Editorial: Are Fighting Games the Next eSport?

By on August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ve probably heard of eSports. With the recent release of Street Fighter IV, many in the eSports scene have championed fighting games as the next big thing, right behind the juggernaut that is Starcraft 2. The lure is big money for the players, more exposure for fighting games, and mainstream appeal. So, is Street Fighter the next eSport?

First of all, what’s an eSport? For the last 15 years or so, the eSports movement has championed the cause of video games as a sport, just like baseball or basketball. Many of their efforts borrow elements from traditional sports leagues like big money contracts, player drafts, and pro-style broadcasting. When someone says “eSports” they are not just talking about playing games competitively. The term eSports is rooted in the belief that eventually pro video games will have the same level of recognition as traditional sports in society.

The fighting game community is about as old as the eSports movement. We’ve been around a little longer, but not by much. But we have grown up under a very different model; one rooted in personal relationships – many times positive, sometimes negative, but always personal. I’m sure many of you have your own personal story about a rival who you at first hated, then grew to respect and like through playing the game. Nearly all of us were brought into the scene by another player who took us under their wing and introduced us to other local players. That is the magic of the arcade culture, which continues to live on through us. Fighting games are a medium to test your mettle, but fundamentally they are also about making bonds with other gamers through competition. And those bonds endure after the competition ends. I’ve made lifelong friends playing Street Fighter. Friends who have stuck around long after our playing days are over.

What we have is not at all like a pro sport, and there’s no reason to twist it to a pro-sporting model, or any other model for that matter. Just call it what it is, because it’s totally awesome. We play fighting games competitively, against a worldwide community of players. Many of us travel around the country (some around the world!) doing the thing we love. Along the way we meet a lot of great people and see things that we would never have seen if not for our love of gaming.

Ok, but why not just call this thing an eSport too? Do we have anything to lose? Yes, in fact we do (and here’s the part where I piss a bunch of you off.  Sorry about that.), because the eSports movement’s obsession with following a traditional sporting model is toxic. The very term “eSports” is argumentative and counterproductive.

Destructoid.com recently put out a public call for blogs on eSports. Among some other blogs, they got back this gem which basically rejected the concept out of hand.  According to the author:

“Videogames will likely never become as popular as true sports, very simply because they are not a sport — they are a GAME. In my parent’s era, they played billiards, darts, bowling, poker, bridge or Canasta. There was both a social and a competitive element. Today, people play videogames. Just as billiards, poker and bowling have all been televised, so too may gaming be televised, but it will never be the same as actual sporting events and because of the different genres involved. Gaming will, to some degree, always be a niche form of televised entertainment, unlikely to appeal to the broader masses.”

Not such a raving review.  Now here’s the crazy part.  This author is actually bullish on the prospects of competitive gaming!  In the same piece she writes:

“That being said, competitive gaming will continue to evolve and increasingly it will likely be broadcast in some form. That form may not be on your TV, but maybe on your computer, your PS3 or your Xbox as a livestream.

Gaming is gaming. Get over it. There is no need for gaming to be “sports” and the people that play games professionally are not “cyber athletes.” They are gamers. Period. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.”

So here is my fundamental problem with the term eSports.  It immediately invites an unnecessary comparison to real sports.  It puts people on the defensive.  The author is not objecting to the idea of playing games competitively, or that lots of people will watch it as a form of entertainment.  She objects to calling it a sport, in the same way that many people don’t think bowling or chess is a sport.  It’s easy to say that people like this are just uneducated and don’t get it, but the reality is that this whole eSports concept still does not have mainstream support, even among gamers.

And starting a conversation about competitive gaming with an implicit argument (games are spooorrrrts!) isn’t a great outreach strategy.  More often than not the term just leads to a debate about “what counts as a sport.”  When you do that, you’ve already changed the subject away from something awesome (the competition and the people) to a boring debate about words, and whether gamers could someday hope to latch on to some of that sports-hero cool.  When you’re doing it right, you don’t need to borrow anything from anyone.

The eSports drive to emulate sports leagues is also puzzling.  The sports model inherently tries to borrow legitimacy from something else rather than standing on its own two feet.  It wants to be awesome by association, rather than going the harder route of being so awesome that nobody can deny it.  I know and love the fighting game community, and I know it is ALREADY awesome, without borrowing any cool by association.   Other kinds of competitive games are awesome as well, and in many ways all of this stuff is more persuasive than the sporting content you’ll find on television.  It’s precisely because the content is so awesome on its own that this obsession with a sports model frustrates me.

So the danger in calling Street Fighter an eSport is that we lose the ability to talk about what the fighting game scene is really about, using competitive gaming to build relationships with real people, and instead get rolled up into the whole eSports messaging about games as professional sports.  This bears repeating: the fighting game scene has thrived because of the heart and passion of gamers and because of the ways in which we are exactly not like a pro sports league. Calling Street Fighter an eSport betrays our very identity.

The good news is that competitive gaming IS thriving, both in fighting games and the traditional eSports scene.  In the fighting game community we need to think about what we value and why we’re playing these games in the first place.  Hopefully the eSports folks out there will do the same.  What we have is so unique and so great that there’s no need to pigeon hole it into a predefined box.  We can find our own path, just like we always have.  Long live Starcraft.  Long live fighting games.  Long live competitive gaming!

[image via Karaface]
  • Vicioushellsing

    Good read. And I also hate the term esports.

    • ShinOwen

      Very good read. but me myself, I fear this. Why. Cause I want to see the community stay in control over what we have build up over the long years. Now im not saying I dont want player’s to be paid well or not see good fights on T.V., but handing the fighter’s over to the main stream means we lose control. Think about it, no more cussing, no more saying what we want to say, no more loud out burst of joy (golf). All I’m saying is be careful of what you wish for guys you just might get it.

    • kingsharkboi


      eSports is basically a short term for “WannabeSports”

      • The Game mario316

        lol right…..

    • Skone

      I personally dont care if its called e-sports or competitive gaming….

      All I wanted to say was….

      Fighting games behind Starcraft 2??? Cmon, even you should be aware that League of legends is farther up the ladder than fighting games. 500,000 dollar grand prize, 200,000 simultaneous viewers. DOTA 2 tournament with 1 MILLION dollars in cash prize. FGC isn’t number 2 at all. There are other games with more fans and more money.

      • Kream

        Sad but true 🙁
        Not enough money being thrown around in the FGC. Money is always important ;D

      • jellytooth

        If you dont see how the FGC is #1 then you obviously aren’t a part of the community. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

        Also while I dont want to get into a numbers war, because its about more than that, EVO did just take the record for most viewed stream (by far) in the history of competitive gaming.

        • jesseBoKe

          Sorry, you’ll have to show the numbers to top even an MLG: 35 million unique stream serves, 450k+ unique stream viewers averaging 4hrs+ over a weekend, well over 100k concurrent viewers and over 20,000 live attendees…

          • jesseBoKe

            Shit I can’t edit, I want to take the word unique from stream serves. It counts refreshes, but is apparently the metric marketing people are interested in

          • jellytooth

            Why are you telling me about stream serves like that means anything?

