E-sports are not sports / Jim Parry

Parry, Jim

The conclusion of this paper will be that e-sports are not sports. Parry begins by offering a stipulation and a definition. He stipulates that what he has in mind, when thinking about the concept of sport, is ‘Olympic’ sport. And he defines an "Olympic sport" as an institutionalised, rule-governed contest of human physical skill. The justification for the stipulation lies partly in that it is uncontroversial. Whatever else people might think of as sport, no-one denies that Olympic sport is sport. The conclusion is that e-sports are not sports because they are inadequately ‘human’; they lack direct physicality; they fail to employ decisive whole-body control and whole-body skills, and cannot contribute to the development of the whole human; and because their patterns of creation, production, ownership and promotion place serious constraints on the emergence of the kind of stable and persisting institutions characteristic of sports governance. Competitive computer games do not qualify as sports, no matter what ‘resemblances’ may be claimed. Computer games are just that—games.


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