A leap into the future with eSports

ASHLEY MAGWINDIRI AND NTOMBI MKHANDHLA

Digital athletes have been around for some time, their popularity has risen because of the continuous technological enhancements. E-sports involve competitive tournaments of video games, especially among professional gamers, they have been improved over the years due to the increase of participants from all over the world.

The main difference between eSports and traditional sports, is that e-sports are played in the virtual world whereas the traditional sports require physical movement. One of the first video games competition was held in 1980 by Atari. This competition attracted thousands of participants which slowly led to the rise of e-sports. In 1990, Blockbuster and Nintendo started sponsoring most of the competitions, and later in that year, PC gaming was introduced. In addition, arcade and console tournaments also became popular. Platforms to compete and the video games kept advancing, which then led to the launching of the World Cyber Games and the Electric Sports World Cup in 2000. Today we have improved video games which include FIFA 18 and the upcoming EA Sports UFC 3.

Tristan Naidoo is a third year BEd FET UP student who has been gaming for ten years. He does not consider gaming to be an expensive sport to play as it only requires a good computer and a stable internet connection when playing competitively. However, costs can be incurred in the purchasing of games which Naidoo says can be as much as R1100 per game in stores. “Purchasing games online normally works out a lot cheaper,” he said.

To become a professional gamer, a lot of practice is required just like in any other traditional sport. It requires time, pat ience and dedication. Gaming clubs offer gamers community and accountability in their sport. TuksMindSport gives Pretoria and Gauteng gamers the platform to compete against each other. TuksMindSport offers League of Legends, Dota 2, Call of Duty: Ghost, StarCraft 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. One can simply join the club by filling out a membership form and paying R500 membership fee. The club also offers 20% to 40% discount for LANs they host.

Video games are fast paced, and complex which means they require quick thinking and concentration. Gamers are often thought of as anti-social but Naidoo describes that as the “biggest misconception to gaming” as they get to engage with people from all over the world in the virtual world. “I’ve made a lot of close friends through meeting them online,” Naidoo says. They also get the opportunity to boost their fame, by increasing their views which could eventually lead to numerous sponsors. Furthermore, competitive gaming tournaments often have prizes up for grabs. “I compete in an eLeague which has a very big prize pool,” Naidoo said.

Gamers spend a lot of time practicing and perfecting their skills. This means they have to sit in the same position for a long period of time, and this could lead to a lot of health issues for example eye, back problems and obesity. Due to having kept his wrist in the same position while gaming, Naidoo said he has developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. “But that’s being treated,” he said, and other than that he hasn’t experienced any other.

 

Image: Sally Hartzenberg

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