            2 million unique viewers. Thats all that matters.

          • TooItchy

            uh, stream refreshes don’t mean shit….

          • jesseBoKe

            Weird, I can’t reply to #9 directly. Anyway, I doubt EVO had 2 million uniques, and I’m 100% sure that it had less viewers than MLG. I can’t make an argument you would recognize though so I won’t try. Both scenes are growing at an incredible rate, and it doesn’t help anything to make false claims about your own scene being bigger.

          • jesseBoKe

            BTW I’m not an expert on what means what but MLG Sundance is and he said the most important number to advertisers is the 35 million number. Ads are served every time you refresh and they assume a certain number of click throughs regardless of the actual number of click throughs.

          • jellytooth

            Actually if you will look back a page or two the numbers are given. Why would I lie and say that EVO had 2 million when the numbers are there to back it up? And why would you even bother replying when you cant even be bothered to google it? And guess what MLG doesnt provide the number of unique viewers that watch, WONDER WHY!

  • Foolinfection


    Finally. Somebody “gets” it.
    Best “esports” related article ever!

    • KenAdamsNSA

      Agreed. I think we can end this whole argument now and just link everybody on Earth to this article. Well-written, well done!

  • Kazama x Hadou

    This is an interesting read. Nicely done, inkblot!

  • entrerix

    i tend to agree with a lot of this. people say esports like it means something more than it does, i can’t stand watching competitive starcraft, but i love to watch fighting games, so does that mean i like or dislike esports? not all games are the same, throwing them into the same box and labeling it esports does every single individual game a disservice.

    on the other hand, people like shorthand, and they like categorizing things. so fighting the label may be an uphill battle as time goes on.

  • Geese Pants

    Agree 100% with you Inkblot………….

  • BardicKnowledge

    Really glad to see this perspective — thanks for taking the time to write it.

  • jchensor

    I think it also highly depends on WHICH sports model you are referring to. Most sports have highly different structures. The problem really is with AMERICAN sports. We have to think more about WORLD sports, where competition grows beyond a country.

    Obviously, we can’t follow a model like Soccer, with a “championship” every four years. Also, it’s still a team sport. FIghting Games aren’t team sports.

    But I’ve repeated this over and over in many interviews and in many personal conversations: the sports model Fighting Games absolutely NEED to follow is the Tennis model. Individual players all traveling alone to a tournament. Most of them are friends and are only enemies on the court. Rivalries, friendships, bonds, etc. are formed in almost the same way that they are formed in Fighting Games.

    And how do they get around to these tournaments? Luckily for them, sports sponsors like Nike, Adidas, Yonex, Penn, etc. have huge motivations to sponsor players, but they pay for a lot of the athletes’ costs so that the athlete can sport their clothing on the court in hopes they do well, make it far into the bracket-based tournament, and end up in the finals wearing their gear.

    It all sounds very familiar.

    I agree 100% that Fighting Games and competitive video games, in general, need to stop being called eSports just to kill the ridiculous need to compare it with athletic sports (aSports?). But it can still use some of the established aSports out there to be a model for how the scene can grow and function. Tennis is where we should be looking, with a ranking system, tiered level of tournaments, grand slam events, etc. etc.

    – James

    • inkblot

      Hi James. The annual fighting game circuit does share some characteristics with Tennis, and I agree that there is certainly a role for player sponsors in the scene. This has been one aspect of the traditional eSports scene that has been a welcome addition to fighters.

      But motivation is an important factor. We did not grow the scene out of a desire to emulate professional tennis, and we don’t use pro tennis as a compass to guide our decision making. Borrowing successful ideas from all industries is always smart, but I think you’ll agree that the FGC has always had an independent streak and forged our own destiny.

      • jchensor

        Oh yeah, absolutely. Fighting Games are their own thing, and should never choose to emulate anything else. It can certainly look to other places for ideas, but it 100% needs to forge its own standards.

        The future of the Fighting Game Community will be decided by the leaders within the community, not by outsiders who think they know what’s best for us. And that’s where the biggest strength of our community has always been: the pure talent and resourcefulness of those in the scene.

        • Bastard_Wolf

          Great points. Also, I’m totally reading this with jchensor’s voice. ARE YOU SERIOUS??!.

          • dommafia

            Same here xD

    • thejohnsonrock

      hopefully i’ll be doing some aSports this weekend

  • RoboKrikit

    I was actually thinking table tennis, but same thing basically.

  • Master Chibi

    Thank you.

    I fucking hate the term ‘eSports’ with a passion.

    I like how the term wasn’t even relevant until a week ago anyway, go figure.

  • nakadish

    I think someday, competitive gaming will be bigger/as big as traditional sports, and other forms of entertainment.

  • Tonio

    In her article she said that sports are more exciting than “esports” (competitive gaming) because there’s the chance someone will get hurt… that’s retarded. I watch Street Fighter and Sports for the strategy, and overall brilliance brought out by fierce competition. I bet women just don’t get it… BTW this article should be featured on destructoid: http://shoryuken.com/forum/index.php?threads/why-street-fighter-rules-part-1.91154/ (the domination 101 article by s kill)

  • specs
  • davidkong07

    awesome article!

  • Digital Masta

    there is nothing wrong with the term competitive gaming or pro gaming but i hate the term esports. Its a slap in the face to real sports. Because the amount of work required to be pro level and stay at that level in sports is infinitely more difficult than in competitive gaming. This doesn’t mean that competitive gaming is any less competitive but its not a sport. Also the outside world will accept the term competitive gaming but they will laugh every time they hear esports.

    • FishStix

      Tell that to the Korean StarCraft pros who play 8-14 hours a day, every day. Those are the guys who win tournaments. Pretty sure they practice as many hours as anyone else in “real sports.”

      • Digital Masta

        its too bad i am on my phone and therefore cannot respond to this the way i want to but 8 to 14 hours of starcraft is not the same as 8 to 14 hours working your body and mind in order to stay at the top level in soccer, basketball, football, tennis, etc.

        • jellytooth

          Actually, its exactly the same. Anytime you actively train to become better at something its hard work. Just because you have to exercise doesn’t make it more difficult. Football is difficult in its own way, just as competitive gaming is difficult in its own way. Or would you say being Peyton Manning is ‘more difficult’ than being Velasquez or Einstein? If so I’d say you are delusional.

        • Orochi Ganon

          What you are measuring is physical work compared to mental work. People are good in different aspects depending on their qualities. You sir are slapping people in the fighting game community in the face for saying that it requires much more “work” to obtain a certain goal. Take daigo for example, how many hours of training did he put into arcade edition to ‘secure’ a win at evo which he didnt even get? Like physical limits, it is also mentally draining and many cannot keep up with top level play no matter how much practice they put in. This is extremely competitive and one should recognize the skill and dedication one puts in, your vision of what video games are and their limits should not be smeared around here.

        • TooItchy

          rofl. Cause muscle memory, and strategy, and staying composed are not required in either case… Lifting weights is physically tough, training yourself to become the best starcraft player or SF/MVC3/whatever game player is mentally, and physically tough. To be the best at anything takes a lot of work, practice, and dedication. Just because one uses more muscle than mind, doesn’t mean it is somehow tougher.

