Riot’s new promo video argues e-sports are indeed sports

No one will be surprised by Riot Games’ latest e-sports video. Riot Games really likes e-sports. Indeed, Riot Games believes e-sports are real sports.

“Not just a sport. Our sport,” reads the tagline.

All the skeptical mainstream media quoted in the video can’t change the fact that Riot’s position is fast becoming the norm. You’ll recall that the International Olympic Committee has formally stated that it may consider e-sports a sporting activity, and the co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee told the AP that the organization was considering bringing video gaming on board for the 2024 program in France. The 2022 Asian Games also announced e-sports as a medal event, citing the inclusion of e-sports at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Earlier this year, we polled our readers on whether e-sports belong in the Olympics; almost 80% of those who voted said no, while only 15% said some or all should be included, in contrast to Nielsen’s poll of actual e-sports fans, which asserted that over 50% of fans believe e-sports are real sports and less than a third believe e-sports belong in the Olympics. MMORPG players are a hard sell.

Check out the video below (it’s short).

Source: YouTube
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43 Comments on "Riot’s new promo video argues e-sports are indeed sports"

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flyingltj
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flyingltj

The same international Olympic committee that looks the other way when countries use literal slave labor to build stadiums? The same international Olympic committee that is at the center of non stop bribery, corruption, and drug scandals?

Boy howdy, we better trust those guys to tell us what’s what.

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Alex Malone

E-sports are not sports – sports require a significant physical component and e-sports are lacking that.

That doesn’t mean that e-sports aren’t difficult, they really are! To get good requires training, practice, teamwork and a high degree of skill. They can be entertaining to watch (well, not for me…) and highly competitive.

But, removing the physical component from the definition of sports just seems too wrong to me. It would open up far too many things to be included in the definition of sports – all board games, card games and computer games for a start – and then we’d need a new word for proper sports anyway.

On the chess front, I did some searching and Chess doesn’t actually seem to be recognised as an actual sport. The IOC seem to have officially recognised a chess federation and have allowed it to apply for inclusion in the olympics, but repeatedly turn it down.

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Sally Bowls
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Heliton B. Amorim

If you can’t see Sportsmanship in a serious competition of an E-SPORT, you’re just blind.
You think what, people decided to be “pro players” and in one day become one? That is a stupid thought.
You can play football for fun, and never be a pro player (even if you played it for decades), and also you can play an E-SPORT, even for decades, and also never become a pro player. It is not even close to being easy as some people are pretending it is.

Sports are not tied to physical activity, that is a simplification that soon will be addressed.

Chess is a sport, it is an Olympic sport. Who said it? What about the IOC itself, nothing less than the International Olympic Committee saying that CHESS is a sport. Good luck trying to imply that IOC is wrong and random people on the internet, using the dictionary as an argument, are right… LOL

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

It’s a *game* like poker or billiards. It’s not a fkng sport.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

for those who are conflating sport with athletics below i think i need to remind yall that hunting foxes with dogs from horse back is sport. sitting in a hide guzzling beers and shooting deers that happen by are sport. angling/fishing is a sport.

as far as chess goes as a sport or competitive game, it was a not insubstantial component of the cold war betwen warsaw and nato so don’t be so fast to discount it – perhaps more than most athletic sports.

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angrakhan

The athlete in equestrian events is the horse, not the rider. Although I’m sure you have to have good core and leg strength/endurance to be able to ride a true race horse well. Especially if there’s jumping and rapid direction change.

Oh and before you accusing me of “conflating” sport with athletics, you might want to take your argument up with whoever wrote the dictionary:

ath·lete
ˈaTHˌlēt/Submit
noun
a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.
synonyms: sportsman, sportswoman, sportsperson;

You also might want to take your argument up with the CPL who calls people who play e-sports “Cyberathletes”. Seems there’s plenty of conflation to go around.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

you’re definition nor your example really cover mine. which are hallowed in the sporting realm for centuries.

also a body buuilder is a physical person in fitness but is not quite an athelete.

