Throughout the whole “eSports” debate on whether eSports is a sport or not, many in the fighting game community have become more vocal against the term. I’ve been one to say stop comparing competitive gaming to sports and instead relate it to poker. Not only does it make sense, there are even examples of the crossover between poker and competitive gaming.
At Evo 2011, the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 champion, Viscant, used to make money by playing poker online. In fact, during a stream, he said that some of the players of the older era of fighting games traded in their fightsticks for mice to play legal online poker. It wasn’t until the recent crackdown of poker sites that Viscant and other went back to playing fighting games competitively.
It’s not just limited to fighting game players. Former competitive Starcraft players have found that spending their time in a virtual Casino online instead of the virtual battlefield was earning them money rather than just ranking points. The ability to focus on multiple objectives to then make the best decision in an instant has made these players some of the top online poker pros.
So stop trying to equate competitive gaming to sports. It gives the detractors an easy out when discussing the topic and it’s simply not a sport. Poker players tried to say poke was a sport, but just like eSports, a fair amount of them laughed at the possibility and responded with “No way. It’s just a game.”