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The ESports Athletes Who Tried To Switch Games

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the obscure-sports-quarterly dept.

The Almighty Buck 146

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Jordan's infamous attempt at baseball aside, athletes have sometimes switched sports successfully in the past — and perhaps a sure a sign as any that eSports are coming of age is pro gaming's top players are now trying to do the same. A new feature looks at the top players who've tried to make the jump from one first person shooter to another, or even between genre — from StarCraft 2 to League of Legends — and finds that while some have thrived, others has shown that each title can require a very particular, and sadly non-transferrable, skill set."

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Not terribly big jumps (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 months ago | (#47632959)

Most of those jumps are relatively small. Switching between HoN, LoL, and DOTA isnt really similar to switching from basketball to baseball. Many of the skills (kiting, lasthitting, etc) are very similar in the games; a lot of the barrier is just knowledge (what champions do what, particular mechanics differences.

Ditto BroodWar to SC2. Its been pretty widely known that BW players moving to SC2 tend to be very good at SC2 because of the similarity of the games, and the reputed higher difficulty of BW.

eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

tyggna (1405643) | about 3 months ago | (#47632989)

because they're constantly subjected to rule changes. Every week, month, year, decade, there is the potential for having a very upsetting change in the fundamentals of the game. If eSports players can't keep up with these, then they fall out of brackets. That's why the people who were the top of the top 3 years ago aren't. Maybe that's what'll prevent eSports from ever gaining the same prominence as regular sports--an athlete can expect to have a 10-25 year career. A pro-gamer would be lucky to see a 10 year career, and I don't expect that'll ever change.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (5, Insightful)

platypussrex (594064) | about 3 months ago | (#47633053)

Another difference is that 50,000,000 people won't pay to watch eSports on any given weekend but they will for football and basketball etc.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (4, Informative)

Afty0r (263037) | about 3 months ago | (#47633209)

Keep counting...

A significant portion of my friends from my late teens are now employed not in *making* games, but in casting, organising, events management, marketing and more for eSports events... The growth is beyond phenomenal.

I believe a League of Legends event recently sold out the Staples Centre faster than any other event in history...

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633569)

The current year major tourney viewer count is 32 million for League of Legends, 20 million for Dota 2. To put that in perspective, only 100 million watch the Superbowl. Yes, League of Legends is 1/3 as popular as the Superbowl. Strange but that is the way the future is heading. Should we include twitch then it may just be that 50 million people pay to watch other people play video games any given week.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633769)

Should we include twitch

Not if they continue to mute archived game streams for having game music in them.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (3, Informative)

alvinrod (889928) | about 3 months ago | (#47634155)

To be fair, most of the games being played now are at most five years old, whereas many traditional sports have been around for the better part of half a century or more. In another 100 years, these games (or whatever comes after them) may have just as much of a viewer base.

Interestingly enough, in South Korea they're about as big as traditional sports. Back in the day they even had TV channels that would broadcast professional Starcraft matches. I expect that in time, the rest of the world will grow to be more like Korea in that respect and that eventually there will be an ESPN channel dedicated to e-sports.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 3 months ago | (#47633055)

Can you explain the "fundamental" changes that happen in these games?

I know that characters and weapons get nerfed as part of general balance tweaks. I wouldn't call those fundamental changes.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633107)

One example would be Starcraft 2. When the Heart of the Swarm expansion hit, it introduced new units, redesigned units, new abilities, basically a lot more than your basic balance tweaks. Every tournament switched to HotS immediately if not sooner. New units like the widow mine, oracle, and swarm host are still somewhat controversial today because of how big of an impact they can have on games.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633129)

Its not fundamental for your random average player. But even the smallest nerf or balance change can have drastic consequence on pro-level games. Pro players have to be constantly up to date with all the latest game changes in order to stay at the top.

Fundamental changes to Tetris (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633623)

Can you explain the "fundamental" changes that happen in these games?

In single-player Tetris since 2001, infinite spin [ytmnd.com] and playing forever [harddrop.com] made score attack trivial, and Ryan Davis of GameSpot wrote [gamespot.com] of infinite spin that "it actually breaks Tetris". It ended up changing the most common single-player game format to time to complete 40 lines. In multiplayer, the rules [harddrop.com] on when a T-Spin [ytmnd.com] sends extra garbage to the other player have fluctuated ever since the rotation rules were revised in Tetris Worlds [harddrop.com] .

