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The emergence of "eSports is a 21st-century phenomena, which inevitably has its impacts on the perception of traditional sports. On the ground that eSports and traditional sports take part in an entirely different medium, many people question the legitimacy of sports.



ESports, usually among professional gamers, refers to an umbrella term for organized competitive computer gaming, which has been in existence since the 1970s. During the past 40 years, eSports has evolved tremendously and grown to an international scale. In 2014, there were 205 million viewers dedicated to eSports; the 2013 League of Legends world championship had as many as 32 million online viewers, doubling the numbers of that of baseball's World Series and even NBA finals. Other than online viewership, the 2014 League of Legends world champion attracted nearly 40,000 fans to attend the event in person in Sangam Stadium in Seoul, which was the same arena for soccer World Cup semi-final in 2002.[1]

While South Korea is considered as the leader of the development of eSports, other places, such as those in Europe and North America, are catching up. In summer 2016, in Seattle's Key Arena, 11,000 fans attended a "Dota 2 event, which had the highest prize pool in eSports' history of 20.7 million dollars in total.[1]

Differences and comparisons[edit]

Consumption motives[edit]

As esports has been attracting attentions all over the world, the academia has also shown interests in the brand new phenomena.

The International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance (ICHPEP-SD)’s Journal of Research published an article focused on the consumption motives of eSports and Traditional Sports. To be specific, the article explored 15 motivational factors affecting the amount of time spent on eSports gaming through a survey sample of 515 college students and traditional sports event viewers. The result of the survey shows that the competitive nature of eSports gaming is significant in determining one’s time spent on gaming while peer pressure is another marginal factor. Subsequent analysis in the article suggests that marketers of eSports may find focusing on creating competitions among players and higher rewards for winning beneficial in expanding their industry. In addition, as peer pressure is another motivational factor, the article suggests that more emphasis shall be put on the interactive nature of games.[2]


ESports teams invest plenty of time focusing on strategic game-play, which would ultimately decide who the victor and loser is. Games, such as "League of Legends and "Starcraft, put huge emphasis on strategy .

In traditional sports, strategy separates elite and good sportspeople. Usually, sportspeople adopt different strategies against different opponents, depending on their opponents' strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, different conditions also require a corresponding tactics.[1]


Esports players do not have to be as physically fit as traditional sportspeople. On average, an elite pro-gamer spend 14 hours a day in front of his/her computer. Nevertheless, because of the belief that better body fitness improves the wellness of minds, many eSports players are very conscious of their meals and exercise levels.

Most traditional sportspeople are extremely fit. They have fewer body fats and stronger muscles. Moreover, they possess exceptional stamina - "Novak Djokovic, renowned tennis player, spent 20 hours on court to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 2014.[1]

Reaction times[edit]

Elite eSports players need exceptionally quick reflexes and minds. On average, pro-gamers make more than 300 "actions" per minutes. Researches also showed that gaming enthusiasts have better reflexes and quicker minds then the general public.

Traditional sportspeople also have to be quick in reaction, making decisions within fractions of a second. lightning hand-eye coordination is also essentially important. In tennis, only less than half a second is given to react to a 120 mph serve.[1]

Social recognition of eSports in the world[edit]

South Korea[edit]

In "South Korea, games are broadcast on live television and have a viewer base as many as 1 million viewers. Also, in a country where professional gamers are considered celebrities, the gaming industry not only dominates certain sectors of the local market but also has a global influence.

Since the 21st century, online gaming has established itself as "huge Internet-based leisure activity and a popular and expanding form of entertainment" in South Korea. Moreover, the country has also developed and led various areas of online gaming, most notably eSports. The rapid development of eSports in South Korea is intertwined with the media. With multiple platforms dedicating to game competitions, professional gamers often become celebrities, with a very lucrative salary and huge fan base. As a result, many people aspired to become a famous professional gamers, which contributes to the national fervor for online gaming as a sport. Moreover, there is significantly fewer concerns for the "geek" taboos that gamers have to live with in western countries. All these signify the social recognition level of eSports in South Korea.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Dirs, Ben. “Is computer gaming really sport?”. Web. 26 May 2016.
  2. ^ Lee, Donghun, and Linda J. Schoenstedt. "Comparison Of Esports And Traditional Sports Consumption Motives." ICHPER-SD Journal Of Research 6.2 (2011): 39-44. ERIC. Web. 26 May 2016.
  3. ^ Jin, Dal Y. Korea's Online Gaming Empire. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2010. Internet resource.


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