  • Nybb

    There can be benefit in adapting some things from established sports, as James Chen just pointed out, but I agree that accepting “eSports” as a label has a lot of problems. I really liked what somebody tweeted recently — I think it was UltraDavid — that fighting games are just games; poker is a commercialized game with sponsorships and top players, but it’s still just Poker. Nobody feels the need to start calling it a cSport.

  • FishStix

    Great article, however I am curious as to why you believe the ‘eSports’ community tries to emulate real sports models. I don’t see that connection at all.

    Simply because we have the word ‘sports’ in the title we gather behind doesn’t mean we actually believe that what we are doing should follow or emulate what has been established by traditional sports. This goes back to the semantics argument that pushed this discussion in the first place, and one I am frankly not interested in going into further.

    I see the eSports community as doing its own thing, just like the fighting game community. But to me, they are fundamentally doing the exact same thing and striving for the exact same goals. That’s why I believe we need to find a way to move on pat the semantical argument and band together under one banner, whether it be “eSports,” “competitive gaming,” or anything else.

    • inkblot

      Hi Fish Stix!

      Nice to hear from you. I don’t want to call out anyone personally because that wasn’t the point of this article. You don’t have to dig too far to find prominent members of the eSports community saying exactly that they are trying to follow a pro sports model. If you’re really interested, PM me.

    • jchensor

      I disagree. The article that Tom refers to clearly talks about eSports compared to aSports. The problem with calling them eSports is that is invariably causes those comparisons. And it’s those kinds of comparisons we need to avoid. And while I appreciate the optimism you have that eSports can remain a truly separate entitiy from aSports, but I believe that by the virtue have having the word “sports” in the title, it will always have that comparison ready to be pounced on.

      That’s why the term eSports is invariably bad for the competitive gaming scene, IMO.

      • FishStix

        OK, I get where you’re coming from. I just don’t see people drawing that connection forever. eSports is *almost* a household word at this point, and has its own strong connotations. The meaning of the word is what the majority of people think it means.

        Obviously, our perceptions of what eSports means to the general public are different. We should probably make a talk-show to hash these subjects out a little bit more…. 😉

      • TooItchy

        Absolutely. I have always seen the term eSports, defined as some sad attempt at legitimizing competitive gaming (even though it’s widely accepted in itself). But whenever you call it eSports (at least in my experience) people laugh, and see right through the name, and how it’s trying to compare itself to athletic sports.

        My personal views have always seen the FGC, and the eSports community as seperate, and I could never see fighting games being an eSport, simply because the term does not fit what I have come to know, and love of this community. And nor do I want it to. If that sounds elitist, then whatever, I’m honestly not, I just don’t want to feel like I have to legitamize something I love, by using a term that will always sound like you’re saying “yes i’m a gamer, but gaming is a sport, so don’t make fun of me please!!”

  • Sav1xx

    Inkblot for president of the universe. We dont need to try and steal cool from traditional sports by pretending to be like them, FGC is on its own trip and WE DA BEST, MAN

  • Digital Masta

    and no gaming will never be as popular as pro sports and the reason is obvious.

    • jellytooth

      You know how ignorant you sound when you say ‘never’? I bet the guy who invented basketball throwing a ball through a ring in his back yard never thought it would be a huge multi million dollar league someday. There are people who create and people who wait for things to be created for them, looks like we know which one you are.

      • 30kfeetup

        he’s right. It never will.

        • TooItchy

          Tell that to South Korea.

  • DrBoo

    I think its silly to say that Fighting games are a separate E-Sport from the rest of games.

    I think the term E-Sports covers ALL games Starcraft 2, Halo, Black Ops, Fighting Games, Dota, Etc

    I do like that E-Sports are blowing up around the world though its really nice to be able to just watch pro players duke it out in competitive games.

    • Sav1xx

      OMG all those games use electricity and a computer?! They MUST be the same and all lumped into one sack then! Excellent point, because electricity and computers make things the same.

    • ChapterB

      Did you mean it’s silly to separate fighting games from E-Sports, or that it’s silly to separate one E-sport from the others? I have a feeling you meant the former rather than the latter.

  • ChapterB

    Yeah, I don’t like the phrase eSport either. It definitely does start winding down to the whole ‘what counts as a sport’ debate, but for me even though I can look at playing FGs competitively as a sport from the actual definition of the word, when I think of sports I think basketball and soccer and stuff and I don’t like the idea of associating Street Fighter or a Blazblue to that because it’s distinct from them. Just my opinion.

    Nice article btw.

  • Tonio


  • Warpticon

    Thanks, ink. You said a lot of what I feel about the topic. “eSports” is a flat out awful term. I would be shocked if anybody got turned on to competitive gaming because of the false association with sports implied by the term. On the other hand, there are many people who are turned away for that same false connection. I challenge anybody to find an article about “eSports” that doesn’t devolve into a semantic argument. You can’t do it, because it’s implicit in the term. Calling it eSports is just looking for validation through something that already exists.Who cares? Let competitive gaming be what it is. Nobody is going to start playing fighting games because somebody told them it was like football, but possibly interested parties might be turned off from playing or watching because you’re trying to sell them on a “sport” you can play sitting on a couch.

    You can dismiss it and say “whether you call it eSports or competitive gaming or whatever, it’s the same thing.” But that’s exactly why you SHOULDN’T call it eSports: because all that term does is distract from what competitive gaming truly is by trying to piggyback on something it’s not.

    • UltraDavid


    • TooItchy

      exactly, in my experience most people see competitive gaming as a legitimate career, and can respect it, but the moment you add the term eSports, all credibility goes out the window, because the general public will never accept the comparisons to actual sports, and will dismiss it out of hand, never giving it a chance to shine. But as soon as you remove that term, suddenly people become willing to give it a chance. How can MLG (ya, that’s not trying to sound like a professional sports league+logo…) not understand that this is holding it back from being HUGE?

  • Necrophile


    Competitive gaming has a clearer meaning and better ring than e-sports.

    BUT if you decide to be a sell-out and call it E-Sports… the existing e-sports media machine will back Evo up and help it get more exposure. So that’s one advantage of calling fighting games E-sport.

    But Fighting Game Community shouldn’t be about conforming to values they don’t believe in for the sake of making a few extra bucks. Fighting Game Community has always been about competition, hype and keeping it real.

  • Stuart Hayden

    i’ve been saying this since SFIV came out and people have been calling me a troll the entire time.

    …some bull shit.

  • Brennan

    blablabla first whatever, just for the lulz.

  • Skulls

    This is exactly how I feel about this!!! I am so happy you wrote this, it is perfect. I could never really put into words how I felt on this issue but you did it for me. This article will be my voice on the issue from now on.

  • zenblaster

    I followed the evo circuit this year and had the time of my life,if it aint broke……

  • CheeseCakez


  • Tebbo


  • Chun Pai

    esports is the worst term for anything ever..

    we play Tekken, we play Street Fighter. We play Mortal Kombat. we play Marvel. We play Super Turbo.