Re: eSports aren't like regular Sports (2)

BaronM (122102) | about 3 months ago | (#47633089)

Have you ever tried to keep up with constitutes a "catch" in the NFL? Rules change all the time in pro sports, and players need to keep up. There may be good reasons why pro videogame players are locked to a particular game, but I doubt rule changes have much to do with it.

More likely, in my opinion, is that pro games excel at the game they first learned deeply enough to play "intuitively", and trying to switch is like trying to switch to another language. Do-able, sure, but requiring a long period of immersion to "speak like a native".

catch has gotten more specific, skill not changed (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47633341)

With very few exceptions, I don't think refinements to the details like exactly what counts as a catch have changed how the game is played much. A receiver tries to catch a ball today the same way they tried to catch it in 1970. The skill hasn't changed. It's possible that an attempted catch might be ruled a fumble today and incomplete 40 years ago, but that changes what the officials do. The player will still do the exact same thing - reach out and try to get control of the ball.

Of course there are exceptions, primarily changes related to player safety, where it's now against the rules to do certain dangerous things.

Re:catch has gotten more specific, skill not chang (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 3 months ago | (#47633933)

I'm not so sure I agree. When you practice out routes and sideline routes your whole career counting on push-out rules and then suddenly being pushed out means you're out of bounds for the catch, that's massive. An out route can't go as far out, and a sideline route has to be further in from the sideline. It's probably a bigger change than going from NCAA football with the one-foot rule to the NFL with the two-foot rule.

The reply rules made what counts as a catch a lot more strict, but a good solid catch with control of the ball was always the goal. Thayt didn't change too much other than getting incomplete passes more accurately called. The push-out rule changing OTOH changed how the routes are run on the same size field.

Re: eSports aren't like regular Sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633351)

It depends on game type. Now there's basically two that draw people watching events and pay out millions of dollars, RTS and MOBA. Those probably aren't simply a switch, the same as the aspiring professional gamer of the late 90s early 2000s wouldn't just pick up starcraft(the original) from quake and automatically be good. However, the person who was really good at quake(the original) could, maybe not instantly but within a few weeks pick up say quake3 and play on pretty much the same level or counterstrike or whatever other shooter. Maybe not pro-level immediately, but like anything at that level you have to play a lot, you have to be accepted into the pro community to practice against the best, and you have to have a complete understanding of the game to the point where it's just ingrained. That's a hard thing to get the will to do again.

Re: eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633637)

How long would it take a professional player to switch from, say, Tetris to Dr. Mario? Is that closer to Quake III vs. Counter-Strike, or closer to Quake vs. Starcraft?

Re: eSports aren't like regular Sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633931)

I don't even know if that's an actual question or not, if Tetris or Dr. Mario had professional players or not... Hell I don't even know what Dr. Mario is really. I mean I know I saw adds for it when I was a teenager but that never appealed to me.

I followed the PC games where the money was. Mostly, when I was young enough to be that good at them. Those were usually games that the hardware companies wanted to help promote to sponsor events and sell their crap. I gave up when they went to q3, because I didn't want to play something I hated for 10 hours a day and only followed the exceptionally large tournaments there... There was a common theme, the people winning the tournaments were all very good quake players that I used to play with. My point was that people that are good at one type can fairly easily switch to the same type of game like quake and quake3 or starcraft to starcraft2. You cant actually compare skill of someone from starcraft and quake in any way to meaningfully determine how good the other they'd be based on their performance in one.

Short answer, I have no actual answer for you.

Re: eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633973)

As a PC gamer, you might have heard of other advancing-block puzzle games like Klax (clones include Tiles and Tribulations) or Qwirks (clones include KFoulEggs) or Zoop (clones include Millennium Bugs) or Frozen Bubble. Would Tetris skills transfer to those games?

