Opinion: Video Games Shouldn’t Be Compared to Sports


Geoff Weiss

Tyler Blevins aka Ninja posing for a photoshoot for Forbes magazine in Los Angeles, California. (Photo Courtesy of: Tubefilter.com)

Diego Cruz, Sports Editor

Sports and video games have been in debate for years and years. This time, a professional gamer spoke about the controversy. Ninja the Professional Fortnite gamer who recently signed with Adidas, started a controversial topic via Twitter when he argued that people shouldn’t call losing a video game “just a game”. He claims, “It’s the competitive nature of video games, it’s about the respect, it’s about the pride.” Many people disagreed with him when he compared losing a game as an athlete to the great LeBron James and Tom Brady. This sparked a huge debate on Twitter and many other social media outlets on whether or not video games is a good comparison to real-life sports.

Sports is defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Therefor, this makes Ninja’s argument somewhat valid as he is known to be a professional gamer which adds to the level of competitiveness of video games and to add it can be entertaining to a large amount of viewers.

However, stating that professional gaming compares to losing in professional sports is absolutely absurd. What many people who support Ninja’s side of the argument are failing to realize is that athletes have to endure physical pain when competing they have to give it their all when going out on the field or court every single day rather than sitting on a gaming chair and pushing buttons. Sure video games take strategy and some can even take a lot of thinking but physical exertion is what defines a sport.

Imagine telling LeBron James, Tom Brady that it’s just a game.”

— Ninja (Tyler Blevins)

Yes, I know many of us aren’t professional athletes so it is possibly easier to relate to Ninja’s side, however people need to admire the eccense and hard work that athletes put in for what they call their job.  So when an athlete loses a game, does it really compare to losing a video game when you can just queue up another one right after? No, of course not! If it’s an important game, say for money or a trophy or what not, sure it can placed as a valuable argument, however in Ninja’s situation, that isn’t the case.

Professional leagues do add to the amount of competitiveness in gaming especially in leagues such as E-Sports, and the NBA 2k League which is a league based off of NBA teams. These leagues can be a sign that video games are becoming more relevant and are gaining respect to have a chance to compete with sports in the amount of competition. May seem like a stretch right? Surprisingly it’s not. There actually have been research on the number of people who watched professional sports and professional gaming.

Photo showing the 17 teams involved in the NBA 2k League. The NBA 2k League is a league much like how the NBA functions with a yearly draft, and a regular season including playoffs.

In 2017, the finals for the well-known game League of Legends reached an amazing 58 million viewers across the world, and when compared to the NBA Finals, there were only an average of 32 million viewers (visualcapitalist.com). Not only did League of Legends surpass the fricken NBA, they also surpassed the 2017 World Series viewers by 20 million. This claims that professional gaming is becoming more popular as time goes on.

So let’s recap to the debate, is professional gaming comparable to professional sports? No, and it will stay like that forever being due to the fact that sports have been around for centuries and video games are still improving. Ninja’s argument at an attempt to compare video games to sports was a good effort as many people were actually considering it true however, sports especially at a professional level take more time and more work to get better and improve.