What’s an eSport?


By – Trevor Shanahan


eSports is a term thrown around pretty liberally.  One can hear it on cable news channels, see pervasive internet discussions about it, and look at marketing analysis infographics tracking them.  But what is an eSport?  This may seem like a question with and obvious answer, so let’s check with Wikipedia:


and Tech Terms:

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and Urban Dictionary (if you know Urban Dictionary you know why I picked the third definition):

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Aside from Wikipedia’s “…organized multiplayer video game…between professional players…,” I think these are all fairly accurate.  The reason I shy away from the aforementioned excerpt from the Wikipedia entry is because I don’t think you have to be a professional, nor does anything need to be multiplayer.  Speedruns are (usually) the player versus the clock (or versus their old record, or versus new rules).  I think they still qualify as “competitive” because a player is competing with the game or themselves or both, but not necessarily with another human video game player.


eSports are accessible.  Currently in the NFL you cannot play if you are a woman or if you have a physical disability — this is not the case for eSports.  Michael “Handi” Olson is a professional gamer who currently competes in the ESEA playing Counter Strike: GO.  FYI, he is way better than most of us could hope to be.  Sites like ablegamers and includification offer resources, stories, and insight into video games and disabilities.

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What do you say other than “Wow”.


San Diego native Kelly “Mrs. Violence” Kelley competes in WCG, MLG, and was the top Gear of War player.  Groups like WIG SIG (Women in Games Special Interest Group), advocate for further equality and help the industry realize that the audience for video games both broader and deeper.

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Mrs. Violence plays an average of 10 hours a day – that’s near Olympic-level training.


eSports are still growing.  The chart below shows incredible interest (via viewer growth) in a phenomenon that was thought to be a momentary fad.  Now consider the growth in viewership with the growing inclusion of a more diverse group of gamers (women, people with disabilities) and the yet-to-be-refuted fact that anyone can play an eSport.

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eSports infographics are a dime a dozen but they all say the same thing: eSports is growing.


eSports is a special phenomenon.  There is no other activity, sport, or event that holds as much potential for inclusivity as eSports.  Regardless of your physical abilities, gender, race, or religion you can play with and against anyone else.  No other athletic event, competition, or medium can offer this — and that’s what makes it so special.


Let’s keep it special.  Get into eSports.





About the blogger

ccccccMy name is Trevor Shanahan and I am pursuing a graduate degree in video games/media studies. I am interested in video games and everything they touch (their industry, development, games as art, psychology of games – like gamification, industry issues, culture, etc.). I have come to realize that the more I learn (and learning is so important) the more I do not know. Learn as much as you can about what you love and try to give back to it.