Is Esports a Real Sport?

What is Esports? (A reminder)

Esports, short for “electronic sports,” refers to the competitive world of video gaming where individuals or teams face off in organized tournaments, often playing for substantial prize money and significant prestige. Over the past few decades, esports has rapidly grown in popularity, evolving from casual competitions among friends to global events broadcasted to millions of viewers. Major esports tournaments can rival traditional sports events in terms of viewership, with arenas filled to capacity and passionate fans from around the world. A variety of games, ranging from real-time strategy titles, first-person shooters, to multiplayer online battle arenas, serve as the foundation for these competitions. As the industry has expanded, it has also fostered career opportunities, including professional players, coaches, analysts, and broadcasters, underlining esports’ transformation into a legitimate and influential component of modern entertainment.

A (very) brief history of Esports and its growth in 21st century

In the early days of esports, during the late 1990s and early 2000s, competitive video gaming was mostly a grassroots movement, with enthusiasts organizing small-scale tournaments in local LAN (Local Area Network) parties or arcades. Games like “Quake,” “StarCraft,” and “Counter-Strike” were foundational. By the 21st century, the landscape had dramatically shifted. For instance, the League of Legends World Championship in 2019 boasted over 100 million viewers, with the finals alone attracting an audience of 44 million concurrent viewers. Platforms like Twitch, launched in 2011, have also played a crucial role; by 2020, Twitch amassed over 140 million monthly active users, highlighting the growing appeal of esports and gaming broadcasts. Large tournaments, such as The International for “Dota 2”, have offered prize pools exceeding $30 million, showcasing the lucrative potential of the industry. As the years have passed, esports transitioned from a niche subculture to a global spectacle, backed by multi-million dollar sponsorships, professional teams, and players securing six to seven-figure contracts. Here is the list of highest paid esports players.

Why is there a debate?

The debate over whether esports can be classified as a “sport” stems from traditional definitions and perceptions of what constitutes athletic competition. Conventional sports often emphasize physical prowess, training, and agility, whereas esports primarily involves mental acuity, strategic planning, and quick reflexes, but in a more sedentary setting. Detractors argue that the lack of intense physical activity means esports shouldn’t be placed in the same category as traditional sports. However, proponents counter this by highlighting the rigorous training, discipline, team coordination, and competitive nature of esports, which mirror many aspects of traditional sports. Moreover, just as chess and other mind sports have been recognized for their competitive and strategic elements, many believe esports should be similarly acknowledged. The debate also touches on broader issues of cultural acceptance and the evolution of entertainment and competition in the digital age.

Similarities are uncanny

Obviously, we believe that Esports is a sport and should be recognised as such, but let’s look at some examples of why this might be the case:

  1. Physical Demands: Esports requires hand-eye coordination, timing, and quick reflexes, with some games demanding physical endurance.
  2. Mental Rigor: Players employ strategy, quick decision-making, and adaptability, much like traditional sports.
  3. Training: Pro players have intensive training schedules, often paralleling the dedication of traditional athletes.
  4. Teamwork: Many esports titles necessitate high-level team coordination and communication, similar to team-based sports.
  5. Organizational Structure: Esports boasts leagues, teams, coaches, rules, and official tournaments, resembling the infrastructure of established sports.
  6. Economic Influence: With its sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and advertising, esports mirrors the economic aspects of traditional sports.
  7. Global Appeal: International tournaments and fan bases in esports echo global sports events like the Olympics.
  8. Health Considerations: Esports players face physical and mental health challenges, highlighting the need for similar support structures as in other sports.
  9. Cultural Shift: The rise of digital entertainment is redefining traditional notions of sport, placing esports at this evolution’s center.

