Esports have become a part of our culture. So what are esports games and leagues exactly?
“Similar to [physical] sports, [esports] players use specific skillsets that they have honed for endless hours against others to prove who is the best,” Luke Brue, director of sales and marketing at Esports Arena in Santa Ana, California tells Parentology.
Esports games are so popular now that both young people and adults follow their favorite teams and leagues the way they would a traditional sports team. They track player stats and trades, studying team compositions, and watching games on Twitch or in person when possible. Esports have become a varsity sport in some schools, and a potential career option for some.
Esports in the Context of Traditional Sports
Like professional sports, esports is the umbrella under which several games sit. Consider the NFL, MLB, and NBA. These sport-specific leagues fall under the category of professional sports. Each sport has characteristics that set them apart from one another, from the type of ball used to the number of teammates in play. Esports is similar.
Esports is composed of myriad video games featuring differing genres, all separated into their respective leagues. Like traditional sports, the various games in esports are highly-specific and demand unique skill-sets. For instance, in 2016, Blizzard Entertainment founded the Overwatch League (OWL), a professional league dedicated entirely to their game, Overwatch. Overwatch is a team-based, first-person shooter. As such, competitors in the Overwatch League have developed skill-sets specific to that genre of esport.
Similar parallels exist between the training aspects of professional sports and esports.
“Being able to find other like-minded players to compete against, train with, or even team with (depending on the game) is really what it’s all about,” says Brue.
Similar to traditional sports, esports teammates fulfill different roles within the team. Teams also develop playbooks and must determine when to effectively execute the appropriate plays during competition. There are specific scenarios that merit defensive tactics, and there are times that team captains encourage their teammates to employ more aggressive playstyles. These decisions are often impacted by the opposing team, so effective captains will often study opponents’ past matches, team composition, and strategies. Brue believes that there is a great deal of strategy involved in high-tier competitive play, and competition is good because it drives the industry.
However, what makes esports unique among competitive sports is the global community.
“What sets esports apart from both casual gaming and [traditional] sports are the communities that bring it to life,” Brue observes. “The new generation of esports is giving the opportunity to kids around the world to grow up not only being accepted but encouraged to play games and be social about it.”
Obviously, traditional sports also has the capacity to bring fans together, but esports appeals to sports-minded individuals, as well as those who were not interested in competing or who were not able to compete in a traditional sport. Now, those who may have felt ostracized growing up, have a place to play, to compete, to test their skills, and to feel accepted and celebrated for doing so.
“Esports has been built on the dreams and determination of gamers around the world, and it will continue to grow with the ongoing support of parents allowing their children to express themselves through gaming,” Brue says.
What Are Esports Games – Sources
Luke Brue — Esports Arena