E-sports – a new ball game

November 26, 2018

For those who watched the team selection day for the NBA 2K league, you may have been forgiven for being confused. The selected ‘athletes’ were not the giants of the basketball court that we are used to associating with the NBA. But have no doubt, these guys can slam dunk it with the best of them – just using a console rather than an actual basketball. With the commencement this year of the so called fourth league of the NBA, we can be left in no doubt that e-sports are a thing (although just exactly what that thing is remains unclear).

Currently, the world’s largest gaming market is in Asia. This market is primarily driven by the Korean and Mainland Chinese gaming industries; Hong Kong is behind the ball. However, with the recent gold medal win by the Hong Kong team in the 2018 Asian Games,[1] public interest in e-sports in Hong Kong is at an all-time high.

However, as this lucrative industry continues to grow, the demands to be legitimised as a genuine sporting arena bring with it its own challenges as to how to regulate and control this new sporting frontier.

The legitimacy of e-sports

Whether e-sports should even be considered a real sport or not is a hotly contested issue in itself, with players from opposing teams firmly rooted in their positions.

The defenders

On the one hand, there are the traditionalists who refuse to view e-sports as anything other than recreation. One such traditionalist, the President of the International Olympic Committee (“IOC“) Thomas Bach has been critical of the highly violent nature of most video games. Traditional sporting athletes have also expressed concern over the conflict of e-sports with the IOC’s advocacy…

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