The esports vs sports comparison has become increasingly relevant in education settings, as schools and other academic institutions become more familiar with the concept of esports and start to gain a better understanding of the various ways it can benefit learners.
Read on to find out more about esports and traditional sports, and how they compare and contrast. Or discover ViewSonic ELITE’s range of esports equipment.
The rise of esports within academic settings has led to inevitable esports vs sports comparisons, with educators weighing up the benefits of competitive video game playing compared to the more traditional competitive sporting activities often taught in schools, such as football, basketball, hockey, and gymnastics.
There is a significant crossover between esports and sports, to the extent that there is also a real debate about whether esports should be considered a sport in its own right. However, there are some significant differences too and these differences need to be fully understood.
In this article, we will compare and contrast esports and traditional sports, and explain why you should encourage students to take up competitive gaming and create their esports team.
Before getting into the esports vs sports comparison, it is first important to establish precisely what we mean by esports. The term itself is short for ‘electronic sports’ and refers to competitive video game playing. Dictionary.com currently defines the concept as “competitive tournaments of video games”, while other sources refer to organized competitions between video game players or teams of video gamers.
A broad range of video game types can be used for esports purposes. First-person shooting games are a common example, but esports competitions and tournaments may also use fighting games, sports games, real-time strategy games, battle royale-style games, racing games, and more.
Within schools and other educational settings, the main obstacles to establishing an esports team are buy-in at the senior level, and the need for investment in the required equipment, including gaming computers and headsets. Yet, more and more schools are starting to see the benefits of esports and are now actively encouraging students to participate.
How Esports Can Help Students?
When attempting to understand the esports phenomenon, it’s crucial to look at the benefits it can provide students. As covered in a previous article, the benefits of high school esports are numerous, helping to teach crucial life skills, like preparation, goal setting, strategic thinking, and teamwork, which can serve students throughout their lives.
Esports can help students develop their social skills and can be a valuable extracurricular activity to engage with. Additionally, the rise of professional esports means it is an increasingly viable career path too.
In fact, in recent times there have even been attempts to legitimize esports by gaining Olympic Games recognition. In 2017, the International Olympic Committee concluded that esports “could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports.”
The Benefits of Traditional Sports
For any esports vs sports comparison to be useful, it is important to take a closer look at what traditional sporting activities provide students in terms of benefits too. The most immediately apparent area where traditional sports offer a benefit that esports cannot is physical activity and exertion.
Traditional sports help with character-building, teach students to handle their emotions, develop self-confidence, and learn discipline, perseverance, and patience. At the same time, sports can teach leadership skills and can boost overall enjoyment in education, which is vital for student engagement.
Beyond this, the physical movement associated with traditional sports provides a variety of health benefits, ranging from greater cardiovascular fitness and reduced risk of obesity and related illnesses, through to mental health benefits and a reduced chance of developing issues associated with sleeping habits.
The Limitations to Traditional Sports
However, there are some limitations to traditional sports too. One of the biggest problems that have been identified with sports in academic settings is the disproportionate attention given to more athletic students, who are already good at the sport in question when compared to those who are less athletic or new to the sport.
This can then lead to disengagement, where certain students are left behind. Feelings of exclusion and isolation are common among those who do not feel they are particularly good at the sport being played. The risk of injury is also a relevant concern, especially with contact sports.
There are also issues with how inclusive many traditional sports are. Differently-abled students, for example, are often unable to participate unless adaptations are made and some teachers are ill-equipped to make the necessary adjustments to lessons, resulting in a lack of opportunity to take part.
Esports vs Sports: Why Esports Should Be Encouraged
When you consider both the positives and negatives of traditional sports, the esports vs sports argument becomes more interesting. There are some benefits associated with traditional sports that esports cannot offer. However, one of the big plus points of having organized esports in schools is the inclusiveness it can provide.
Compared to traditional sporting activities, making adaptations to esports equipment to enable everyone to participate is relatively easy and video game developers are continually improving the accessibility of their games too, including thorough features like subtitles, motion controls, and compatibility with adapted game controllers.
At the same time, esports offers many of the same benefits as traditional sports too. The ability to work as part of a team can be developed through multiplayer strategy games in much the same way as it can be developed through team sports. The same is also true for learning things like patience, trial and error, and the importance of strategy.
Getting Started with Esports in Schools
Aside from understanding the benefits of esports in academic settings, one of the biggest obstacles is getting key decision-makers to invest in the right equipment. After all, for an esports team to become competitive against other schools’ teams, this investment is going to be critical.
When it comes to gaming PCs, you need to think about whether a laptop or desktop will be better. Generally, for performance, desktop computers are ideal, but high-end gaming laptops do offer the benefit of portability. Similarly, with headsets, there are considerations such as wireless vs wired and whether to opt for a built-in microphone. Our complete guide to the best esports setup includes a lot of additional information that can help you to find the right equipment.
Away from this area, the esports team at your school must be as inclusive as possible. While esports is competitive, the real value comes from students learning vital life skills while having fun, so try to make sure this sense of fun is at the heart of everything the esports team does.
The growing popularity of esports and ongoing efforts to has it recognized as a legitimate sport has helped to ignite the esports vs sports debate and get schools to think about how the two concepts compare. This debate is especially important in these academic settings because students stand to benefit from participation.
While it is fair to say that traditional sports do still offer advantages over esports in terms of physical activity, esports teach many of the same skills and life lessons, from developing teamwork and strategic thinking to learning the importance of patience and overcoming defeat. Combined with the accessibility it can offer, this makes it hugely valuable within schools and suggests esports teams should be actively encouraged and supported.