E-sports superstar, Ninja, is the first professional gamer to be featured on the cover of ESPN.
League of Legends, Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Overwatch, Fortnite. These are a few of the titles we should familiarize ourselves with.
The best players of these games are treated like celebrities. Many of the most notable ones are making well into the millions of dollars on endorsement deals and tournament prizes.
“More than 360 million people watched a livestream of a 2017 “League of Legends” eSports competition.” (Link).
That’s massively more engagement than both The Super Bowl and The NBA Finals.
Are E-Sports a “sport”? Probably not.
However, if you’ve ever tuned in, there is a ton of vocal communication, strategy, critical thinking, and finger-eye coordination necessary to perform. It’s fascinating, and VERY difficult to be good at. But a sport? I’m not so sure.
They’re something much larger than that.
So, is anything that’s founded in competition considered a sport?
Grades in school?? — Wait, kids might be totally juiced up to see that the Spelling Bee Champ is featured on ESPN’s cover! Good idea! Nope. It’s a video game god instead.
A league of their own. A lot like current reality, but scarier.
I’ve been draw to the following terrifying thought for some time, but rarely voice it.
Bare with me while I piece these ideas together.
Are we somehow drawn to self-sabotaging behaviors? People have a hard time accepting social hierarchies as a natural tendency already.
You know, the whole male-physical-dominance, capitalism, and success or social aptitude and status credited only to the people who learn how to ‘win the game’ (currently based on money and sex appeal). That’s a grossly lean explanation, but if you’re reading my blog, you’re probably intellectually sound enough to already understand the commonly-complained-about social structures. What happens then, when we plug into Virtual Reality (which is the obvious next step for E-Sports, and don’t argue with me on that) and the entire goal is to ‘compete for dominance’? Well, the trend is for more and more folks to be plugging in, right? We’re well aware of the possibility of future generations spending more time in virtual worlds than in reality. Is this the social structure we want to start with? Absolute dominance and 1% fame? Yikes. The socialists of the world should hate e-sports.
Many people dislike our current reality because they feel displaced, and unwanted, valueless to society at large… so they leave, and enter another world, sometimes virtual. It looks to me like we’re not heading toward greener pastures, though.
In these virtual worlds, these ‘games’, these sports: tyranny, power, and dominance is king. This is what we’ve popularized. The first big step toward VR in my opinion is Professional Gaming. The winners are celebrity heroes making millions while the majority-millions spend countless hours wasting away in these games without any hope for E-Fame.
Sounds eerily similar to what non-gamers and gamers alike currently complain about in our social circles and in the work place.
Chasing things like Money and Hollywood A-lists has left people depressed, anxious, and all-together miserable.
One real problem is, an e-gamer who’s not famous still doesn’t make minimum wage. They can’t take care of themselves.
They might waste away in the basement, shirt full of cheetoh crumbs and mountain dew stains, sometimes relying on their parents’ income to survive (this is a depiction of the extreme of course).
With so many folks tuned in, I have a hard time feeling good about the fact that we’ve chosen to replicate a tyrannical social structure and competitively dominant hierarchy within the most directly relevant virtual society that we know. Don’t get me wrong, traditional sports have the same primal aggression and simplistic hierarchy structure, but much fewer recreational athletes fall victim to the downsides. Real sports are actually a very healthy recreational activity. E-sports? Not so much.
To Ninja and other famous e-gamers, I don’t blame you one bit.
To America? “Scoreboard”.
Robots 1 – Humans 0