    We do not play Esports. Let the call of duty kids claim that one.

  • Skulls


  • Tactics

    Is the site messed up for anyone else? I cant seem to post anything outside of just comments on the front page. Keeps saying server error and the time stamp for the last post are way far ahead in time.

    • Foolinfection

      There is a timezone error with the server so nobody can post right now. They are in the process of fixing it.

  • Tactics

    Damn nice one Inkblot, just got done reading it, it is definitely amazing that we can have such a discussion about fighting games now :).

  • Mooglesniperz

    Also a giant problem with fighting games being a “sport” is that baseball is baseball, not baseball second impact, baseball 3rd strike, baseball bat costume dlc, baseball plz nerf homeruns

    • d3v

      Actually, sports and rules/regulations do change over time, just at a slower pace (except maybe for motorsports where technical regulations change even before the season is over).

  • UltraDavid

    Doh, I was literally working on my own article about why I don’t like the term eSports when I saw this article pop up lol.

    But great job Inkblot, couldn’t agree more. I feel like calling competitive video game play “eSports” is a weak attempt to borrow legitimacy from traditional athletic sports in order to gain respect from people who aren’t into competitive video games anyway. It’s like a little slight of hand intended to draw attention away from the fact that we’re playing video games.

    Well screw that, I want us to stand on our own two feet and own the fact that we play video games competitively in tournaments. Playing games in tournaments is awesome! We have an awesome time and we’re awesome people. This should be enough. And I don’t just mean that in a self-empowerment kind of way. Don’t try to trick people as to what you’re doing; if you have a great product, the best way to get other people excited about it is to just show them that product as it is. And I think we have a pretty amazing product.

    The case of poker is instructive. Poker went from being a niche game played mostly by casuals with a comparatively small tournament scene to being gigantic, played competitively by tons of people, covered on ESPN and Fox Sports and so on, and the foundation of an economically huge industry. It did all of that without calling itself anything but poker. Poker players don’t play cSports or even card games, they just play poker. All the poker scene did was do a great job of building awareness of a great game that appeals to both casuals and serious players. They showed people poker as poker, and they exploded because of it.

    We play video games. We play fighting games. I think that’s enough!

    • FishStix

      I don’t see the term ‘eSports’ as an attempt to draw attention away from the fact that we’re playing videogames. I think it embodies it.

      • FishStix

        and by ‘it’ I mean the fact that we are playing video games that are awesome, and therefore we are awesome o_O

      • UltraDavid

        eSports might embody video games to you as someone who already likes the term and plays and works within the video game community. But to other people it’s just some unintelligible word that requires an explanation. So it’s a mask; people in the know understand it, but if you’re not in the know, it hides what it’s really about until you investigate it.

        That’s bad for a couple reasons. Again, it obscures what you’re talking about, and that’s not a good thing as far as promotion goes. It’s an over attempt to borrow legitimacy from traditional sports, but that borrowing is only necessary if you don’t already think playing video games competitively is legitimate.

        For what we’re doing to be really successful on both a personal community level and a broader world level, we have to get rid of that stigma. I want to own the fact that I play video games in tournaments. I think it’s super awesome, and I want other people to think so too. I don’t think we’re gonna get there if we can’t even accurately characterize what we’re doing.

  • Majin TCZ

    I know as a community we don’t want to necessarily emulate real sports but as stated earlier the EVO tournament scene just screams tennis structure. You have majors, games based on individual performance and seedings. We need to have a structure that actually assigns rankings to the individual players based on the amount of tournaments they enter. But these tournaments have to be sanctioned by the EVO tournament staff. This way we don’t have the same thing with APEX where winning small no name tournaments has Joe Shmoe sitting high in the rankings and its not accurate. Then with the pay structure that Keits ran at his tournament you have a layout that works. There is way more that needs to be worked out to make this viable but this should be the basis for the structure. Can you imagine where a player wins all the majors in one year and wins the “grand slam” I think that would be awesome.

  • Obanye

    Has anyone heard of the term Motor Sports? Things like Nascar, ect attempt to be a Sport and are hated on by people into aSports for “not being a Sport” but I don’t think its hurting their popularity too much. Its just that cars are cool and games are not In USA.

    • d3v

      If there’s anything similar between Motorsports and FGs, it’s how most series rules and regulations change every year, similar to FG installments.

    • kingsharkboi

      I shudder (ok not shudder, but shake my head quietly) at the term Motor Sports. I wouldn’t know first-hand, but it looks to me that those things don’t really have the physical conditioning required to compete and win, its 95% skillful handling and mental health. You said it yourself, Cars are overwhelmingly cool in the USA, that’s what gives them their popularity. I never call Nascar a motor sport, if someone asks me what I’m watching on TV, I’ll say “racecars”.

      “Mind Sports” are no better, its a wannabe term riding off the notion that those games hold similarities to Sports such as competition and skill. Also, think about the implications: “mind” as a descripor implies that Sports (soccer, basketball) don’t require good use of the mind…which is bullsh*t. Card games are card games, no better, no worse for being non-physically demanding. “eSports” isn’t as offensive to the term Sports, but addding a prefix like that still only implies a sense of inferiority and piggybacking.

  • Kageromaru Sho

    Despite the similarities fighting game circuits have to sports seasons and professional gamers have to professional athletes, I’m glad that the FGC at large is opposed to the term eSports and making efforts to emulate sport practices, in hopes of cementing our own identity with society.

    However, I can’t help but think if we, the FGC are shooting ourselves in the foot somehow. If we continue to think this way and continue on this route, are we somehow limiting ourselves as to how much we can evolve? This is a nagging thought that I would like some help shaking off.

  • Mr. X

    I like this article. Says a lot of things I thought of the “eSports” name in itself (intentional or not). It’s funny because I said in a topic Fish Stix made that i didn’t like the word eSports and said I make a new name to call it.

  • munchkin


  • Killer_Jigglypuff

    There’s really no reason to measure ourselves against “real” sports. Gaming is a separate entity, and is almost to the point where it can be self-sustaining without needed to constantly draw comparisons to “real” sports. The FGC is headed nowhere but up if stream numbers are any indication. The only thing I’m afraid of is as the FGC becomes more and more popular is the proliferation of corporate sponsors. I’m afraid we might start to lose some of the personality and charm that makes the FGC what it is.

  • atarianimo

    I’ve been a fan of eSports for a while, starting with Broodwar, but I never really thought of comparing it to “real” sports. Now that I do I can see that “eSports” could be seen as a very nerdy word. The average person probably sees it as nerds trying to name their silly computer games as sports.

    Most Starcraft players call themselves nerds (or nerd ballers) so it doesn’t bother them one bit. However, can the same be said about the fighting game community?

    Personally I wish we could all come together and make something great. I don’t care what it’s called but I do feel like there should be an all-encompassing term for it.

    • Mr. X

      “Competitive Gaming” works fine. It means what it says with no explanation needed.

  • Afrodisiac39

    I agree entirely with everything you said in this article Inkblot, I tip my hat to you sir.