Devil is in the detail

Now, let’s play devil’s advocate and see what arguments are there against calling Esports a real Sport

  1. Physical Activity: Esports lacks the cardiovascular exertion typical of traditional sports.
  2. Digital vs. Physical: Competing in a virtual environment differs from a physical field or court. (This by the way is changing rapidly with the growing popularity of gaming arenas and academies where players have a physical place to play and train)
  3. Traditional Views: Esports may not align with longstanding definitions of sports rooted in physical activity and outdoor elements.
  4. Health Concerns: The sedentary nature of esports raises potential health risks like obesity and eye strain.
  5. Mental Over Physical: Esports emphasizes mental strategy more than physical athleticism, likening it to chess or poker.
  6. Cultural Resistance: Older generations may not view competitive gaming as a sport due to unfamiliarity.
  7. Game Inconsistency: The variety of esports games, each with unique rules, may lack the uniformity of traditional sports.
  8. Continuous Play: Unlike traditional sports seasons, esports can be played year-round without breaks.


Without a doubt, both sides of the fence have valid reasons to lean one way or the other. It all boils down to every individual’s personal answer to a question of: What is a Sport? If sport is a physical activity that must involve running, jumping or fighting with fists, then the answer is no, Esports cannot be considered a sport. Undoubtedly though, for most people, sport goes way beyond the sweating; it’s about the discipline, mental and physical resilience, competition, comradery and allegiance. Truly, watching or playing a sport should invoke our best qualities and Esports certainly hits the mark on this.

What lies ahead

In the coming years, esports is poised to become an even more integral part of the mainstream sporting ecosystem. The rapid evolution of technology and the proliferation of high-speed internet access worldwide have already set the stage for virtual competitions to be just as exhilarating and engaging as traditional sports. With younger generations growing up with video games as a fundamental part of their recreational activities, the audience for esports continues to expand. Moreover, significant investments from celebrities, traditional sports figures, and major corporations underscore the sector’s potential for exponential growth. Cities are now vying to build dedicated esports arenas, and universities are offering scholarships for top-tier gaming talent, mirroring the pathways established for athletes in traditional sports. As global viewership continues to rise and the production quality of esports events reaches new heights, it won’t be long before esports stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the most celebrated sports in the world, merging the lines between digital athleticism and physical prowess.

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Esports Player
The Golden Joystick (or Keyboard)

How Much Do eSports Players Really Make?

In the world of sports, discussions about athletes’ salaries often spark intrigue and astonishment. The eSports industry is no exception. As competitive gaming has skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade, so have the earnings of its top players. But just how lucrative is a career in eSports?

Tiers of Earnings

  1. Entry-Level Players: Just like any profession, newcomers in the eSports scene usually earn less. Depending on the game and the league, starting salaries for players in recognized leagues can range from $1,000 to $5,000 per month. This doesn’t account for additional earnings from sponsorships, streaming, or prize money.
  2. Professional Players: Players who’ve made a name for themselves in popular games like “League of Legends,” “Dota 2,” or “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” (or Counter-Strike 2) can expect much heftier paychecks. Salaries can range from $5,000 to $40,000 a month. In addition to base salaries, many of these players receive benefits like health insurance, training resources, and even housing.
  3. Elite Players: The crème de la crème of the eSports world take home staggering sums. With tournament prize pools sometimes hitting tens of millions, a top player’s annual earnings can exceed millions. For example, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, known for his prowess in “Dota 2,” has earned over $6.8 million solely from tournament wins.

Additional Streams of Income

Aside from base salaries and tournament winnings, players often have multiple revenue streams:

  1. Streaming: Platforms like Twitch and YouTube allow players to monetize their gameplay and interactions with fans. Popular streamers can make thousands daily through ads, donations, and subscriptions.
  2. Sponsorships & Endorsements: Brands eager to tap into the youthful demographic of eSports often sponsor players, offering them lucrative deals to wear their gear or promote their products.
  3. Merchandising: Top players and teams release their merchandise, from T-shirts to gaming accessories, adding another revenue stream.

Factors Affecting Earnings

Several factors can influence a player’s earnings:

  • Game Popularity: More popular games generally have larger prize pools and more sponsorship opportunities.
  • Team Performance: Consistent high performance in tournaments can significantly boost earnings from prize money.
  • Marketability: Players with charismatic personalities can attract more lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals.