Re: eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47634285)

Skills transfer. A great player at any of those is likely to be a good player at any other, but I think the entire point of the article is that the super elite "athletes" seem wired for a very narrow range of skills, and easily lose a step when moved to another similar - but not exact - platform.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

Forgefather (3768925) | about 3 months ago | (#47633097)

Just this. Modern sporting teams rely on stars to draw in viewers, and create a relationship between the fans and the players, not just the fans and the brand. People who don't go to see the Lakers may go to see "superman" in action, and this is same with eSports. Without a standout career, it's harder to create emotional investment in the team, and it's much harder to cheer for a player that has played for a year, and will be gone in 2. It's one of the reasons why people in the west find Asian teams less compelling. The language barrier and lack of familiarity with the players prevents the team from creating the marketable narrative that we see in traditional sporting events.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 3 months ago | (#47633519)

All that plus the fact that the average video game champion is about as physically imposing as Jeremy Freedman

http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki... [wikia.com]

Ok... I admit I'm speculating. I don't really follow "e sports" at all, but that's what a lot of the magic the gathering top players looked like back when I played.

They were not really societies take on "men who men wanted to be and women wanted to be with"

That's not to say that esports players won't attract its own audience and groupies, any subculture has that, but going mainstream -- it will need broader appeal. Its more than just overcoming ideas that video games are "childish" -- it would require somehow overcoming the fact that video games players do not conform to our biological / evolutionary cued measures of attractive / capable / healthy / etc.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47634329)

The allure of eSports (gah) is that you too, with a little practice, could be the next great star. It's a fantasy for most people without 10,000 hours to play Starcraft at a competitive level, but it's the same fantasy that has 5-10,000 people attending the WSOP every year to become the next Moneymaker.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (2)

Onuma (947856) | about 3 months ago | (#47633125)

To expound on rule changes, configuration changes, etc.:

There may be physiological reasons for eAthletes (yeah I know that's lame, but I didn't make that up) to not be able to hang at top levels once they start to age. Slashdot shared an article in regard to that just a few months back. It's not 100% concrete, but I think we can safely make the case that the average gamer peaks in performance some time in their mid-twenties.

http://games.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]

A publisher can declare a league illegal (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633229)

That and the fact that a video game's publisher has the power to declare that a particular game shall no longer be played competitively at all. It can turn off the game's official matchmaking servers and assert copyright against providers of alternate servers (as in the bnetd case), or it can assert copyright against a league's streams of the game. Physical sports don't have nearly the same copyright danger

Re:A publisher can declare a league illegal (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#47634255)

Think of the NFL as "football's publisher" and you have the same situation - monopoly control over professional gameplay hasn't been a problem thus far. The difference, think, is that congresscritters care about the NFL, and won't let it go off the rails too far (and the government has poked its nose in from time to time). It will be interesting to see how that plays out with eSports - whether something like FIFA will come to be.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 3 months ago | (#47633287)

because they're constantly subjected to rule changes

Nascar, F1, and other automotive leagues adjust the rules regularly as well... they seem to be popular.

Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 months ago | (#47633405)

because they're constantly subjected to rule changes. Every week, month, year, decade, there is the potential for having a very upsetting change in the fundamentals of the game. If eSports players can't keep up with these, then they fall out of brackets. That's why the people who were the top of the top 3 years ago aren't. Maybe that's what'll prevent eSports from ever gaining the same prominence as regular sports--an athlete can expect to have a 10-25 year career. A pro-gamer would be lucky to see a 10 year career, and I don't expect that'll ever change.

A pro athlete would be lucky to see a 10 year career - most drop out before then as well because their bodies just plain wear out.

And rule changes? Every sports league has rule changes. Typically done before the beginning of the season. A lot of them are minor tweaks, but rule changes do happen and it affects how teams play the game.

Rule changes are a way of life. Pro sports generally tweak rules as they're older games that have been played long enough that there aren't serious imbalance issues, but the organizers still tweak the game for various reasons, including livening up the play and avoiding excessive OT play.

Non transferable to another game, (0)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 3 months ago | (#47633099)

and completely useless in real life. Video games are a waste of time and energy like no other.

Re:Non transferable to another game, (2)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47633137)

but throwing a ball is use full like all other? if useless means you can earn a living doing it, is it still useless?

Re:Non transferable to another game, (1)

erice (13380) | about 3 months ago | (#47634169)

but throwing a ball is use full like all other? if useless means you can earn a living doing it, is it still useless?

Even if you don't manage to make money at it, throwing a real ball around is a good way to stay in shape which is important for overall health. Throwing a virtual ball? Not so much and you are even more likely to need a day job which also will not give you the exercise that you need to stay healthy.

