What is this phenomena called E-Sport?
E-Sport is a competition carried out in a virtual arena between either two teams with an equal number of team members or two professional "gamer" facing each other.
In order to defeat the other competitior, players and teams need to develop complicated tactics and moves, as well as highly specialised motoric skills.
These competitions are mostly carried out via the Internet in one of many official leagues, with the importance and frequency of localised events, in front of live audiences and in arenas as big as stadiums, steadily growing.
In Germany, the culture around E-Sport is rapidly advancing and, contrary to popular belief, has already established a great presence.
In 2014, the Grand Final of the "League of Legends Championship" was able to attract 11,2 milllion viewers over Internet streaming platforms and over 40,000 live spectators in a South-Korean stadium.
The venue for the 2015 European Championship has already been announced, and will be located in Berlin.
In South Korea, E-Sport is already recognised as a national sport and eclipses the popularity of traditional sports such as football or handball by a large margin. Professional gamer are considered celebreties in South Korea. Currently, such a hype would be unimaginable in Germany.
What are the problems of E-Sport?
The founding problem of E-Sport in Germany is how it is not yet considered an official sport discipline. This is, among many other problems, due to the extremly critical and conservative attitiude of the Gernam population and the DOSB (German Olimpic Sportsfederation) .
This negative stance is not directly aimed at E-Sports itself, but to video games in general.
The German media supports the stereotypical image of an aggressive, lonely and obese gamer with a tendency for commiting mass genocides.
With the DOSB also lacking acceptance and tolerance toward this modern culutural developement, professional gamer find it difficult to commit themselves to their aims beacause of missing social support in German society.
What are the advantages for Germany and its professional gamer?
The main benefits and reasons for a recognition encompass financial support, social, as well as public acceptance and a source for supporting youth culture. A recognition would also allow a similar club structure to that of football, where professionals have a steady income and do not have to rely on tournament prices to live off.
E-Sport has to be recognised as a sport because an inspection of the DOSB given criteria as well as Wikipedia's definition turn the argument in farvour of doing so.
The main criteria, the "physical and motoric activity" such as a form of running, may not be observable from a common perpective, but instead there are other sequential motoric movements which represent a physical activity. This means that while playing hands have to execute precise movements alongside a highly demanding eye-hand coordination equal to that of competetive shooting.
Many people think that E-Sport will never be able to become an authentic sport because personal health and fitness are not encouraged.
What is left out in this case is the fact how there are several other offically recognised sports which also do not require high levels of physical activity, such as: Sport-shooting, Chess, Billard, etc.
Additionally, the formulation that "practicing a sport has to have an inherent, sport-specific motoric activity at its core" is obsolete due to there already being other examples like Golf and Minigolf, Tennis and Tabletennis, Tockey and Icehockey, etc. which disprove the rule by having been officially recognised as an exclusive sport.
Thus, E-Sport cannot be ruled out on the basis that games like "DOTA2" or "League of Legends" require similar physical movements.
Futher, E-Sport having a strong competetive mentality at its foundation proves a determining criteria which the DOSB in its outdated practices often disregards in favour of physical activity. A contemporary revision of defenitions and practices would effectively deliver another argument for honouring E-Sport as a sport.
Similarily contemporary is the need for realising that E-Sport nowadays is an integral part of youth culture and as such the effect it has on social behaviour. Professional gamer are not merely recruited for their motoric abilities, instead, social interaction in the sense of the ability to communicate in a team, fairplay and generally being able to play with others, plays an important role. Especially in E-Sport the aspect of fairness is of very high signifance, a point every official sport has in common.
Considering that E-Sport is already recognised in many other countries, the DOSB argues that Germany being relatively autonomous in sport culture invalidates this comparison. However, the recogniton would rather show an adjustment to the technological and (youth-)cultural developements. Moreover, in the age of Globalisation one should consider that, to achieve international cooperation, it is needed to follow progression and support the idea of global standarts. Basically, the cultural change, the redefinition and expansion of the term "sport", especially in the area of youth-culture, is being ignored in its entirety. The basic denial of the DOSB to deal with technological developments creates a new basis for the fear of the unknown, specifically when it is touching upon the matter of Internet- and Video Game Culture.
That the criteria of the DOSB are quite flexible and a matter of interpretation is proven by their definition additionally highlighting how motorsports are no official sport. It is, however, observable that in the list of recognised sports the motoryacht-club has an entry.
It is conclusively assessable that, under any circumstance, the DOSB has to change its defintion of the term "Sport" to be able to fit contemporarily, which everyone will eventually realise when considering how the DOSB's own definition contradicts its list of acknowledged sports in some points.
But even if the current definiton and status quo serve as the basis of argumentation, E-Sport would have to be accepted as a competetive sport which requires fine motoric skills, the ability to work in a team and an increase in strategic/logical thinking.
In the name of all signers.
Wetzlar, 20 May 2015 (aktiv bis 19 Nov 2015)