Is professional gaming a sport?

Culture & Society

The turnover of digital games dwarfs the film market. Millions of people watch Let's Play videos. Professional gaming ("e-sport (short for: electronic sport)" Term for a computer game competition based on network-based multiplayer modes (via LAN or Internet). In e-sport, individual gamers or teams (clans) compete against each other Countless smaller tournaments, big international championships, which are played in stadiums and mostly broadcast live online. Important e-sports titles are Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Starcraft as well as the online card game Hearthstone. Doing sport professionally is called pro-gamer. ") Fills entire stadiums. Gaming is a common cultural phenomenon.

Computer games have gradually penetrated into all ages and social classes. Playing on the computer is no longer a marginal phenomenon, but a mass phenomenon. 43% of Germans regularly play video or computer games. [1] The rapidly growing market for computer games is therefore also of increasing importance for the entire culture and media industry and is increasingly outperforming other entertainment media. The turnover of the branch is meanwhile higher than that of the cinema branch, the annual growth rates of the game industry are far above average. At the same time the cultural asset computer game has become a socio-political issue. For example, public funding for high-quality computer games similar to the film funding model is currently under discussion. The social acceptance of games is also reflected in the great willingness of fans and interested parties to support game developers through crowdfunding.

The gaming community is diverse. Let’s Players have built a fan base worth millions with their commented game videos. For the audience, the Let's Players are first and foremost entertainers - but also role models that they try to emulate with their own videos. Others express their passion for the medium in the form of disguises. The so-called cosplayers embody their favorite characters from animes, films or computer games. The costume artists can exchange ideas at cosplay meetings and championships, because behind the hobby there is a lot of creativity and manual labor.

A cosplayer represents a character from the video game series "Sonic".

Tinkerers enrich the game world with mods by individually redesigning computer games according to their own wishes and ideas and making them available to others. For example, bonus levels and multiplayer modes are added or characters are given different clothes.

Thousands of people meet offline at trade fairs like Gamescom. There, game innovations are presented, games are played and current topics are discussed. New hardware is also made available to a wide audience here. Many games have an online multiplayer mode that allows you to get in touch with friends or strangers around the world. It becomes more private at LAN parties, where the participants network their computers or consoles locally in order to play with or against each other.

Thousands of game enthusiasts meet every year at video game fairs such as Gamescom in Cologne.

Computer games have become a sport. At e-sports tournaments, full-time professionals sometimes play for prize money in the millions and attract tens of thousands of fans. In Germany, too, 3 million people watch e-sports tournaments at least once a month or even play in an amateur league themselves. [3]