JEDDAH: Are eSports really a part of the sport world?
There has been a huge debate on the topic, but today the answer from many industry experts, sports organizations and dictionaries is yes.
The Euro Sports charter under the Council of Europe provides the following definition: “All forms of physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, (are) aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.” If we look at every aspect of the definition, we find that eSports fit. Some might argue that the phrases “physical activity” and “aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being” exclude eSports. Yet on the contrary those terms prove that they are indeed sports.
The text clearly states all forms of physical activity and not only extreme physical activity. For any eSports player to compete, they would need a very high level of stamina, just like any motor or air sport athlete. To reach and win world class or even national level competitions, they would need to build staggering levels of stamina.
As far as the phrase “aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being” goes: We look at sporting activities such as darts, golf, and snooker. All of these sports do not have physical fitness as their end goal, but to excel at them an athlete has to, to some degree, ensure that they are physically fit. Additionally, there is no argument around the necessity of mental well-being needed for eSports athletes to be title contenders.
Just like any sport there are those who would make a career out of it.
In Saudi Arabia we have the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 champion Mosaad Al-Dossary. He is the latest addition to the multitude of world champions to emerge from the Kingdom in recent years.
“The world as we know it is changing at a fast pace, faster than some of us can keep up with,” Al-Dossary said. “We live in an extraordinary age of connectivity, that is digitally enabled. Every day we are introduced to new concepts that some might reject at first but end up changing the entire way we exist or view life.’’
“No one knew how much the iPod or Instagram would affect our lives when they were first introduced. Even the careers that people now live off could have not been thought off 10 or 15 years ago. After all, as recently as 2008 almost no one knew what a ‘social media manager’ was. Less than 15 years ago no one even knew what a ‘search engine optimization manager’ did.”
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia was one of the early supporters of eSports thanks to the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), which gives tremendous support to such athletes. It has sponsored multiple teams in global tournaments such as ISFE and FIFA eNations Cup.
It has also organized a professional eSports league for FIFA and is working on including other games.
For more information on gaming, and eSports in Saudi Arabia, visit SAFEIS website: https://www.safeis.sa/, subscribe to the YouTube channel, follow on Twitter: @SAFEISKSA , and on Instagram: SAFEIS.KSA