It's no secret that esports is growing in popularity. In fact, esports is now a billion-dollar industry and it's only going to continue to grow. Many people still don't understand what esports is, or why it's such a big deal. In this blog post, we will address two of the biggest misconceptions about esports: esports is not a sport, and esports is glorified screentime.
Esports is Not a Sport
Clearly, there is a difference between the physicality of playing video games and that of other mainstream sports. I'll be the first to admit the physical demands of video games are not even worth comparing to sports like volleyball, soccer, or basketball. And while many studies have shown that there are benefits with hand-eye coordination, response time, etc. those don't really hold up when you compare them to the other benefits of playing in a competitive, controlled environment with a team.
This is where it can compete with and even surpasses other physical sports; the benefits children gain by learning to play effectively as team members, to use critical thinking and effective communication moment-by-moment, to strategize and improvise, to honestly assess their individual skills, performances, and to set tangible, achievable goals - these are what kids gain through participating in esports.
Esports is just Glorified Screentime
Because most people's exposure to video games comes from playing themselves or watching their children play them at home. If someone perceives all video games as recreation, it makes sense that their view of Esports is tied to that image of unstructured play. Using that image to then construct an Esports program isn't just ineffective, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Organizers that start with unclear or broad goals run the risk of creating just a meeting place for unstructured video game play. We've seen this happen multiple times and the result is predictable; it's no more than a social club at best and a place of toxic competition at worst. This doesn't just fail at the primary goal of esports, it creates the complete opposite effect and leaves kids, parents, and schools with a negative experience.
The real key is treating Esports with the gravity that it deserves in the planning and execution phase. One example is setting the correct expectations for both the adult and the children in the program. Like any other student program, without direction, it's not going to bare meaningful results. In contrast, establishing a plan to teach diligence, compassion, teamwork, and a goal-oriented mindset will result in a meaningful and long-lasting program. To do this, organizers need high-quality, planned content that reaches beyond just the playing of games.
So, if you’re thinking of starting your own esports program, make sure you have a clear goal in mind. What do you want the players to learn? How will they benefit from participating? And most importantly, how will this help them in their academic and personal lives? We can help you answer these questions and more. Just give us a message and we’ll be happy to chat with you about setting up your very own esports program. Thanks for reading! Follow us on social media: LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/stem-forged Instagram https://www.instagram.com/stemforged/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/STEMForged/