    I think people are getting a bit confused here though. I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that Ink was trying to say that we shouldn’t have the word “sports” anywhere in whatever we want to call ourselves. There is no reason to say that the FGC is inherently different from other competitive gaming scenes. Sure, Starcraft and Call of Duty may not appeal to you at all but the communities are still there and the FGC may just be what appeals to you most. Saying that we are eSports implies that we are trying to say “We’re the same as all those things you watch on TV so respect us” whereas we don’t need to have any comparison because competitive gaming is what it is: people playing video games competitively. All we need is a different term. There’s no reason to say that we are not to be taken seriously but the stigma of having Sports anywhere in what we call ourselves implies a comparison to something that we are not trying to be which is the problem.

    Either way great article and may the FGC live long and prosper.

  • Scapegoat

    Now while I love the social aspect of gaming, I would also love to be respected by people that have nothing to do with video games as being skilled. If I ever consider myself good that is, still on that road.

  • Dingo Cheetobrows

    Great article, Inkblot. I really liked the discussion going on here, and it brings a smile on my face whenever I get these little subtle reminders that I’m a part of such a beautiful thing (Fighting games, and the FGC).

  • S On My Chest

    Man 1: “So what should we call our company?”
    Man 2: “Well, we deal with electronics, technology, and build computers. We want to innovate and be a company that’s part of the community.”
    Man 1: “I like apples.”
    Man 2: “Apple it is.”

    Let’s not put too much energy into worrying about the name, title, or label. Let mainstream label it whatever it chooses. As the current grows, it’s more than likely something we have little control over. Only the substance matters, and that’s something we can control.

    Our energy is better spent tackling issues on how to make it better. In the end, it doesn’t matter what we’re called, so long as what we have is something awesome.

  • RGK


    a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators.


    an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

    Bowling is a sport, so is golf.

    We have to merge the two…sport games? wait thats NFL 2011 and NBA 2011.

    wait. i got it

    RLGame E-Sports.

    Real Life Game Entertainment Sports. Capitilzed E, like in ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT or E3.

    Entertainment gets a capital. So its not like the e sports we all hate. but the E sports we will soon grow to love.

  • jellytooth

    I’m SO HAPPY to see that leaders in the community feel the same way I do about that demeaning term. And not only that but they are willing to stand up for the FGC and competitive gaming and not just go with the flow.

    I am very happy right now. Thank you FGC you guys are awesome. Also thanks Inkblot and Ultradavid and James Chen too.

  • gaemmk

    i’m from the old school. i’m from the days where it didn’t matter how much there was to be made off of fighters; the only thing you played for in those days were to crush people, and get your initials on the top of the leaderboard. that said, i love how there’s money to be made now, and i hope it continues to grow, in the future. however, that kill or be killed mentality is still at the core of why i still enjoy playing modern street fighter as much as i liked playing sf2, or mk2 back in the 90’s. it’s a sport because there’s competition. money or no money. but i also agree with the article. fg community is its own unique beast.

    • LKX

      Fighting games are infinitely more interesting to watch than FPS or RTS games and much, much simpler to understand.

      • Zmoney2006

        That’s subjective but I can understand where you are coming from. I personally have never played a single match in Starcraft nor read a single guidebook or review on the game or its mechanics yet each and everyday I watch at least 2-3 starcraft matches commentated bu TotalHalibut or Husky Starcraft just because of the excitement, hype, and quirky jokes that they bring to the table along with the short, sweet, and simple explanations they provide me while the matching is going on. Through a short period of time I was able to pick up on what actually was going on during the match and now I am at the point where I can pretty much tell who is going to win based on what options I see each player has chosen and the reactions of the opponents. Yet I still have yet to touch the game once.

  • NEWkidCJ

    To be honest, I would like fighting games to be apart of eSport but the fact that fighting games keep getting patches will cause us to keep asking this question over and over again.

  • Entourage

    Great article.

    ESports never sounded right to me in the slightest, Competitive Gaming is a far better fit and gives a clearer and more precise representation of what we do and what we are all about.

  • Diernes

    completely agree with this article.. well written

  • LKX

    I thought fighting games are more like playing chess, except you have to react on a dime most of the time. So is chess a sport?

  • EcKo Zero Cool

    i just hope it dont turn out like all that mlg stuff 🙁

  • TheDarkPhoenix

    Yellow flag….

  • Berzerk

    esports as a term is only a problem for CERTAIN people who bring a preconception to its meaning.

    In fact it is interchangeable with “competitive gaming” and either serves the purpose.

    As the phenomenon grows and more people understand it, the less you get knee jerk reactions to the concept.

    The fact is, Street Fighter and fighters are already an esport. Spectators watch it. Players compete and earn prizes. A number of players have sponsors.

    By rejecting the term, you separate and push away the other areas of gaming that use the term freely and our key challenge is absolutely that there needs to be unity across the different games.

    That way the audiences and players will understand they are all part of one movement and the opportunities for everyone will grow.

    • Rabite890

      Why do we need unity across genres? Every genre plays vastly differently and would require different rules. The FGC seems to work fine as it is. I fail to see any benefits from having another group take over control of the community. Sounds like a power grab to me.

    • UltraDavid

      we’re not giving into this “esports” business imo. if you want unity in terminology, that’s cool, but it’ll probably mean you have to go our way.

  • lifefire940

    The term esport bothers me because of the fact that it instantly reminds me of a proffesional setting in which most of the players themselves are essentially in it for the buisness aspect of it instead of having fun. I prefer to refer us as the fighting game community because we are friends, rivals, and competitors. Not everybody in the proffesional world is like that.

  • plasmakill

    Nice article. eSports is such a silly term, it’s rather oxymoronic imo. In fact, I can’t say it out loud without giggling a little.

  • RGK

    The scene will evolve i doubt anyone knows exactly how or when but things are changes so fast right now. every single game has or is getting balance patches or updates. Fighting games are not even existing for 1 year anymore pretty soon no game will ever be at evo twice in the same state there will be a patches version or a sequel between every summer and every release of every game. its not just getting crazy in that area though, sponships, media coverage….its really who knows…but it could be drastic. i dont think it mattesr what its called anymore the momentum has already started and its going somewhere.

  • adv1k

    “youve probably heard of esports”
    LOL you FG fags are so sad, join us in the 21st fucking century….

    • Skulls

      Lloyd you wouldn’t dare say that to someones face…..

    • Geese Pants

      Your 21st century is quite lame……………..

  • NeoBlood

    This article is spot on. To hell with doing or labeling things because we want people to take notice. Lets just do what we love for the sake of loving it, and the people that want to get involved, will.

  • Da Boogeyman

    Lol so many losers here trying to compare playing games to working out and applying your physical attributes towards a sport

    Bass fishing and wsop yeah that is more like what evo is. Skill, memorization. But bass fishing is way harder to real in a big fish than it is to get that ko.

    Nascar, f-1, you have to have stamina, nerves of steel, precision, and there is the physical element of omg you might die

    No physicality or threat is prevailent in competitive gamimg, well besides carpal tunnel syndrome

    • Saint Connor

      I’m just curious if you see the irony of your post. Ya know, calling all of us losers while you sit at your computer, on a website that is a major part of gaming, talking about said games and its impact.