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angrakhan

Yah, sorry, but sitting on your ass in front of a screen and twiddling your thumbs on a controller or mashing keys on a keyboard doesn’t make you an athlete. If your ‘sport’ allows you to compete at the highest level without needing to be able to pass a basic middle-school level physical fitness test given in 7th grade P.E. class then it’s not a sport. See also: golf, bowling, darts, croquette, and Uno.

And no I don’t consider curling a sport even though it’s in the Olympics. It’s shuffleboard on ice. I’d watch it if they required every team to down a pitcher of beer 5 minutes before the start of each round. I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s intended to be played outside of the Olympics.

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Sunken Visions

Why do sports have to be athletic? If you can’t give a rational answer, then you’re just trying to put yourself on a pedestal. People like that actually hate fair competition and denounce intellectual competition because they know they’ll lose.

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Veldan

It’s hard to find a good definition though. I mean, it’s pretty accepted that curling is a sport, and so is driving a car, riding a horse or even playing chess. If those things are all sports, then so are (certain types of) videogames.

Personally, I’d be happy if we stopped calling them all sports, and went back to using the term for more traditional sports that require heavy physical training… but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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angrakhan

Curling is a drinking game, not a sport! (kidding… well, kinda) And who calls chess a sport? Never heard of that.

As to driving I think you mean racing cars and that is definitely a sport. People who have not done it do not think it is hard, but the g-forces of competitive racing require the drivers to be in very good shape to be able to endure it for the length of a race. Formula 1 drivers are incurring G-forces of 6G+ at times and they endure this multiple times per lap for 25+ laps in a given race.

Don’t believe me?
https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/features/2017/3/f1-video-2017-vs-2016-g-force-comparison.html

No e-sport “athlete” is going to be able to tolerate that for any length of time. They’d pull over after one lap to puke.

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Veldan

In Formula 1, better muscles don’t give you better win chances. You just need to be fit enough to pass the “treshold”, so that you can withstand those forces. After that it’s your driving ability that decides how you do. Similarly, in esports, your forearms and mind-muscle connection need to be developed enough that you can react very quickly and precisely. After that, it’s how good you are at the game that will determine how you do. See the parallel?

When non-gamer people visit me and use my PC, they can’t do a thing. They can’t even move the mouse through start menu to open something, because they can’t handle the level of sensitivity. First, the mouse just shoots between corners as they wonder what’s going on, and then they try to move it slowly to what they want to click, only to find that they can’t hold it still enough to click anything. I’m laughing every time.

Nobody is born with the ability to move a mouse so quickly and precisely as done in esports. It’s acquired by many hours of training, just like any sports ability.

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Sorenthaz

Riot keeps trying to shoehorn LoL into being a real sport and I think it’s hilarious. It’s like Pinnochio at this point screaming “I WANNA BE A REAL BOY” at the top of his shrill magically nonexistent lungs.

Ultimately they’re doing this for marketing purposes. They want big sponsors like Coca Cola and Comcast and so on for their new League system.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

If nobody takes chess as a sports seriously, what makes people think anybody will take e-sports as a sports seriously?

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Veldan

The fact that it’s already taken seriously. Not by the entire human population, but that’s no requirement for success.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

It smells no matter how you see it:

– Etymologically: Athlete (greek: Αθλητής) is the person who performs a feat. Borrowing Rumm’s comment:

On the other hand, as someone who played sports for most of their life, the dedication, drive, talent, etc. that is required of an actual athlete is far greater than anything that esports gamers go through. You have to hone your skills and your body for years before you can compete at the highest level….

– Historically, Olympics and athletes (I disregard the way the Olympics are set up today, which is a complete mockery of the original spirit – without intention to show disrespect to the athletes, who deserve complete admiration for their dedication and their achievements) were strictly about physical competitive display. There is also a strict distinction between physical exercise and sports (άθλημα) which need to have the competitive aspect to distinguish the person who performs the feat: being the best. Given that a physical element is needed (as in, motion, endurance, strength and dexterity), chess really does not fit into this either. Obviously e-sports are out as well for the same reason: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_sport

– Popular opinion. I can imagine the following conversation:
Him: I am an athlete
Her: Really? (thinking: he does not look like one) Which sport?
Him: League of Legends
Her: …..

