Can Any Game Become An Esport?

Esports are definitely the most visible types of video games

There are many different parts that make up the gaming world and the gaming community. We highlight a variety of genres and styles on this site and most gamers will tell you that, although they might have a favorite, they will play a range of titles regularly.

But one part of the gaming world that has attracted a lot of attention recently is esports. High-profile events and gamers – as well as adoption by the mainstream, as seen by the number of people betting online on events – have made esports the first thing that most people think about when it comes to gaming.

But can any game become an esport? There do seem to be some parameters that help identify what can and cannot, be classified as an esport.

But it can become confusing at times. A lot of the games we have on this site may not be as complex as CS:GO or Dota 2 – but could they not be an esport too?

What is an Esport?

There is no one set definition of what an esport is. But, at its core, a game could be considered to be an esport if it can be played competitively, prizes are available to win, and there is enough of a scene or community surrounding the title. That still leaves a lot of scope for what esports can be, of course.

We could, for example, question whether a title needs a sizeable scene with a lot of attention within the gaming world to be an esport.

All non-single-player games can be played competitively, by their very nature, and anyone can put up a prize to be competed for. It seems as though a stricter definition is perhaps needed.

Community

One of the sometimes forgotten aspects of what makes a game an esport is a sense of community. The competition and prize elements are readily understood. But a title needs some kind of scene and supportive community behind it if it is to become an esport of any description.

Communities do not appear out of nowhere though. Early adopters and the actual developers are needed to get a buzz going about a game.

If the game is good enough, it will attract new participants and followers and the player base can then grow to form what can be considered a community or scene.

Competition and Events

This is probably the most visible sign of a game being an esport. Titles need to have a high degree of competition and this, in turn, will produce the events that are needed to make an esport successful.

We know that the biggest esports have tournaments and events that rival traditional sports for viewers.

But it must be said that not all games that have a competitive element will automatically be an esport. Minecraft is a good example. There are some competitive elements to the hugely popular and profitable title. But without a clear winner and loser, Minecraft fails to make the esport grade.

Complexity

This is the factor that many of the games on this site might fall down on. Many of the top esports are routinely described as “easy to learn, hard to master”.

This works well for the game, as it means that a lot of people will take it up but there is a clear chance for only a few people to become real stars.

This need for complexity also applies to how well a game adapts and changes over time. Some of the earlier esports have now experienced something of a decline, as they have not been dynamic enough to prevent gamers from getting bored. This is a fine line though, as too much change can alter the title completely.

Investment and Support

It is all very well having a thriving and ever-growing community behind a title. But there needs to be a serious investment for a game to continue to be an esport. With in-game purchases becoming a more popular way of raising funds, investment is needed from elsewhere.

The big, international esports tournaments do not just happen. Serious investments and deep pockets are required to pay for everything that goes into staging and promoting the events – and that is before the prize fund is added to the mix. A game could still be an esport without big events but it is not likely to stay around for long.

Not all games can be esports

Can a Simple Game Be An Esport?

So, we come back to what has been our main question about esports throughout this article. Could one of the more simple games on our site ever become known as an esport? Many of them would fit the criteria laid out in the beginning but fall down when it comes to investment.

A more simple game is also unlikely to be dynamic enough to keep a crowd interested. Some simple games are fiendishly addictive but that, in itself, is not enough to create an esports scene. There are also unlikely to be outside investors interested in the long term.

Enjoy Gaming

Esports has come a very long way in just the last ten years or so – and is an ever-evolving ecosystem. Although it seems as though there are some titles that have been around forever, favorites will come and go and new esports will spring up in due time.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying games or titles that don’t fit the esports classifications either though. Gaming should be for everyone and every game should be enjoyed for what it is. Esports may make the headlines but, at the end of the day, we just enjoy playing games – and that will never change.