In conclusion, the potential earnings in eSports vary widely, but as the industry continues to grow, it’s clear that a career in competitive gaming can be incredibly rewarding. While not every player will become a millionaire, those who invest in their skills, branding, and marketability have a golden joystick leading them to financial success.

Money is not everything though, one thing that separates best players from the rest is the ability and desire to learn, develop and self-improve. Learn more about how our students develop growth mindset here at Metalions Academy.

Rocket League or How Football with Rocket Powered Cars Stormed the World of Esports

Rocket League, a unique fusion of soccer and rocket-powered cars, has taken the gaming world by storm since its release in 2015. Developed by Psyonix, this innovative video game has not only gained immense popularity but has also become a platform for skill development, teamwork, and creativity, making it an excellent choice for kids. Ok, maybe the title for this article is a bit overdramatic, but hear us out…

In this article, we will delve into the history of Rocket League, tracing its roots, evolution, and the impact it has on children, highlighting the numerous benefits it offers for their growth and development.

The Birth of Rocket League

To understand Rocket League’s significance, we must first explore its origins. Rocket League is not the first game of its kind; it’s an evolution of Psyonix’s earlier title, “Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars” (SARPBC), released in 2008 for the PlayStation 3. SARPBC introduced the concept of rocket-powered cars playing football, but it failed to gain widespread recognition due to various factors, including its complex gameplay and limited marketing.

Rocket League, however, was designed with a more accessible approach. Released in July 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, it quickly garnered attention due to its easy-to-learn mechanics and exhilarating gameplay. The game allowed players to control customizable rocket-powered cars, scoring goals in a football-style match with oversized balls. This blend of skill and thrill paved the way for Rocket League’s rise to stardom.

Rocket League’s Meteoric Rise

Rocket League’s success can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, the game’s accessibility made it appealing to players of all skill levels. Its basic mechanics, which revolve around driving and hitting the ball into a goal, are easy for beginners to grasp, while the advanced mechanics and techniques offer a high skill ceiling for more experienced players. This delicate balance between simplicity and depth helped Rocket League build a diverse and dedicated player base.

Secondly, Psyonix employed effective marketing strategies, including partnerships with popular esports organizations and content creators. This not only increased the game’s visibility but also laid the foundation for a thriving competitive scene.

The introduction of cross-platform play further expanded Rocket League’s player base and encouraged a sense of community among players. Whether on PlayStation, Xbox, or PC, players could unite in matches and compete against each other, fostering a global gaming culture.

Benefits of Rocket League for Kids

Rocket League offers numerous advantages for kids. Ultimately, as with most competitive multi-player games, Rocket League can be instrumental in developing cognitive functions, reflexes and foster creativity. However, the are some aspects of the game that place it in a unique position to make a difference very early in kids development:

  • Enhanced Hand-Eye Coordination: Rocket League demands precise control. Players must navigate the field, make split-second decisions, and coordinate their actions accurately. This enhances hand-eye coordination, which can benefit children in various life aspects, such as academics and sports.
  • Strategic Thinking: Rocket League isn’t merely about hitting the ball aimlessly. It requires strategic thinking, teamwork, and understanding the game’s mechanics. Kids learn to anticipate opponents’ moves, plan their actions, and collaborate as a team—skills essential in gaming and real-life scenarios.
  • Creativity and Problem-Solving: The game’s physics engine allows for creative and unpredictable plays. Players develop problem-solving skills as they figure out innovative ways to score goals and make saves. This approach fosters a growth mindset, viewing failures as opportunities for improvement.
  • Sportsmanship and Fair Play: Rocket League’s online multiplayer setting teaches kids about sportsmanship and fair play. They interact with players from diverse backgrounds and learn about respect, teamwork, and graciousness in both victory and defeat.
  • Quick Decision-Making: Decisions in Rocket League must be fast. Kids learn to quickly analyze situations, decide under pressure, and adapt to changing circumstances—valuable skills in academics, extracurriculars, and future professional endeavors.
  • Community and Social Skills: Engaging with the Rocket League community, be it through casual or competitive play, allows kids to socialize with peers. They make friends, communicate, and collaborate, enhancing their social skills and sense of belonging.
  • Introduction to Esports: Rocket League’s competitive environment exposes kids to esports. This introduction can unveil potential career opportunities and emphasize dedication, discipline, and hard work’s importance for success.