And the glaring issue, quoting silverlock’s comment below, which was my favorite:

Of course if Riot is willing to release all ownership of lol and hand it over to the public domain then sure lets then talk about putting it in the Olympics.

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GiantsBane

I think most of the legitimacy riot hopes to garner stems from whatever idiot decided it was a good idea to classify chess as a sport, which it isn’t.

Is it a game? Yes

Does it require skill to excel in? Yes, as do all competitive games, but we don’t classify magic the gathering as a sport now do we?

Does it involve athletes? Nope

I have to agree with the other poster who said this is purely about money, and they’re hoping to leverage the opinions of what they probably assume are disenfranchised nerds looking for validation by getting included among the ranks of the physical sporting world they’ve likely never been involved with much, if ever.

Being a highly skill dependent game is all well and good, but if we’re going to add league and “esports” to the roster some group of individuals who saw themselves as the apparent authority regarding the defining of “sport” activities, why don’t we just go ahead and add all competitive gaming activities to the roster.

Next up, board gaming Olympic competitions!

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silverlock

Good point I better start on my dice rolling regime. A hundred rolls a day until I win Olympic gold!

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Bruno Brito

“Our lame game?”

Lol.

Also, who cares if it’s real sports or not, good lord.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Those who care about semantics and the meanings of words, and they want to have a common frame of reference when speaking to others, in order to properly communicate. Which should be everybody.

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Robert Mann

Given that something being the norm does not make it correct, I remain in the position that it is not a sport.

It may be in some other category of things that offers thought based competition, much like Chess, but not sports.

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silverlock

What next you’ll be saying mathletes aren’t real athletes.

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Robert Mann

ROFL.

There’s a difference between mental and physical work, of course. Both are worth celebrating… but they aren’t the same thing! Mathletes sounds so funny though, like some group of people with calculators all using l33t to insult each other. XD

semugh
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semugh

a warcraft 3 mod as sport… I dunno…

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kgptzac

Real sports don’t really need balance patches and having the baggage of being a commercial entity’s intellectual property.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

actually real sports get balance patches every so often too lol oftenwith much controversay and rage to say the least. XD

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Zora

I suppose if enough experts keep telling me something is true, I will have to defer to their superior intellects and stop relying on my own wisdom to decide what is true and what is not.

Just out of curiosity…siberia now being an exclusive resort, where do dissidents get deported nowadays?

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Sorenthaz

Lol. Experts are probably rarely going to say that esports are real sports. Riot is just pushing this for marketing purposes. If they can be identified as a real sport then they’ll get bigger sponsors and more attention on TV networks.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

t riot , you'll like it.gif
camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Here’s Mine Schlag!

musclead1.jpg
deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

LOL

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silverlock

I’m old fashion I don’t believe that Olympic sports should be a platform for promoting a purely commercial endeavor.

Of course if Riot is willing to release all ownership of lol and hand it over to the public domain then sure lets then talk about putting it in the Olympics.

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BalsBigBrother

Shrugs I don’t care whether it is classed as a “real” sport or e-sport or wibbly wobbly whoop sports . The classification makes no difference to the real question that I always ask.

Is it enjoyable, fun and exciting to watch? yes, then I will probably watch it, no then not so much.

The thing for me is I find it real hard to watch e-sports. All I ever come away with from watching esports is a lot of loud fast shouting, flashy lights and quick sick inducing camera cuts then are not at all entertaining, fun or exciting for me to watch. That is my main problem with them not whether it is a real sport or not.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Agreed. I don’t care how hyped the announcers are or how often they scream OMGLOLZ TRIPLE KILLZ! I still just see little graphics on a screen moving back and forth and sparkle effects.

Don’t really watch RL sports for the same reasons. I hate when the sparkles show up in football.

