Video gaming is a popular activity among many people today. More recently, eSports have started to gain popularity. ESports vary from first-person shooter games to fantasy games and even to electronic organized sports, such as football or soccer. Fans gather in huge stadiums to watch two eSport teams compete. There are different leagues that host different games. ESports, contrary to popular thought, are similar to sports in many ways. Both eSports and regular sports have commentators, strategy, teamwork, crowds of fans, and skilled players.
Also similar to sports, competitors can make an exceptional amount of money by playing well. Even though eSports bring in thousands of dollars for players, the encouragement of eSports may end up bringing harm, and even death, to many young lives.
Professional gaming is a high-income job for most eSport players. The standard pay for each team member is $12,500 during a 28-match season, but players can earn more by winning competitions. The winnings are not consistent, though.
One team, Team Liquid, made $14,258, 294.51 in a game called Dota 2. In another game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the team only won $949,121.68. Since 2017, Team Liquid has made a total of $18,231,389.11. Team Liquid’s total winnings come from over a thousand tournaments, but eSport teams can win over a million dollars from one tournament. For example, the eSport game Dota 2 can have winnings that reach more than 20 million dollars (Nguyen). ESport gamers can make millions of dollars. As a result, they are able to lead high-quality lives. ESport teams can be successful, but the reward comes with a cost.
Teamwork and strategical planning are skills eSport players need in order to be successful. On the outside, it may seem that becoming an eSport professional gamer is easy. But in reality, becoming a professional gamer could take as much work as an organized sport. ESport team members need to learn how to work together in order to accomplish the goal. If one player on an eSports team tries to outshine his teammates by ignoring them, then the team will most likely suffer a loss (NZ Herald). Without the other team member’s cooperation and support, winning would forever be in the distant future. Teamwork is the key to winning any tournament.
Amongst all the glory of winning, a dark figure arises: addiction; while this is not the case for each and every eSport players, many players become addicted to the dopamine effect gaming causes. Dr. Delaney Ruston conducted research on video gaming with her findings reported by Melissa Pandika, “Dopamine, the “feel-good hormone,” is part of the brain’s pleasure and reward circuits. Playing video games turns on similar brain regions as those linked to cravings for drugs and gambling” (Pandika). Dr. Ruston’s research shows that video games give the same dopamine effect as drugs. Although the dopamine received from video games can lead many to addiction, not everyone will become addicted. Even if gamers play for four hours a day, addiction is not guaranteed (Nichols).
While addiction may not be the case for each gamer, video gaming has other ways of hurting its players. One young man, Shawn, was addicted to his game. He became so addicted that his family and job were unimportant in his eyes. Shawn’s mom began to notice that he would suffer from seizures after playing the game for a long time. Shawn was found dead next to his computer with a gun lying nearby. He had committed suicide. Shawn is not the only victim of addiction. Many video game addicts will play for hours, often exceeding 20 hours. There are numerous people who have died from excessively playing video games. One young man, Chen, died after gaming for 23 hours. “Chen suffered from a heart condition, and the combination of fatigue, little movement, and cold weather temperatures overcame him.” Another young man, Chris, played for 12 hours at a time and eventually developed Deep Vein Thrombosis due to sitting for long periods of time. He died of a blood clot blockage in his lungs (L. Nguyen). Although it can be assumed most eSport gamers will not play for days, gamers can suffer from the same symptoms Chen and Chris suffered.
There are several ways an avid video gamer might die prematurely. As stated earlier sitting for four hours playing video games does not necessarily mean instant addiction (Nichols). However, Dr. Delaney Ruston’s research, restated by Melissa Pandika, showed that those who sit in front of a TV or Computer for more than four hours a day increase their chance of dying from heart disease. In addition, exercise will not help fight against the chance of heart disease (Pandika). Aside from a higher chance of heart disease, those who sit for more than three hours per day raise their rate of death by 19%. Also, a risk of diseases such as kidney disease, a stroke, and diabetes are also raised (Simon). Sitting for just a few hours can increase risks. Professional gamers sit for hours at a time either during practicing or a tournament.
In addition to the negative side effects of sitting, eSport players are also at risk of damaging their eyes. ESports contain a detrimental aspect that cannot be avoided: a digital screen. The symptoms that countless people experience after staring at a digital screen are “dry eye, blurred vision, headaches, nearsightedness, and eye fatigue” (Sight Matters). This condition is commonly called digital eye strain. These consequences do not seem too harmful, but they are not the worst of it. There are other unseen consequences. Electronics contain a blue light that penetrates to the back of the eyes. The blue light ignores our eyes’ filters and can cause permanent vision damage and eye diseases (Castle Pines). ESport players are at risk of damaging their eyes because they stare at digital screens for hours each day.
Regardless of the damage they cause, both sitting and digital screens are at the foundation of eSports. Since video gaming is their profession, eSport gamers must play for hours in order to succeed. An eSports team, Team Liquid, plays between 10 and 16 hours per day (Players’ Tribune). In one year, Team Liquid will end up spending somewhere between 3,650 and 5,840 hours of their life playing video games. Even with an off-season of four months, they will still be spending almost 4,000 hours practicing during the season. But even in their months off, eSports teams must keep practicing. Only a single month off of gaming will bring down the level of performance (Jacobs). Since it is critical for a gamer to practice often, then it is unlikely that a gamer will spend their four months off without playing. The two different and detrimental aspects, prolonged sitting and staring at a screen, make eSports more dangerous and more unlike organized sports.
Dissimilar to organized sports, such as football or soccer, eSports are detrimental to a person’s health. In organized sports, competitors must practice by exercising, eating right, and taking care of their bodies. In digital sports, competitors do not need exercise and healthy food in order to perform well. ESport players practice by sitting, moving their fingers, and clicking the mouse. Athletes run and move, but eSport gamers sit and stare. Professional athletes exercise and strengthen their heart; ESport gamers sit for hours and advance their risk of a premature death. Also, eSport gamers raise the risk of damaging their eyes from the blue light emanating from their computers. Organized sports are beneficial for the body while ESports are damaging to the body.
Although it is unhealthy and produces the opposite results of organized sports, ESports is growing. In today’s age, people play video games all around the world. The concept of eSports is rapidly becoming an activity to watch and do. Already, some of the biggest eSport games have millions of everyday players. For example, League of Legends has 32 million daily players. Call of Duty, another game that entered the eSport community, has 40 million monthly players (Tassi). ESports are especially popular among millennials. In fact, 75% of eSport viewers are millennials. Not only will millennials want to watch eSports, but the new job opportunity will appeal to them as well (Litfin). However, the effects of playing video games are still harmful, can be fatal, and should never be encouraged.
ESports damage its players in several different ways. ESports can bring in thousands of dollars for players, but its consequences are not worth it. Any eSpot league not only requires teamwork and skill but also prolonged sitting and digital screens. Whoever plays video games risks addiction, which can lead to excessive hours of playing. Those who participate in eSports risk their chance of sickness or even death. People who engage in eSports waste thousands of hours of their life. Video gaming has already ended numerous young people, leaving lives eternally young. Playing video games at any time can be harmful, but promoting it as a full-time job is dangerous. ESports are dangerous, should not be promoted, and will bring harm and possibly death to countless young lives.