      • Da Boogeyman

        No it is not playing games that makes it losery. Its the people who don’t even compete saying it should be called a sport. poker is not called a sport, neither is billiards, or darts. Or target shooting, or archery or fishing.

        the tournament set up is the same across the board for all sports, besides college football.

        Just because the tournament set up matches that of the sweet 16 does not make it a sport. just because your hands cramp and you sweat while playing does not make it a sport.

        It is a competition of people playing video games. Everybody would be at the same level if they always had the same competiton around them or of they had all the free time to just sit down and play.

        It makes even less sense for FPS or RTS games to have tourneys. Memorize maps and you’ll win.

        Fighting games always have variables involved. Play styles, different uses of the engine, and strategies. Not one player plays the games the same.

        A different clan/weapon specialty/blahblah blah

        It is still at the core dudes sitting on their asses playing video games. This is why the term e-sport is poison to the type of scene the fighting game community tries to have.

        It is not like the adults like UltraDavid plays only video games to sustain a living. That old Wakeup SRK with that one player pretty much laid it out.

        Video games are even more niche than billiards or WSOP. Video games are seen as things for kids because video games first and foremost are made for our liesure. Cartoon characters, women with giant boobs an scantily clad outfits, and people chucking fireballs.

        It’s like those people playing Madden and winning tourneys. It is not as impressive as running plays in real life because there is no real challenge.

        Watching a fighting game is fun because we know what is going on, and we know what goes into being a good player. However hitting a wallbounce into a 100% combo is not nearly as impressive as KO’ing a dude in real life.

  • CH_Cypher

    As long as one does not forget where he came from, not even a journey of a million steps will change him. As long as the people that originated from the arcade scene keep the flame alive and educate the newer members into the proverbial tenets of the scene, nothing will go bad however mainstream the scene becomes.

    There is no need to become something else, since what we got is already heading to the realm of awesome.


    Whoever compared the rules changing in real sports to how fighting games have new versions or sequels entirely is silly.

    Tennis is Tennis. Even if the rules change slightly, it’s still two people on a court hitting a ball back and forth with a racket.

    No one is parrying the ball one year then focus attacking it the next.

    Use your head before you post, thanks.

    • Foolinfection

      That would be cool though. haha.


    I agree with David. Poker is a game and not a sport and doesn’t pretend to be. I don’t play fighting games though; I play Street Fighter. That’s what it is. When I tell people I play fighting games who are not in our community they look at me with a blank stare and then ask, “Like what?” When I say, “Street Fighter” their eyes light up — “Oh yeah!!”

    Why? Because STREET FIGHTER has a history not just as a video game but in comics, movies, and Japanese animation. Similar to Mortal Kombat, I mean who could forget that epic song MORTTALLLLL KOMBBBAATTT. Even if you NEVER played the game you’ve heard of the franchise.

    People say they play Poker because that’s what they play, they don’t say we play CARD games. Card games could mean you play UNO or something. Be specific.

    @James Chen ~ What about Boxing or UFC/MMA as a model?

    • fokkusuhaundo

      MMA hasn’t been run in a tournament structure since the old days of UFC and PrideFC tournaments for many reasons, giving fighters time to recover from injuries being one of them. Nowadays, MMA fighters compete in a match only 2 or 3 times a year, and it isn’t always clear as to who their next opponent will be and how many matches they have to win before they get a chance at the championship belt.

      Traditional martial arts however, usually those that use a point scoring sytem rather than judges and where the practitioners wear a lot of protective gear, are competed in a tournament structure and make for a better model for FGs to possibly follow.

  • vital

    It’s a complete joke to worry about fighting games becoming like traditional sports when the weekend events already emulate the format and practices of many other traditional sports. Hell, there is already a fighting game championship which sort of concludes a given season of fighting games- EVO.

    Traditional sports are all about personal relationships, what are you so afraid of there? People play sports in real life on local/club/regional teams to meet and hang out with friends, the author of this article has this completely false notion that pro sports de-emphasize relationships.

    All in all I completely disagree and would love to see Street Fighter continue to grow and be enjoyed by a wider community, and i think eSports is a great avenue for that.

  • Gootecks

    Great points made! Arguing over semantics gets us nowhere. Focusing on the AWESOME and the real life bonds created is definitely what will help the community/scene/industry grow.

  • DaviKaze

    First off it’s super ironic that one of the points of this semantic argument is that we shouldn’t call it esports… to avoid a semantic argument. That, of course, spurred a semantic argument. This is circular logic, and I think you hit your point before you made this article – it doesn’t matter wtf you call it.

    Also, all this warm and fuzzy “stick to our roots” stuff is nice, I even agree with it, but there’s such a thing as getting too big for our britches. You know what’s awesome about sports leagues? Authority. You know what sucks about a bunch of guys renting out a place to run a tournament? Players float brackets, get down on collusion, intentionally underperform, demand extra sets, and get punished with… a little bad rep?

    Yeah, let’s just keep doing that as our prize money skyrockets. That sounds like a good idea. Yeah, we need the heart and soul that brought us this far, but assuming that we can keep going on like this is old blood, sentimental bullshit.

  • JacopeX

    It won’t happen. The community is filled with “pro” gamers and staff members who act unprofessional and the culture within the fighting game community will never be understood by a general audience such as the trash talking and hype.

    • FADE OUT

      Professional sports figures ACT UP all the time, even get arrested for doing stupid shit. I would take 100 Marn’s over 1 Michael Vick.

  • Dime_x

    while i have nothing but respect for inkblot, largely for his contribution to founding this site and his neverending support for keeping EVO what it is and growing it….

    i vehemently disagree with most of the points he posits, and going on from there his post in certain areas actually reeks of elitism (we dont need others peoples labels, we are fighting games) and a type of zenophobia. (we are our own little precious flower we dont want or need anyone elses help)

    i just find many of his points to be based on inferior arguments:

    a girl says that these are games not sports and because she and others say that, then the term “esports” forms to much controversy and is better swept under the rug…

    WHAT??? controversy is here and always will be. you cant get away from it with a simple name change. also those same controversies exist for the “4 major” sports:
    american football
    international football (soccer)
    and basketball

    all have idiots that will argue which one is “more of a sport” than the other… and thats one of only a million sports specific topics that could come up in any random sports conversation, ive sat in on many, i find them hilarious.

    the controversy is exactly what is needed though, it just serves to further legitimize those sports as “sports” since publicity is almost always good. if people are arguing whether or not fighting games are actually a sport or not in the hallways of schools, in classrooms, on chatboards etc… its GOOD for fighting games. passersby may want to check out this new upstart whippersnapper “sport” and they may be intrigued by what they find.

    and even though i have literally hundreds of more points that i could bring to the table as to why using the term “esports” for fighting game competitions can be a good thing, ill leave wth just 2:

    he says that allowing fighting games to be labeled esports will diminish the social aspects of fighting games…

    um no, sports are one of the most social activities on the planet, in fact theres probably more socializing going on,on the whole in the 4 major sports than in fighting games… the point being that labeling fighting games as an “esport” wont hurt the social aspect of them, if anything it would increase there social aspect. and yes this is coming from a guy whos 3 best friends were all met at an arcade or fighting game gathering.