Re:Non transferable to another game, (1)

JStyle (833234) | about 3 months ago | (#47633169)

How is it different than baseball? hitting a fast moving ball with a bat is useless in real life. Both are forms of entertainment or recreation, one being physical, the other being mental. I'm sure there are plenty skills from video games that can be used in real life (information processing, team work, decision making, etc).

I understand you never said sports weren't a waste of time and energy, it just begs the question...

Switching leagues vs. switching sports (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633285)

Unlike with video games, nobody owns the exclusive right to play baseball. This means nobody has the power to force someone to switch sports. Even if a player for a Major League Baseball club is "banned from baseball", that ban is unenforceable in leagues other than Major League Baseball. These leagues existed and continue to exist [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Switching leagues vs. switching sports (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | about 3 months ago | (#47634137)

Mind to answer quoted post? You failed to do that.

Trope: Batter Up (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47635499)

You asked how video games were different from baseball. I gave one way in which video games were different from baseball: video game exhibitions have more potential copyright problems.

Now after rereading, it appears you were asking about how video games were different from baseball specifically in the sense of whether skills would transfer to activities that aren't "games" (competitions organized for spectators' entertainment). In this case, skills learned by swinging a golf club or a baseball bat transfer to defense of self and property [orain.org] .

Re:Non transferable to another game, (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 3 months ago | (#47633465)

Funny you know my mom used to say the same thing. Every time I played video games she'd tell me how useless they were and what a waste of time.

Back when I was in high school, I had a buddy who wanted to play FIFA all the time. So we'd play online (this was back in the day when you'd have one modem call the other modem). I wasn't really interested in soccer, but I was competitive, and wanted to beat him at the game.

Fast forward 10 years. I ended up getting transferred to Europe. After work we went to a bar the first week I was there, and small talk one night included this funny sport called soccer. And I knew all the teams, and all the rules. And it helped me out professionally.

Thank you video games.

Re:Non transferable to another game, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634509)

Oh, so you're the layman who gets his footie knowledge from FIFA.

Re:Non transferable to another game, (1)

imidan (559239) | about 3 months ago | (#47633781)

and completely useless in real life. Video games are a waste of time and energy like no other.

The first guy mentioned in the article, Lee Jae-dong, may disagree with you. He's made a little over half a million dollars playing StarCraft. There's a guy from China who's made more than a million just this year playing Dota 2. I can't quite call that useless.

Re:Non transferable to another game, (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 3 months ago | (#47634593)

Yeah, and someone wins the lottery, too. That doesn't make it a good investment.

The number of people who make any money at video games vs the number who waste the biggest portion of their lives when they could be learning things is about as miniscule as your chances of winning the lottery. I stand by my assertion that it is a waste of time.

Re:Non transferable to another game, (1)

imidan (559239) | about 3 months ago | (#47634697)

The vast majority of people who play physical sports also don't make any money from them. I guess that's a waste of time, also? Are there hobbies, other than education, that aren't a waste of time?

Re:Non transferable to another game, (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 3 months ago | (#47634899)

Playing real sports is a social and physical activity. Both can be beneficial.

Sitting on a couch swilling red bull, munching on funyuns, twitching your thumbs, and tea-bagging your virtual victims hardly compares.

Re:Non transferable to another game, (1)

cfalcon (779563) | about 3 months ago | (#47635153)

Playing real sports with friends can harm you for life as well, so be sure to put that into your equation. After all, presumably the casual football players are fucking unhealthy idiots in your world too, as after all, the casual videogamers are "swilling red buff, munching on funyuns".

Re:Non transferable to another game, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634251)

Eh you're just pussy aching because you fucking suck at them. You gotta be one boring ass stick in the mud motherfucker.

Athletes? (3, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 3 months ago | (#47633135)

While I find the moniker "ESports" somewhat humorous, calling gamers "athletes" borders on the ridiculous.

Athletes? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633173)

Athletes.

Like chess players and poker players and stock traders. Deal with it.

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47635475)

Um. No one calls any of those people athletes either.

I hope that was your point.

Re:Athletes? (1)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47633177)

i fail to see the use of the word "athlete" regarding the players? its used to refer to sports athletes that have changed sports in the past as a comparison.

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633195)

It's....right there in the title.

