tHog

E-sports vs. sports

Sports as open source activities

[2019-11-04] Imagine a world where Football Inc. owns all rights to the game of football (I'm European, so this means soccer). If you want your own ball, you need to buy the official one, because FI owns the intellectual property rights to the ball design. The same goes for other football gear such as shoes and shin guards. Moreover, only FI is allowed to organize official matches, due to similar exclusive rights.

Sound like fair game? It is the sad reality of e-sports. In football, kids can learn to play in their backyards using any makeshift gear, and if they pursue their career any further, there are multiple vendors of sports equipment. This is not possible in e-sports, because you need the official software license to start playing at all, plus the requisite hardware and likely an operating system license as well.

E-sports as consumable entertainment

As a programmer and a graphic artist, I worry about conflating gamers and makers into a single "computer geek" category. I appreciate the craft of programming and designing a modern 3D game; if anything, we should celebrate the geeks who make things rather than those who buy the products.

We don't, because e-sports is simply a business for making money by selling software. E-sports matches are nothing but advertisement for the game itself. Conversely, a football match might prompt a kid to buy some football equipment, but they aren't limited to the products of one single monopoly.


Risto A. Paju