    and 2:

    when i see so many of the srk regulars posting that they dont like the e-sports moniker it just gives me that “jimmy has a toy he wants all to himself” vibe, like people who hate to see there favorite underground bands make it big cause they now cant feel special anymore…

    and finally i’m laughing (and crying) on the inside when people say that they want to legitimaize gaming… that is just an uphill road if there ever was one. games are seen as not serious at all… that IS there connotation. sparts are seen as SERIOUS GAMES thats there connotation. when people call fighting games “games” with the unserious connotation… it literally makes me wince… way to disrespect what i just did in training mode for 4 hours, today, 3 hours yesterday, 8 hours the day before (casuals) etc etc i think its high end disrespect to classify a michael jordan and a daigo as being somehow different other than physical attributes given there respective games. and yes this coming from a guy that played all 4 years of highschool football and basketball, and also plays other sports such as beach volleyball… when i practice those games by shooting 100 freethrows or kicking a football 100 times… i dont see much difference between those training regimens and the ones i partake in when i play fighting games.

    anywho, thats the end of my unpopular opinion.


    • DaviKaze

      “This bears repeating: the sports scene has thrived because of the heart and passion of athletes.” is also true. I totally missed the, “MAKING IT SPORTS MAKES US NOT FRIENDS!!” point the author was trying to make. Probably because it’s in-fucking-valid.

      I also hated, ” It wants to be awesome by association, rather than going the harder route of being so awesome that nobody can deny it.”

      Newsflash! LOTS of people can deny it! I’m positive those evo highlights don’t look even REMOTELY impressive to the average joe. Kind of like the way I can’t appreciate a dope slapshot – I don’t have any fucking context. Maybe if fighting games were popularized more broadly, like some kind of sport, maybe then they’d be respected for what they are.

      But wtf do we know, these comments don’t mean shit anyway.

      • DaviKaze

        To clarify, I mean to say that most people see events, even ones like EVO, as huge gatherings of manchildren playing Nintendos.

        • FADE OUT

          The production value at all of these events is lacking big time. An outsider would view this as being unprofessional and a joke. Even EVO was missing pre-game/post-game interview segments and a real build up to grand finals. The camera work is complete garbage as well. Step it up kiddies.

          • Necrophile

            go tell that to Blizzard and their official European and American Regional tourneys with 52 000$ on the line for each.

            World of Warcraft stream in the Euro Regionals crashed after 10 mins and never got back up. There wasn’t even a stream for the US World of Warcraft regionals. They said VODs would be up Tuesday, well guess what it’s Friday and nothing is up yet. Overpaid Blizzard “professionals” + no accountability suxxxx

            On the other hand, over 2 million unique viewers watched Evo which had 3 simultaneous streams going on, with over 6 games featured.

            Blizzard = garbage. Shows money isn’t enough to run a quality event.

          • FADE OUT


            Blizzard supports their game far more than Capcom has ever done. If you want to look at where REAL Starcraft is played go check out GOMTV and the GSL. Sponsored by PEPSI and BLIZZARD. And yes they have a ton of pre-game/post-game/promo content coupled with fantastic camera work.

            You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. Stay ignorant kid.

          • Necrophile

            “Blizzard supports their game far more than Capcom has ever done. If you want to look at where REAL Starcraft is played go check out GOMTV and the GSL. Sponsored by PEPSI and BLIZZARD. And yes they have a ton of pre-game/post-game/promo content coupled with fantastic camera work.
            You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. Stay ignorant kid.”

            You’re pretty stupid if you believe that “pre-game/post-game/promo content” with a stream that DOESNT WORK is better than the excellent stream provided by volunteers like Team Spooky/iplaywinner/Offcast/FinestKO

            There is a reason why the Evo 2011 tournament broke the record for most viewed gaming event in history. Face it, Blizzard is garbage and is getting outperformed by unpaid yet passionate volunteers of the fighting game community.

            “Blizzard supports their game far more than Capcom has ever done?” orly? I guess that’s why Blizzard forced people who wanted to enjoy SC2 single player to remain connected online, and no LAN options to play with your friend to reduce latency.

            Capcom wanted to implement a similar DRM scheme for SF4 for PC, but after their playerbase voiced dissent, Capcom LISTENED TO THEIR FANS and removed the always online requirement for SF4.

            On top of that, there are former fighting game community members like Seth Killian working for Capcom, and he pushed for features invented by the community, such as the GGPO netcode, to be included in 3rd Strike Online. Compare that with Blizzard refusing to listen to its playerbase and shipping SC2 without simple LAN features. Capcom is a lot closer to its fans than Blizzard is.

          • DaviKaze

            <3 u 4 saying it

            But for volunteers? They do a bang up job and deserve hella respect. The problem then, is that they're just volunteers. The responsibility for this kind of thing should NOT be on the players themselves, particularly when there's opportunities to profit all over the place, many of which wouldn't cost the players themselves a dime.

            So – regional leagues? A governing body? A professional entity? These are all things the FGC is finding itself needing specifically in America. Sea to shining sea is a lot of room for some volunteers to effectively cover….

    • Shindrah

      Dime, let it be known that you’re opinion is not unpopular. I follow multiple “eSport” scenes, and I’d say most people in the combined scenes would agree with you.

      In my opinion, the way the FGC acts actually makes it seem underground, while in fact it IS a pretty big scene. My friends who don’t really play Fighting Games but love games like Starcraft 2 or Halo virtually have no clue that there is even a Fighting Game Community worth a damn.

      Have a good day.

  • Smorgasboard

    A few points:
    [Fighting games can be sports]
    Not to argue about the semantics and all but I meant that it can be a sport in essence. Can’t you have fun, relax yourself, make friends and exercise your muscles when you play? Aren’t these the main reason to pick up a sport apart from making your resume look good? Yes, it can be just a game but all sports were just a “game” in the beginning too.

    [Players can be athletes]
    We already associate skills such as execution, reaction, creativeness, mental strength, determination and sacrifice with players as we already do with athletes? Aren’t these the reason we have athletes in the first place? Because they can’t built 6 packs or kill themselves from fighting games, they can’t be athletes?

    [Evo should let internal forces drive it’s growth]
    This year’s Evo is a good example of this. Don’t listen to businesses or even stream monsters. The community will decide with it’s own attendance and money. Ironically, that means don’t listen to me also. Haha.

    [Nobody or no group controls all fighting games]
    Just as no one control all sports, to say that fighting games should never be an eSport is not absolute. Maybe there is a fighting game community out there that will benefit from it. The crowd that plays SF is different from the one that plays Smash Bros or Tekken or Melty Blood or BlazBlue or Arcana Hearts or Mortal Kombat. Not to mention each FGC is different by regions as well. This article is more about the community that goes to Evo actually.