Re:Athletes? (1)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47633225)

oops. you got me. that's potentially the submitter mislabeling of the title then. the article makes no mention of athletes.

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633219)

It is right in the headline! If people don't even read headlines, what on earth do they read here?

Re:Athletes? (1)

narcc (412956) | about 3 months ago | (#47634423)

They just read the comments to see what the title and summary might be about.

Re:Athletes? (1)

div_2n (525075) | about 3 months ago | (#47633521)

Pretty much all of the games require at least two of the following:

1. The kind of hand to eye coordination you'd need for ping pong
2. The mental concentration golfers must exert for virtually every shot (often for the entire length of a game)
3. The muscle memory necessary of any sport

That the players don't generally utilize their cardiovascular system doesn't mean it's less of a sport. I mean after all -- you don't exert much cardiovascular wise in golf or bowling.

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47635165)

"It's just as much a real sport as ping pong, golf or bowling!"

Lol, way to concede the GGP's point.

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47635307)

i fail to see the use of the word "athlete" regarding the players?

Why are you asking us whether or not you fail to see it? Unless you're blind, you should know what you see. And if you are blind, then yes, you fail to see it.

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633203)

pro-gamers and athletes have very much in common. playing at the top level and competing for millions of dollars in prizepool requires intense training and mental prep, just like a regular athlete before a major event.

Re:Athletes? (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 3 months ago | (#47633365)

I'll probably get downmodded but you spelt ePenis wrong ... :-)

Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633959)

Why?

Oh, I see. You said "gamers", so as to include not just the men who train daily and think about almost nothing else, but just like, casual players. Because those are gamers too.

Of course, the dose makes the poison. If you play football with some friends after work, are you a "footballer"? An "athlete"?

You, and everyone who keeps making this same crap comment over and over again, are just getting tripped up.

Try this:

"Professional Gamer"

There, see the difference? Now your buddy with the doritos doesn't count, just like he doesn't count as a profession football player because he can throw a good pass to you after work.

The limitations, training requirements, etc. are all very similar to other sports. If you look at chess, starcraft, golf, tennis, soccer, football- you'll notice something. Some of these, like tennis and soccer require a high degree of physical athleticism. Some of these, like chess, starcraft, and football, require a high degree of strategy. Some of these, like starcraft, tennis, soccer, and football, require a high degree of tactics.

What's your metric? The kicker on a football team doesn't need to maintain the ability to run a fast mile, and neither does the starcraft player.

So which of these is not a sport?

Chess.

Because the parts related to physicality have been minimized or removed.

Everything else is a sport.

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634569)

Well, there are people calling baseball players "athletes", so the word lost its meaning a while ago. If you are not familiar with baseball and its players, try googling one of the most legendary baseball players (Babe Ruth) to see how "athletic" he looks.

Re:Athletes? (1)

Typical Slashdotter (2848579) | about 3 months ago | (#47634811)

I don't think it's so clear cut. While it's clearly not at the same level of physicality as sports like American football or rugby, competitive videogaming is closer to these than it is to, say, chess. This isn't you playing games on a lazy weekend afternoon; if you've seen videos of professional gamers competing, it is clear that being good requires a high degree of speed, precision, stamina, and physical coordination. I think this merits being placed in the same category of sport as, e.g. auto racing, golf, or ping pong (credit to div_2n [slashdot.org] for mentioning [slashdot.org] golf and ping pong).

Offtopic (1)

Typical Slashdotter (2848579) | about 3 months ago | (#47634839)

Dear slashdot, thanks for escaping the "#" in the link in my above post to a "%23". How helpful of you to break my intra-page link. I'm curious if this just applies to "#"-signs at the beginning of the URI, or if you can't link to parts of a page at all. Here is a test of linking to a sub-page on Wikipedia:

Fragment Identifier [wikipedia.org]

Re:Athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47635051)

I heard you need to be very fit to handle the mental strain of auto-racing. For example, in an F1 race, just watching the cars go around in a circle for hours is tiring. I can imagine it would be very straining to be on the driver seat at breakneck speed. Competition ping pong is not a leasurely game. A player have to move around a lot to follow the ball. Golf is a bit harder to argue for, but at least the players would typically walk a fair distance in every game that could last for hours.