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Veldan

This is why I never watch MOBAs or anything, but I do occasionally watch CS:GO. There, I can tell what’s happening, because anyone can. For games with lots of heroes and abilities, like LoL, you have to learn what they can do before you can have a clue what’s going on, which creates kind of an entry barrier.

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A Dad Supreme

Shrugs I don’t care whether it is classed as a “real” sport or e-sport or wibbly wobbly whoop sports . The classification makes no difference to the real question that I always ask.

I believe the organization running these things view it the same way as gaming companies viewed MMOs over the last five years.

Companies didn’t want to classify an MMO as an MMO because of a negative connotation that could have affected sales in some way, so they tried to say their game was everything but an MMO like ESO did. Most players didn’t care, thought it was silly and couldn’t understand why they made such a big deal out of it when they either liked the game or they didn’t… regardless of what they called it.

I think these esports nutters (the suits) are the same way. They believe that by calling it a “sport” and getting people to agree is more marketable to mainstream television, especially in the money-rich USA. USA people love to watch “sports” but wouldn’t watch “videogames” so if you get everyone to agree it’s a “sport”, there is less stigma and possibly more dollars.

The esport CEOS don’t think it’s a sport nor do they care about the “athletes” getting recognition as actual athletes. It’s about money and how they can make it more viewable, pure and simple.

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Rumm

The best, and I think only argument that can be made in favor of esports is that other “real” sports are also just games. Football is a game, baseball is a game, basketball is a game. Esports are video-games; game is right there in the description.

On the other hand, as someone who played sports for most of their life, the dedication, drive, talent, etc. that is required of an actual athlete is far greater than anything that esports gamers go through. You have to hone your skills and your body for years before you can compete at the highest level. A professional football player likely started playing when they were about 6-7, went all the way through college (usually), and went pro around 22-23. ~15 years of practicing, training, playing before they even reach the highest level. Most of the esports games haven’t even existed for that long.

I incidentally sit on my ass in front of my computer screen all day. I’ve never incidentally hit the gym and done drills for 12 hours straight.

I enjoy watching an Overwatch match from time to time, but not for a moment would I consider a single one of the participants an athlete in any way/shape/form. I’m not an amateur esports athlete because I play competitive matches from time to time.

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David Goodman

I honestly think the biggest, and possibly only, problem with people seeing e-sports in the way that the developers and competitive market wants them to be seen is terminology.

If they weren’t called e-“sports”, then people would probably not complain so much. It’s a semantic difference – a lot of people love watching people play games competitively; a lot of people would even like to see them at the olympic level, and everything in-between. There’s a farkleload of money involved for it.

But they balk at the “sports” part because, to them (it’s not a view I share), the idea of sports is sacred and means physical sports only, and there is no room for a non-physical sport to intrude.

Honestly? This belief has been the most entrenched; it will probably never budge. The industry should come up with an alternate term, because the word ‘sports’ has become, for some reason, a digital battleground.

Once you take this away with new wording, then you’re only left with the ancient people who equate “gamers” to “basement-dwellers”, and when you have only that to stand on, it’s a much harder leg to stand on.

Personally, I don’t think they should bother — I don’t want to see e-sports in those kinds of lights. They’re boring, and the people who cast and talk about them are equally boring. The competitive arenas built around games as they are now are infinitely better done, better quality, and better entertainment.

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A Dad Supreme

Riot Games really likes e-sports. Indeed, Riot Games believes e-sports are real sports.
“Not just a sport. Our sport,” reads the tagline.

This reminds me of how CNN has those TV spots where they say “This is an apple. People will try to tell you it’s a banana, but it’s an apple. They’ll scream “Banana! Banana! Banana!, but it’s still an apple.”

Hey Riot Games… it’s an apple.

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Wolfyseyes

The parallels to the fight for legitimacy between esports and skateboarding that I saw growing up are pretty interesting to me; lots of the same assumptions of the participants and viewership, lots of stigma attached.

Eh, I’ll ignore the readers and keep on enjoying ’em. The past couple of years have proven many comment sections and “experts” incredibly wrong.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

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Knox Harrington

No.

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