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13 Reasons Why Esports Are Not Sports (In My Humble Opinion)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

As an increasing number of sports make their way onto the list of Olympic competitors, the debate around Esports grows stronger with each passing year. While many argue that there is insufficient physical exertion involved to qualify Esports as an actual sport, many will counter this argument and insist on the opposite.

Technically speaking, Esports do not count as real sports. There is no real physical exertion that goes into Esports, nor is there a requirement for physical fitness. The mental and physical effort and resultant exertion differ significantly between Esports and conventional sports.

While there is no doubt that Esports require a significant amount of skill and stamina for players to participate on a competitive level, many will argue that it is more of a skill than a sport. There are several reasons for this argument, but the bottom line is to do with physical exercise.

1. Esports Lack Physical Prowess

Any dictionary definition of the word “sport” will give more or less the same answer. The general consensus when consulting a dictionary definition of “sport” is that it is a physical activity that people engage in for enjoyment, competition, physical exertion, and socialization.

There is no debate that Esports require enormous skill and coordination to compete. This aspect is naturally very similar to conventional sport. However, there is simply not enough physical activity involved in Esports to genuinely be considered a sport.

2. Esports Are More Of A Skill Than A Sport

Like chess, card games such as solitaire, and other similar activities, Esports involve a great deal of skill and strategy. It would be fair to say that Esports’ level of strategy and skill is very similar to that of conventional sports. However, the skills and strategy required differ significantly.

Through hours of training, Esports competitors must master countless combinations with their game controllers to deliver the desired result and move forward in their games. While requiring enormous dedication and significant training, these skills cannot be qualified as physical skills such as those exhibited on a sports field, arena, or similar venue.

3. Esports Do Not Require Full Body Movement

Most sports require full-body movements, and most cannot be performed while remaining stationary. With the entire body moving, sports employ several body parts to allow competitors to engage in the activity.

On the contrary, Esports generally only involve movement and coordination of the fingers and hands. This difference is significant and should illustrate – to a large degree – why Esports cannot be considered a sport.

4. Esport’s Mental Effects Differ From Conventional Sports

Sports have long been known for their mental health benefits. Conventional sports will cause your entire body to feel tired (in a good way), consuming your energy while simultaneously leaving you feeling energized. Your mood is boosted, your mind is clearer, and your general demeanor is more positive.

The positive benefits of working together in a team alongside fellow players cannot be downplayed. Strong bonds are formed between players, and as social creatures, humans benefit significantly from these bonds.

The mental effects of Esports are somewhat different from those of conventional sports. Headaches aside, long hours spent in front of a screen while engaging in Esports can result in grogginess, irritation, and depression.  

5. Esport’s Physical Effects Differ From Conventional Sports

The physical effects of Esports compared to conventional sports also differ significantly. Sports will cause physical exhaustion while helping you build muscle and lose fat. Joints and muscles are strengthened, and cardiovascular fitness is greatly improved.

On the other hand, Esports will generally not give players any of the above. Still, they will instead cause grogginess, headaches, and exhaustion on a different level. Esports are often synonymous with a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for hours while consuming snacks and staring at a screen will do more harm than good to your physical health.

6. Esports Have Little Physical Benefits

The physical benefits offered by conventional sports include improved muscle tone, improved cardiovascular fitness, increased flexibility and suppleness, increased lung capacity, and a healthier heart.

However, participating in Esports does not offer most of the abovementioned physical benefits. Despite the high levels of skill and critical thinking involved in Esports, the lack of physical exertion rules them out as real sports.

7. Esports Can Cause Health Problems

Due to the high number of hours spent in front of a screen with very little physical movement, Esports can cause many health problems. Constant exposure to blue light has been shown to cause eye strain and retina damage.

Some other health issues associated with the conditions under which Esports are played include; obesity, cancer, heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and a significant amount of back strain.

8. Esports Use Fewer Muscles

While Esports competitors may have to be able to execute over three hundred moves in a single minute, the muscles used are only in a small section of the body. This differs enormously from other sports, where most of the body’s muscles are used at some point during play.

9. Esports Don’t Cause Physical Injuries In The Same Way As Sports

Sports are synonymous with physical injuries, and millions of Americans injure themselves every year while partaking in sports. Some of the injuries include ankle sprains, pulled groins, knee injuries, and concussions.

With Esports, the injuries are somewhat different, including wrist pain, elbow pain, shoulder pain, and thumb injuries.

10. Esports Are In Their Own Category

Like motorsports, Esports essentially enjoy their own category of sporting that sets them apart under a different banner. This designation makes the most sense. It distinguishes Esports as its own set of activities entirely, giving it credit where it is due without attempting to tie it in under the banner of sports.

11. Esports Require To Many External Elements

Just as with motorsports, Esports require external elements to participate. Motorsports competitors cannot participate without their motor vehicles. In the same vein, Esports competitors cannot compete without an assortment of equipment. 

These physical items are relied on in Esports instead of the human body. The standing of an Esport competitor in the activity will often rely on the level of their external equipment instead of their physical fitness and endurance.

12. Esports Don’t Involve Complex Physical Movements

A significant part of the enjoyment of sports is being able to witness the human body perform incredible feats. Highly-trained bodies achieving technically complex movements that are often beautiful to watch is a major feature of sports that makes it appealing to the viewer. 

This is also what sets conventional sports apart from Esports. Watching Esports, a viewer will see very little in complex physical techniques and movements. The movement is all in the Esports player’s hands and fingers, and the strategy and skill are proven on the screen.

13. Esports Players Don’t Really Need To Be Physically Fit

Any conventional sport, irrespective of how physically demanding it is, will require a certain degree of physical fitness to allow players to compete on any sort of professional level (or even on a casual level, for that matter).

On the other hand, Esports players do not necessarily need to be physically fit to compete. So long as they can perform the necessary tasks and ensure their mental stamina is up to standard, Esports players do not require long hours of training at the gym to enable them to compete.

In Closing

While there are two very strong conflicting opinions about the classification of Esports as a sport, the fact remains that Esports does not involve sufficient physical exertion to be classified as a sport. Just like motorsports, Esports should enjoy its own category in the sporting world instead of attempting to force its way in amongst the physically demanding “real sports.”

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.