Are professional gamers really athletes? | The Tylt
Are professional gamers really athletes?
'League of Legends' championships can fill entire football stadiums, draw up to 32 million viewers and pay out millions of dollars in prizes and sponsorships to professional players. How is this not a sport?
And just like in any other professional sport, video gamers' skills decline rapidly with age. Most professional players peak before 24 years of age. It's tough to keep up with the grueling training schedule and maintain the reflexes necessary to compete professionally.
But let's get real—we're talking about playing video games. Some pro gamers are as "healthy" as a 60-year-old, and maintain truly terrible diets and habits that would not be tolerated in most professional sports. Many are in worse physical shape than your average person.
"Someone of this age should be much fitter, but perhaps this is the occupational hazard of the professional gamer who can spend around 10 hours a day in front of a screen."
And while Riot Games has been successful in securing P-1 visas for professional 'League of Legends' players, the rest of the industry has not. How can eSports really be a sport if the U.S. government does not consider the majority of professional video gamers athletes?
The Internet seems torn on whether or not gamers are athletes, especially as more and more sponsors pour money into the exploding eSports industry. But many people think it's insulting to "actual" athletes to refer to gamers as athletes.
Pro gamers are extremely skilled and have worked hard to be good at what they do but they are not athletes. People who play sports are.