When esports first started to be something on the public's radar, a lot of people were quick to dismiss the idea that playing video games, or even worse watching people play video games, could be counted as a sport. Surely sitting down and playing on a computer is basically the opposite of sport. It misses everything counts as a sport.
Similarly, many people dismissed video games as a fad when they first came out and then as the lowest form of art when it became clear that Nintendo was here to stay.
People loved video games and they wanted to play them but no one ever thought they could be a cultural art form. Something that is accepted as a way to create art. In the same way, no fans of traditional sport viewed esport as anything other than a bit of fun, something which gave people a chance to show off but never anything could or would rival actual real sport. There were never going to be people packing in stadiums to watch others play video games, who was going to pay salaries and were any companies actually going to sponsor it.
However now, there are plenty of signs that these things have actually managed to happen. Video games have become a cultural phenomenon and many video game makers make games that are like art, they are beautiful, with deep and interesting storylines. Many are like movies with actors brought into play part and scriptwriters employed to write a story people can follow. You even get so-called ‘game artists. While in esports there are millionaire players, companies falling over themselves to sponsor players and international championships. There are two things which stand out though as showing the progress in video games.
Esports is on television
The first is the fact that you can know watch esports on proper well-known sports channels who show it because they know it will have a big audience. Esports tournaments are watched by people across the world, hungry to see their favorite players and favorite teams player their favorite games. Sporting bodies are taking it so seriously that there is now Esports Betting, where you can bet on your favorite esports star and their teams. It really is being treated like a proper sport with commentators, sponsors and big tv networks backing it. In fact, some tournaments have had more than 4 million viewers! Esports has absolutely hit the mainstream.
The BAFTAS for Video Games
The BAFTA awards in Britain prove how far video games have come as part of modern culture. The BAFTAs are the biggest awards body in Britain and in 2004 they decided that they would begin honoring video games designers. It is amazing that such a big body decided to embrace and highlight video games and their creators. The fact they recognized that along with TV, Film, and Music, video games deserved to be looked at and honored was a huge endorsement for video games makers. They are clearly part of the cultural milieu.