debate. Considering Esports at the same level as professional sports has nothing to do with pudgy kids playing video games for fun.
Recognizing Esports at the same level as any other professional sport implies very important issues for this existing industry. In order to sustain the industry’s development, strong rules and regulations have to be created as these already exist for all professional sports. Indeed, at the moment Esports are growing without a strong governance and are not obliged to apply to any international rules. The International eSports Federation (IeSF) is the only global governing body in existence so far, but nobody in Esports is obliged to be part of the organization. The way the Esports competitive world works is comparable to the professional tennis world tour. There are several major competitions and in between smaller ones with less challenges. Now, imagine that the tennis world tour does not require the players and teams to follow any specific rules, leaving the managers and organizers the right to use the players however they want to. Esports could be compared as a huge jungle where the law of the strongest is the only law that matters. It is not possible to leave such a big industry growing without any rules and waiting until something very bad happens to react.
Here are some examples of issues that exist because of a lack of rules and regulations. First of all; pro players have to fight for their own rights as they are not protected by any official laws. For example, there are no existing unions for pro players that try to protect their rights. Last year some of the biggest Esports teams tried to set demands for them to be willing to participate in tournaments, but that’s all. Players of smaller teams are not even always paid on time and can be kicked out of the team without having any compensation whatsoever. Doping is mostly never addressed the right way, even though the IeSF is part of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Doping is common in Esports and is very rarely condemned by the the competition’s organizers. Corruption is a huge threat for the sustainability of the industry as well as is illegal betting. All these reasons hopefully, could be regulated and controlled better if Esports are considered as official sports.
It is important to understand that leaving such a massive industry to itself represents a potential danger for all people taking part in Esports. With so much money involved it is obvious that many people will intend to make their money whatever it takes. Of course it is already happening and that’s exactly why we should make things change as fast as possible. Interestingly, the Esports world is not necessarily in favor of this change, claiming that they prefer to stay independent from any government. Moreover, all these kinds of rules and regulations exist for a long time in the sport world but have never fully prevented any of the issues presented here above.
The debate is currently at a dead end where pros and cons are not able to lead to a proper decision. In my opinion, the change will and should happen sooner rather than later. Once gaming will officially become a sport, it will enable a sustainable development of Esports and hopefully realize even more dreams that it already does.
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