Esports (or electronic sports, which involve competitive video gaming events) has seen rapid growth over recent years. From tournaments hosted by professional leagues to smaller events hosted at gaming centers and colleges, gamers compete in games that have become cultural touchstones – an audience larger than even that of NBA or NHL competition. ESports looks set to stay with us.
Esports may seem like pure entertainment, but they also present opportunities for cognitive development and socialization. Just like any sport, eSports can improve cognitive flexibility and decision-making when designed to be interactive and engaging; these skills can then be applied both academically and at work.
ESports can foster teamwork and collaboration as many multiplayer games require players to work together and communicate. Many gamers have formed close friendships through eSports that offer support in stressful or difficult times, as well as contributing to mental health through interactions like camaraderie. Furthermore, competition helps build perseverance skills which are integral components of long-term mental wellbeing.
E-Sports can be enjoyed by anyone with access to a gaming device and the patience to learn the game, even those who may have physical restrictions that prevent them from competing at top levels, like Street Fighter players with braces on their legs or those using mouth control of CS:GO controllers for example.
Esports teams employ the same types of support personnel that traditional sports teams employ, such as managers, marketing staff and technology and finance specialists. Some eSports teams boast budgets upward of $10 million with as many as dozens of full-time employees; as evidence of its rising prominence the Overwatch League recently secured an ESPN/Disney XD TV contract for multi-year coverage.
Though eSports are still evolving, they can have an enormously positive effect on millions of lives around the globe. E-sports can help relieve stress, promote healthier lifestyles and foster an inclusive culture, all while teaching valuable life lessons and inspiring individuals to pursue their passions.
Future growth projections for eSports look bright as more schools establish programs and the public becomes aware of its benefits. While addiction to gaming and adequate supervision should always be taken into consideration when discussing eSports as part of society, eSports remain an ever-increasing part of life.