Professional gamers can train longer and harder than professional athletes. A track runner or swimmer will tire and need rest, but a pro gamer can continue training throughout the day and well in to the night. This begs the question, “Could electronic sports ever find their way to the Olympics?”
Electronic gaming is big business, and some tournaments bring keyboard athletes from all over the globe to compete for prizes that often exceed a typical year’s salary for most professionals. Entry fees to competitive LAN tournaments can be quite high, and some professional gamers take on sponsors to cover these fees and the cost for their trips around the globe.
So, with competitive video gaming being such a big deal, does it ever stand a chance at becoming an Olympic sport? Some would argue it has every reason to be. The skill and training required to make it to top rankings in games like StarCraft 2, Call of Duty, Command and Conquer, and even the World of Warcraft leagues can easily be compared to that of a professional archer or curler. The coordination and planning it takes to best a top contender in an RTS must be incredible.
E-sports are often met with a roll of the eyes and a chuckle among those that haven’t witnessed the kind of dedication these digital athletes put in to their craft. For this reason, among others, the sport isn’t often highlighted by media that don’t focus on the world of technology. This isn’t the case everywhere.
In South Korea, popular RTS (real-time strategy) StarCraft has taken to the mainstream. League matches commonly draw tens of thousands of fans to packed venues and even more watch on cable television. Top players are viewed as celebrities much like a baseball player would be in the states.
As the world of electronic sports continues to grow, one can only assume that the amount of attention players receive will flourish with it. Who knows, if a few more countries embraced e-sports the way South Korea has, we may not be far off from seeing gamers like HuK, TTOne, or SLush on a box of Wheaties.