Are Video Gamers Legitimate Athletes?

Are Video Gamers Legitimate Athletes?

Samuel Esposito, Senior Staff Writer

With ever advancing gaming technology most people, particularly teens, (given they have access to technology) have played video games. It has become so popular that people can post videos on platforms like Youtube and Tiktok and get paid for these gaming displays. There are also tournaments where players, again primarily teens,  compete at a professional level. While competing at that level takes a tremendous amount of skill, can these gamers  really be considered athletes? This question really doesn’t have a yes or no answer, but is  based on a person’s definition of the term athlete. 

The most accepted definition of an athlete is: “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” While this is the widely accepted definition, like many other words, there are multiple definitions. One could interpret it as an athlete being someone who plays a sport and trains to compete in events. That definition takes out the physical aspect of the word, which gives gamers an in, but it also begs the question of whether or not gaming can even be considered a sport. 

A sport is most commonly defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Another interpretation could be “a structured contest of skill where one group wins or losses.”  In the world of professional gaming tournaments, that definition would apply. This means that by certain interpretations, gamers are not only athletes, but professional gaming tournaments are sports. 

The news site PC Gamer claims that Esports competitors (professional gamers) are in fact athletes. They claim this because gaming at that level requires a great amount of skill and training, similar to what an athlete of any other sport must go through if he or she wants to be good, of course. All in all, they practice hard and show their skills in competitions which makes Esports gamers athletes. 

Here’s how some Hubbard students feel about the topic: The first quote is from Ryan Grigsby, a junior who used to stream games on Xbox. Grigsby states:  “I would say it depends on your game, the term athlete could easily be bent and changed up.” Aaron Slanina. a senior who plays video games often responds: “I think that gamers should be considered athletes, but they’re not traditional athletes.”  An article on explains why these gamers are indeed athletes:”The top players form teams, compete in leagues, hire full-time coaches, and adopt strict training regimens. They sweat. They earn six-figure salaries and scoop up endorsement deals. The CPL’s World Championship in December drew 1,500 fans to a Dallas arena, and 45,000 enthusiasts watched the matches online.” 

Perhaps in a world where Olympic recognition has already been granted to billiards and chess, video gaming is not far behind.  Gamers certainly want that recognition and are pushing aggressively for it. Only time will tell.