Stop fucking calling it e-sports (3, Insightful)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about 3 months ago | (#47633161)

It's competitive gaming, and nothing more. Gaming is not a sport.

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (0, Troll)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47633189)

and email isn't mail. what's your point?

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (1)

cfalcon (779563) | about 3 months ago | (#47635163)

and email isn't mail. what's your point?

This got modded troll? It's a perfectly valid comparison! He's saying that putting e- in front of something to denote that it's electronic means you aren't even claiming its the same thing. Would the post office come around in 19XX and be all "You can't call it email, it's just a bunch of beared unix guys transmitting a few bits. There's not even any trucks!"

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633329)

Oh yes, gaming is a sport. It exercises your RSI, just like another sport (that isn't competitive just yet) called masturbation, also popular in this community.

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 3 months ago | (#47633415)

Semantics.
You can call it however you want, for all I care. The term was coined not because it's similar from a venue or ruleset perspective, but because:
1. They are played;
2. They're played competitively;
3. They had to be compared with something that's known to a large amount of people.

Book versus E-book. Magazine versus eZine. Mail versus e-mail.
eSports are more closely related to sports than extreme ironing, but who am I to judge?

Disclaimer: I don't practice (because I suck) or watch eSports (because I find them boring to watch).

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 3 months ago | (#47633459)

When I was a wee lad, we called it "playing a game". And we liked it!

Later, some of us (a) grew up and quit playing, while others (b) keep on playing, not "a game", but their entire lives, the society and the world. I guess option (c) is gaming, where you can't decide whether to grow up, so you maintain a grown-up facade while consuming game entertainment marketed for grownups.

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633725)

Chess is an Olympic sport. Bowling, billiards, darts, curling, killing herbivores with high-power rifles, and driving a car that can only turn left are all considered sports. Why is an activity that requires reflexes on par with fighter pilots any less of a sport?

Chess is not contested in the Olympic Games (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633847)

Chess is an Olympic sport

True in the sense that the IOC recognizes FIDE [wikipedia.org] as the governing body of international chess. False in another sense, as unlike shooting and curling, chess is not contested in the Olympic Games.

Re:Chess is not contested in the Olympic Games (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 3 months ago | (#47634553)

It's been included as an 'exhibition sport' at the Olympics, though - in 2000 at least, and I think earlier.

That usually means 'This isn't really in the Olympics, but we're strongly considering it.'

Stop fucking calling it e-sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633983)

It's fucking called e-sports. That's its fucking name. Every time slashdot runs a story about an e-sport, the comments sections is fucking filled with worthless bullshit like your comment, inevitably modded insightful by someone who thinks that their cheetos munching nephew is a gamer, so profession gaming isn't an e-sport.

Get over it. Lets actually get comments in the e-sports section that discuss the esports, and neural plasticity, and peak human performance, and reaction times, and how much is genetic versus trained and what could change this or that, and maybe even discuss what the article is about.

If I wanted a bunch of this shit, I'd go to reddit. "Insightful" for pedantic bullshit indeed. Christ.

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (-1)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about 3 months ago | (#47634005)

Cry some more.

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634407)

Woah. Calm down there, sport.

Re:Stop fucking calling it e-sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634595)

Baseball fans would object.

You lost me at... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633191)

"Athletes".

Stop trying to pretend gamers are something that they're not. If gamers are athletes, then watching movies is like personal non-competitive physical exercise.

Re:You lost me at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633885)

I can tell you haven't watched a lot of pro players.

Many of them are in excellent shape. They really need to stay healthy to keep their focus and reflexes up, and mitigate damage from long gaming sessions. They need to play very cohesively on a team and have structured plays memorized for strategy.

I fail to see how high caliber professional gamers differ significantly from traditional sport athletes.

That's not to say that all gamers are athletes, but how many people playing a pickup game of football or basketball would you consider a serious athlete? I thought so.

Re:You lost me at... (1)

JThundley (631154) | about 3 months ago | (#47634723)

Most games aren't that intensive, but have you seen Starcraft players?! People truly get *injuries* from their keyboards and mice from playing this physically and mentally demanding game.

This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47633249)

opposition to LGTB marriage. how is speculating on including something new into a definition getting this much of a rise out of people?