Rocket League’s transformation from a niche concept to a global phenomenon underscores its allure and enduring appeal. Its unique blend of football and rocket-powered cars provides not just entertainment but also essential lessons and skills for children. From honing hand-eye coordination to instilling strategic thinking and sportsmanship, the game has manifold benefits.

Whether looking to achieve esports stardom or to learn essential life skills, Rocket League world has it all. It is essential though, that an aspiring and passionate gamer receives appropriate guiding on their way to exploring the amazing world of competitive Rocket League. If that sounds good, we offer free trial Rocket League classes where kids get to join their peers in a live, competitive environment under guidance of a professional Esports Coach.

See you at Metalions Academy

Learn more about the world of Esports on our Blog

Esports Pro Player
Road to becoming a professional Esports Player

What is Esports and who Esports players are?

Esports refers to competitive video gaming where players participate in organized tournaments or leagues, often for prize money. Professional esports player is an individual who competes at the highest levels of these tournaments, often as a member of organized teams, and earn their primary or significant income from playing video games competitively.

How Players Compete and Earn

Esports players actively compete in organized video game tournaments, dedicating countless hours to practice and improve their skills. They earn money in various ways: through prize money from tournament victories, contracts and salaries from esports teams, sponsorships from brands associated with gaming, revenue from streaming their gameplay on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, and endorsements or collaborations with gaming and non-gaming companies alike.

Sounds Good but how do I start?

Now there isn’t really a secret formula to becoming a professional esports player as with most things it requires dedication, discipline and a pinch of talent. However, below we will attempt to outline some key things to focus on that aspiring gamers can use to guide them on the path to stardom:

  1. Choose Your Game (duh…)
    • Chances are you already know but you should take into consideration how popular the game is and how active is the competitive scene
    • Ultimately, you want a game that really resonates with you. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become expert in something so you are best to choose the game you can stick with
  2. Get Active in the Community Go out and meet people! Local tournaments, community nights and other events are perfect for it. The beauty of esports is that a lot of the networking happens online so get involved in forums, Discord groups and online chats that talk games and Esports. Each competitive Esports title has a rich and vibrant online community so take advantage!
  3. Find the Right Equipment Invest in quality gaming peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and headsets (and a comfortable chair that’s good for your posture!)
  4. Practice Often
    • Set a regular practice schedule, treating it with the discipline of any other sport. There are academies like the Metalions Academy which help you foster those skills in a structured environment
    • Analyze your gameplay to identify areas of improvement.
    • Use tools and resources to refine specific skills and strategies, speak, play and learn from other people, especially if they are better than you
  5. Stay up to date
    • Stay updated on patches, meta changes, and strategies.
    • Learn from losses as much as from victories.
  6. Start Small
    • Enter local tournaments or online leagues to gain experience.
    • Focus on incremental progress and set short-term goals.
    • Seek feedback and constantly adjust your approach.
  7. Join or Create a Team
    • Collaborate with players who complement your skills and share your dedication.
    • Communicate effectively, focusing on teamwork and synergy.
    • Play often but don’t forget about building positive team dynamic by hanging out in the real world!
    • If you want to learn more about how to create a team read here

Being an Esports player and competing on the big scene is an exhilarating life that’s every gamer’s dream. At the same time, it’s a brutal and competitive world so aspiring players should be aware that it is not an easy goal to achieve so you will need resilience, discipline and definitely a good bit of luck.

Best Esports players in the world start off from a young age though by submerging themselves in an environment just like the one at Metalions Academy, where players don’t just practice mechanical skills but also learn skills that are crucial in gaming and greater life, including communication, teamwork, cognitive reasoning and discipline