E Sports – Are you game ?

I consider myself an avid follower of Sports. Cricket, Tennis are my top two favorite sports to watch. And the Olympics and World Cup Soccer. Over the Lock down I have missed watching Live Sports. While I did watch videos of old matches, and Documentaries on Netflix, Amazon Prime viz The Last Dance, The Test etc, one cannot replace the thrill of watching a live game – the excitement, the competitive spirit, the victory, the sounds of a stadium – it all gives me goosebumps.

As a traditional sports spectator, I hadn’t heard about E Sports till a few months back, and could never imagine gaming to be a sport.

What then is E Sports ? It is short for “Electronic Sports”, transforming online gaming into a Spectator Sport. The experience is similar to watching a professional sporting event. However, instead of watching a physical sport like basketball, football, cricket, tennis, spectators watch video gamers compete professionally against each other in a digital, virtual environment. Similar to traditional sports, skilled gaming players join teams, organisations and leagues, and play for game-sponsored tournaments with prizes that run into millions of dollars globally. It is estimated that in 2019, global revenues from Esports topped USD 1 billion. Further, Esports is being considered for a spot in the 2024 Olympics.

Among the many reasons which have led to this phenomenal growth in this space, I would like to highlight two. First is the release of several popular games viz League of, Fortnite, DOTA etc. Second is the rapid development and advancement seen in streaming technologies and digital platforms that are used to enable a wider audience access, as this is not dependent on traditional television networks to broadcast around the world. It is estimated that by 2022, the global audience for E sports will reach 300 million viewers.

Do you know that India already has 300 million gamers and this number is set to double by the year 2021 ! We are now the 5th biggest gaming market in the world and straining at the leash to ascend the ladder further.

Why cover E Sports in a fitness, health, well-being blog site ?

Most people think that E Sports is a sedentary sport, and that online game players are out-of shape basement -dwellers and that physical fitness and nutrition does not play any role in their lives. They couldn’t be more wrong.

To be an Elite E-Sports game player, physical and mental fitness does give you an edge. Why is that ? E-Sports requires a different concentration level, and super-fast reflexes, most game-winning decisions come down to micro-seconds. A sharp mind and body is key to winning. If your nutrition is right and you are eating well, you will have the mental clarity to perform. Further, given one has to sit for hours in front of a computer – whether you are playing or practicing, physical exercise has to be part of the daily routine. If you see the top E-sports players today, their workout routine is as intense as a regular sports player. This can be compared to the workout routine of the top Chess players – where again a sharp mind and body is key to be on top of the game.

And E-Sports can be played by anyone – it is not like cricket or tennis or football or traditional sports where only a few can participate and the barriers (age, fitness, availability of time & infrastructure etc) are many.

Are you game ?!

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