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 months ago | (#47633277)

I"m not opposed to LGTB marriage, as long as I can have multiple wives. If we are re-defining marriage, I want my version legalized too.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634147)

That creates a lot of problems for society, it makes sense to limit it. If it isn't obvious: polygamy would reduce the supply of women, and the men on the losing end of the deal would not go down quietly. You can see how this can be problematic by looking at China, where the one child policy is causing the number of men to be significantly higher than the number of women and it is expected it will blow up sooner or later.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (1)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47634261)

I reject this idea because who says women can't marry multiple men?

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47635331)

Surprisingly it's largely blowing up for its neighbours, because all that Chinese started doing was importing brides from neighbouring countries that are poorer.

This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633321)

It's not the same at all!

Marriage means something in the eyes of the law and entitles couples to many benefits. Denying LGBT people marriage is denying them everything that goes with that, and still singles them out as not being even legally able to do something that straight people can do.

Saying that button-pushing and glowing-rectangle-staring isn't sport (which is it not), means only that they can't call it sport. Call it something else and everything moves along fine and no one's rights are impacted. Gamers are not legally barred from playing real sports.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (1)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47633345)

It is the same in how opposition to the notion seem to be offended at the thought of it. its truly amusing.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634157)

Actually, sport and athlete mean something in the eyes of the law as well. We have visas specifically for athletes that have now also started being applied to professional gamers. Denying people the status of athlete denies them the associated legal rights.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633391)

Because, again, it's not that I care what other people do with their lives or time, it's that they try and compare apples to oranges. Marriage, by definition, is a union of a man and a woman. Two men or two women can have unions with each other all they want, it doesn't affect me and I don't give two shits, but the definition of the word defines what it means. My cat is not a dog, because the definition of a cat means small with pointy ears and a dog is larger with floppy ears. You can't interchange the two.

Likewise, a "Sport" is something that requires the player to have physical prowess and years of training their bodies to be performance machines in their specialized area. Mastering a video game is not a sport, it's a hobby. It may be extremely popular amongst young people, maybe more popular than sports, but it's still just a hobby.

The people who play video games are not athletes, they're hobbyists, and that's fine. Many hobbies have competitions and contests, and many can sell out large arenas, but again, it's not just including something new in a definition, as you so simplistically put it, it's taking something that means one thing and changing it into another. People who live in the real world and enjoy their real lives would rather not have their "definitions" sullied by people living in an online fantasy land that is just bits on a disk in a datacenter somewhere. It's just that, all a made up fantasy.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (1)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47633477)

I disagree with you. Pretty sure a past-time is in some instances part of the definition of sports. Plus, if I don't show prowess am I still playing a sport if I'm playing in a softball league. Definitions are not and have never been static. Accept change.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633629)

Yes, sports are a subset of games which are a subset of hobbies. Sorry I didn't explain myself well enough. Professional sports players (athletes) are a subset of all sports players (athletes). Just as marriage is a subset of unions between two people, and cats and dogs are a subset of animals. Since we're talking about "professional" video game players, I used the definition of a "professional" athlete. You playing in a softball league would be an example of an amateur athlete and me sitting at home fumbling my way around League of Legends would be an example of an amateur gamer.

Definitions can be dynamic, yes, but when something clearly doesn't fall under the definition of the word it's not that I am resisting change, I'm resisting ridiculousness. Call them pro gamers, because that's what they are. They are not playing sports and they are not athletes.

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (1)

JMZero (449047) | about 3 months ago | (#47634045)

Your definitions are simultaneously pedantic in tone and broadly wrong.

Not all sports are games. Many people would describe (for example) fishing as a sport, but few would call it a game. There's a broad intersection of these categories, but sports are not a subset of games in either a prescriptive or descriptive sense.

Not all games are hobbies. A gladiator may compete in games, but... uh... gladiating was certainly not a hobby. "Hobby" has all sorts of connotations that are not satisfied by many instances of games or gaming. You could call them subsets of "activities" maybe, but certainly not hobby.

I think it's debatable whether competitive gaming is properly called a "sport". From a prescriptive standpoint, some dictionaries give definitions of sport that would be met, other definitions would not be met. Looking at etymologically, you'd assume things would count as "sports" that prescriptive definitions would not consider.

Popularly - descriptively - the term "e-sport" certainly seems to be catching on.

