I was at a party, and I was talking to a friend of a friend. He struck me as your average, 20-something, somewhat socially awkward, nerd (without any impressive intelligence). And this fucker would not shut up about eSports! He went on and on about how popular it is, and how it’s going to be the next big thing in America. He cited a bunch statistics, all of which seemed dubious to me.
I’ll admit, I was just annoyed by the guy (and I had been drinking), so I thought it would be fun to argue with him. I raised a number of objections that he didn’t have any counters to. (He just kept calling old, which hurt my feelings! I’m in my 30s….) Admittedly, however, I don’t know anything about eSports. But here’s what strikes me as problematic:
First, in sports like boxing (and, to a lesser degree, football), you don’t have to actually participate in the sport to appreciate it. Everyone can see and understand when someone is punched in the face or makes an amazing catch. Compare that to something like BJJ. In order to appreciate BJJ, you really have to practice it. Most people have no idea what’s happening when they watch a BJJ match, and they're bored. And so, the popularity of BJJ is limited to the number of people who practice it. eSports seems like BJJx10. I tried to watch a League of Legends match (or game, or whatever the fuck). I had no idea what was happening. It seemed ridiculous.
Second, technology advances at an amazing rate. Won’t the video games they play 20 years from now be extremely different from what they’re playing now? This is a problem even the NFL faces, that the technology changes the game, and consequently some fans lose interest. It’s no longer the game they remember. This strikes as a potentially huge limitation to the popularity of eSports. Kids 20 years from now will not be playing anything like the game their parents played, will they?
Third, the guy kept citing stats that compared “eSports” to individual actual sports, like the NBA, or the NHL. So, he’d claim that eSports is more popular than the NBA. And eSports is more popular than the NHL. But, isn’t this misleading? Doesn’t the term “eSports” comprise many different video games? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to compare “eSports” to “Sports”? Or compare the popularity of individual eSports (like League of Legends) to individual sports (like baseball)?
Finally, eSports are clearly fucking gay. In actual sports, people are demonstrating actual physical excellence. In eSports, people are pretending to demonstrate actual physical excellence. This was the funniest part of my argument with this nerd. He tried to shame me by implying that I had some outdated ideas about the importance of physical strength and masculinity. So, I asked him whether the character he played in these video games looked like a skinny little bitch, or was he a muscular man. Of course, his avatar is was a muscular man. These eSports are just people pretending to be physically awesome. It’s an imitation of real sports. There's no actual danger, no risk, and no actual physical awesomeness being displayed. Surely, at some point, people will realize this... right?
Anyway, thoughts? Am I totally wrong here? Are there going to be a bunch of fucking eSports bars popping up all over town soon?