“Supporting e-sport players is like supporting the French team during the Football World Cup,” according to Samuel Vansyngel

“Supporting e-sport players is like supporting the French team during the Football World Cup,” according to Samuel Vansyngel

How did the sportification of video games take place?

E-sport players repeat over and over again that video games have always been competitive, and this since the first games created in the laboratories of MIT in the United States (an article from the 1960s also reports a competition in a laboratory called “Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics”). However, it was only really in the years of the golden age of arcade (between 1970 and 1990) that tournaments were organized by publishers (Nintendo, Atari) to promote their game through events. local and international. However, these tournaments are in no way “e-sport” strictly speaking: they are not named and thought of as such.

It was only in the mid-1990s and early 2000s that another type of competition developed on computer games that could be connected via local or remote networks with the development of the Internet.

Local and international tournaments are created and directly promote “champions”: this is where the word “e-sport” appears (in an article in 1999 in Eurogamer), alongside other names (“cyber-sport ” For example). These tournaments, unlike the previous ones, are organized by associations or companies which are not directly linked to the video game publishers.

It is with the appearance of these independent organizers that video games are becoming sportier. Since then, different associations have tried to bring together practices at different national or international levels, but there is not yet one that has reached consensus among the different stakeholders.

In addition, since the 2010s, publishers have returned to organizing international tournaments on their own video games, forcing event organizers to review their place in this space (for example they specialize more in the broadcast of matches and the supervision of teams as well as in the organization of major events).

Is there a connection between e-sport and violence?

The relationship between video games and violence has not been established. Although some video games may appear “violent” on screen, that is not why the players are also violent. In reality, the question of violence induced by cultural objects, such as video games, but also cinema or music, is a kind of “moral panic”. That is to say that the people who establish this link between consumption and violence do so to warn of a “drift” which is not shown, and is most often based on news items.

The majority of video game players are not violent, even though game software content may show “violent” images and scenes. This software does not encourage players to do in reality what they do in game. On the contrary, games (video or not) are fun and amusing because it is possible to do “impossible” things in the game. reality.

What explains the enthusiasm of e-sport aficionados?

On the spectator side, concretely, there is nothing exceptional about enjoying watching people perform video games. These are logics similar to what we observe with fans of football, rugby or any other sport. Players enjoy watching other people play, especially if it involves seeing more expert people. In particular, competitions are events where we can see experts in a game compete against each other. The public supports one team or the other, each person having their favorites: it’s like supporting the French team during the football world cup.

What are the risks of addiction for them?

Although some cases of video game players have been diagnosed as being addicted, it should be noted that this remains rare. E-sport and video games remain above all a hobby, and for some, a profession. There is a priori very little risk, in an ordinary leisure activity, of becoming addicted to video games and their competitions. Most of the time, players are simply passionate about a video game, as fans and practitioners of other sports and physical activities can be.

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