How Safe is E-Sports?

Do you enjoy playing video games on a daily basis? Are you a fan of the professional gaming scene? If you answered any of these questions above then you might have fallen under the spell of E-Sports hype. E-Sports  is an over glorification of organized video game competitions that inspires thousands of regular gamers to have unrealistic expectations for themselves, especially young people. All of these expectations have some sort of connection with “making it big” in the E-Sports scene some way whether it be becoming a pro gamer or just getting noticed by pro players online. The impracticality of these goals are right in front of everyone’s eyes, but the glamorization of E-Sports blinds everyone from these realities. I understand, being a former gamer myself,  how amazing it would be if you could be one of those superstar gamers everyone adores online.

For those of you who don’t understand what gamers feel like when they watch E-Sports here is a little taste from a League of Legends (LOL) perspective.

This LOL video served as the opening clip for the LOL South Korean professional gaming circuit from 2013 to 2014. Throughout the video, there was a clear emphasis on professional gamers under an exciting atmosphere as seen with the background music. The main takeaway from this video is that gaming firms want professional gamers to seem like celebrities and athletes when in reality they are just people who play a lot of video games.

Business Insider recently published a story about the amazing life of a professional gaming team where they clearly glamorized some details over other ones.

The five young men of Team Liquid earn more than $60,000 each, plus tens of thousands through sponsorship and steaming deals, and live for free in an LA condo just for being good at League of Legends, the most popular video game in the world.

Who wouldn’t want to make a living off of playing video games all day? In this shade of light, there is no wonder why young gamers can take a video game too seriously to the point where it can ruin their lives.

Although some people are fortunate enough to make a career out of gaming, E-Sports is such a cutthroat industry that professional gaming teams are willing to cheat in order for them to stay at the top. For example, the Low Elo Podcast discussed how two LOL gaming teams known as Curse and Dignitas secretively worked together to fix professional gaming matches in their favor. Jeff Wycoff, the main voice behind the Low Elo Podcast, had this to say about scandals like this:

Players doing that, it just shows a big lack of respect for not only the game, but for Riot Games and for everybody watching…

E-Sports may encourage ridiculous aspirations like becoming a pro gamer, but the industry does a lot more harm that is unseen. After watching nail biting matches online, gamers are enticed to play more video games on a daily basis. This is the same effect when you finish watching a good movie where you wish you could live the main character’s life. Excessive gaming can lead to bad habits that include ignoring good nutrition, lack of exercising, and growing anti-social behavior. All of these factors point out how video games can be the center of a person’s life which sounds unbelievable, but some tweets from Twitter begs to differ.

E-Sports should be a celebrated activity enjoyed by gaming communities everywhere rather than a threat to young gamers. Our society has changed a lot in the past twenty years and professional gaming is an iconic symbol of these cultural shifts. We are all now a more tech savvy group of people who live fast-paced lives which completely characterizes E-Sports. All of these issues about E-Sports arise from people not being educated in both the good and bad side of professional gaming. Aside from all the harm that video games do, there are some benefits to playing video games which can include learning forms of teamwork, networking, and leadership. Gamers should be playing video games in moderation so that it does not control their lives. Moderation is the clear answer to all of these gaming problems, but the question remains how it can be done in a indulging society?

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