And it's doing so because it's useful in many ways. The substance of these competitions and their supporting organization has a lot in common with "normal" professional sports. There's teams and jerseys and player positions and sponsors. The point of words is to communicate, and calling these competitions sports is communicating a lot of information efficiently, while varying only in one (possibly key) bit - they're not terribly physical competitions (even if they do require a surprising amount of stamina and physical preparation).

Further complicating the matter is that the activities simulated in the game are also often sport-like (though often involving less killing).

Re:This is sort of analogous to.... (1)

ramper (1206148) | about 3 months ago | (#47634083)

You are subjectively determining the definition of "sport" and "athlete" and considering them set-in-stone. That's fine. But as the rest of the world continues to use the term athlete to define a professional gamer and you become more and more bitter towards this fact, many of us will continue to roll our eyes and think "who cares"? I get it, marriage is not gaming. One has a lawful meaning and one doesn't. That only makes it more likely that your expiring notion of the term athlete is going to change to include pro gamers - in this case, there is no lawful definition.

!Ay, Chihuahua! (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47633749)

the definition of a cat means small with pointy ears and a dog is larger with floppy ears.

Some breeds that are genetically Canis lupus familiaris are in fact "small with pointy ears". Kitty [google.com] ?

Jordan wasn't all that bad... (4, Interesting)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 3 months ago | (#47633301)

Please watch the great 30 For 30 episode Jordan Rides the Bus [youtube.com] . Even I, as a Chicagoan that grew up in the Jordan era, was surprised at how good Jordan got at baseball. It seems at the end he had quite a few game winning hits. It seemed there was no guarantee he'd be called up to the majors in 95, but any question of that was nixed with the baseball strike that year. I don't think a lot of people knew how much he improved. Even his main man Spike Lee made jokes about Jordan - with a commercial about his struggles with "the wicked double-A curveball..."

Hell, watch most 30 For 30. The 16th Man [go.com] is as good as most movies out now.

How about the professional gamer who became a prof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633393)

How about the professional gamer who became a professional soccer player?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Holden

Sports vs ESports longevity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633647)

One advantage that regular sports has over ESport is longevity.
  Baseball is being played for the most part the same as it was 100 years ago.
  ESports are short lived and are lucky to be around 5 years later.
  Therefore someone that makes a living playing sports can earn a living for a lifetime without having to re-learn the sport.
  However someone that makes a living playing an ESport can only expect to earn a living for only a few years playing the same game.

Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633913)

This story is just sad on so many levels, and not for the reasons the author thinks.

crossover between esports and daytrading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47633967)

I've been wondering, e-sports require quick response to real-time events. Daytrading seems to be the same thing.
Could there be alot of transferrable skills from strategy and MOBA games to daytrading?

Muscle memory (1)

Loopy (41728) | about 3 months ago | (#47634115)

Knowing the game mechanics notwithstanding, it still takes muscle memory for the mouse movements and keystrokes. I was readings something about baseball pitchers and how it takes some ludicrous amount of hours of the same motion for the muscle memory to set in. I can't imagine any other "sport" that uses a physical interface would be any different.

Specifity of exercise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634827)

Specificity of exercise is a well known principal in physical training, rehab, etc. "World class" athletes are generally very fit and may excel in speed, strength, coordination, endurance or or other fitness areas, but when you learn baseball or lacrosse, you get good at very specific skills that have very little crossover to anything else.

Gaming has some similar aspects, speed of response, speed of recognition, strategy, etc, but ultimately if you are highly skilled in one game there will be some of the 10,000 hours invested that are specific to that game.

Who said the mind and the body are separate?

Ath-lete, noun - (0)

Scot Seese (137975) | about 3 months ago | (#47634945)

athlete [ath-leet]
Noun

A person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.

Origin:
1520–30; Latin thlta Greek thlts, equivalent to thl- (variant stem of thleîn to contend for a prize, derivative of âthlos a contest) + -ts suffix of agency

I don't care what your APM is in Starcraft 2, you are NOT an athlete. You have a top 1% skill in SOMETHING, but it is NOT "athletic."

Therefore, the contest you are participating in is NOT A SPORT. Not anymore than chess or monopoly is a sport.

Re:Ath-lete, noun - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47635143)

Its fine, we can just change the meaning of words. We do it all the time.

I don't see what the problem is?

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