  • urkangijordi

    I guess I can agree on the term E-Sport not being flattering. I don’t agree with Inkblot distancing the FGC from other pro-gaming communities, but he’s right in that there is a fundamental difference in how these entities are. I’ll bet that there was a time in the FPS community in the early ’00s where people were having this exact same discussion when the big pro-leagues took off.

    But at the end of the day, I always refer to my hobby as Street Fighter. I don’t even call it video gaming, just Street Fighter. I also use competitive gaming as well. So I guess I agree.

  • Scaffa

    Fighting games are not the next eSport. I know on a personal level that one of the most successful European teams feel fighting games are not worth the investment for their team.

    • inkblot

      Guess you didn’t read the article. Thanks for the thoughts though!

      • DaviKaze

        You skim over all the posts that make legitimate points to troll on this grammatically challenged guy?

        I guess I should expect such avoid and disrespectful behavior from change-fearing old blood though.

        • DaviKaze


          • jellytooth

            Change fearing? Wow what a strawman. You didnt even read the article did you? If you did you might understand a little bit why we dont want to be described by your stupid term.

          • DaviKaze


            I do not understand your critique. I obviously read the article. The one that repeatedly talked about how we should keep on doing the same thing forever instead of benefiting from other competitive gaming scenes and the historically successful sports model. The author fears change – he fears that it will take away what’s good about the scene, exposing his paper-thin confidence in the players upholding the same values should change ever arise.

            Also, ESports is not my term, but I fail to see how starting a semantic debate regarding it will bring any good to the scene. In fact, I would reason that it attempting to split the community on such an insignificant classification could only be bad for us.

          • DaviKaze

            Or, as the author so aptly put, “toxic.”

          • James Manning

            @DaviKaze I agree with you. There is no reason why this community can’t move forward and still hold onto it’s value’s. Change is something we must go through in order to better ourselves.

  • Josh-TheFunkDOC

    I agree with most of this, naturally. However, I have always felt that we could benefit a lot from pro sports’ regionalism and attention to history. One of the biggest draws of sport for myself and many others is the unique way it allows you to express pride in your city, and I think we could have that in fighting games. I mean, think about how emotionally connected people are to matchups like New York vs. LA or Ohio State vs. Michigan…do you really think Madcatz vs. Evil Geniuses captures any of that at all?

    I especially strongly feel that we should build a stronger connection to our history and foster “who’s better, who’s best” debates between today’s players and yesterday’s. Hype up Justin’s years-long undefeated streak in MvC2 the same way baseball announcers talk about DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Hell, compare that to Tomo’s run in the HF era and argue over who’s more impressive. Bring people like Kuni on your broadcasts and ask them cool questions. I’ve seen baseball books argue over the top 100 players of all-time *at each position*, and you can get fun arguments at any random sports bar if you compare two all-time greats. I don’t see why we can’t have some of this!

    I don’t see how those elements are toxic at all, and they can go a long way toward building an audience and helping us be taken more seriously.

    Oh yeah, and I think a fighting-game sabermetrics will help us more consistently beat the Japanese. That’s probably a ways off but it’s another pro-sports element that would help our games.

  • ION

    Tweeted and Liked 🙂

  • caruga

    Sport has a meaning: it is play elevated to a professional competitive level.

    When you’re dealing with leagues, tournaments and prize money, you’re dealing with a sport. While there’s no need to fight for the term to ‘gain recognition’, there’s no need to fight against it, either. Don’t evangalise, do your thing, grow, and it will become a movement all by itself.

    Football once was played by a tiny percentage of people across the globe, the ancient equivilent of the early arcade scene. Everything big was once small. The fighting game community will grow and win followers and it won’t matter what words you use.

  • pistolshrimp

    esports is such a stupid name

  • EDPMustang

    this is a very good message you’re sending out, inkblot. I hope these last few articles are the first steps toward doing away with the term “eSports.” for good. That word always sounded off to me, and now that you mention it, the word doesn’t make much sense at all! All I have to say now is, I hope I can become a part of the F. Game community somehow. I will try my very best to make it out to Evo ’12.

  • Necrophile

    hey if u guys like the E-SPORTS way of doing things, go watch Blizzard’s continental championships with 52 000$ on the line (!!!)

    The official Blizzard European World of Warcraft tournament had its stream crash after 10 mins and it never went back online.

    The North American Blizzard WoW championship didn’t have a stream at all.

    When e-sports and “professionals” are involved, it seems to be all about money, there’s no passion involved.

    Spooky streams are always top notch because he loves the game and wants to share the hype with as many people as possible.

  • freakin

    I think people are getting too hung up on the term, who cares what it’s called, if SC2 is esports then fighting games is esports, if SC2 is just a bunch of children sitting on their asses all day hoping someone will throw money at them then the same can be said for fighting games.

    If we’re simply talking whether fighting games will grow, no, not a chance, it should be at it’s peak now, maybe there will be more entrants for EVO next year but if SF4 can’t get fighting games on the map then SF5 Super Koopa Stomp ain’t gonna do it either.

  • J.D

    I really like this article, but I have a question

    Even though we can agree that we shouldnt use the term. I’m curious to knows if there is actually anything we can do to stop it from eventually being used by the majority of people.

    Think about it. Last year we had SSF4 on the ESWC.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if other big events come up using this ESports flag, and given the magnitude that these new games have been gathering, we can say its totally expected that in the future other tournaments will also have a huge attendance using that term, even if their numbers still dont match EVO’s

    I feel that the association of competitive fighting games and the term ESport is innevitable even though I do not agree with it.

    • UltraDavid

      yeah, there’s something we can do to stop it. we’re doing it right now! don’t accept it and argue against it, that’s all.

      • DaviKaze

        I feel like that just makes us look like stubborn, trolling, argumentative douches….

        I mean, over such an insignificant semantic disagreement? That’s just petty.

  • Belegorm

    Ugh, controversy over one word… for all the people saying “games aren’t sports,” as several others have said, just look to Korea. Brood War is more of a sport to a huge number of then than any traditional sport. Arguing that games are not sports material is a subjective view.
    The FGC more frequently smacks of elitism than the RTS community and the latter is always trying to evolve the scene. FGC wants it to remain exactly as they remembered it growing up (probably due to the smaller ratio of new people) and want to always keep it an indie thing.
    But if RTS games sometime become legitimised in our culture like they have in Korea and FG’s don’t, won’t you regret sticking to a purely indie model?

    • Foolinfection

      Not all styles of music are the same,sir. So,why should we play someone else’s music when we’ve had our own style all along? That’s pretty much the message here.

      • DaviKaze

        Styles of music aside – you’re on an indie label or a major label.

        I think the ideal solution is usually to find a major label that will let you keep doing your thing….

        • Foolinfection

          Not everyone does what they do to be part of a major label. Some people just like to do their own thing regardless. A major label can change your own style and we don’t want that happening.

          • DaviKaze

            You’re totally right, so let me tell you what happens in that case:

            An indie band gets popular. Too popular to reasonably continue playing hole-in-the-wall clubs, right? They’ve been getting lots of major deals thrown at them, but when they really start skyrocketing in popularity, like the FGC is, they get offered a deal that actually involves the major label itself bending over backwards for the band to maintain its identity.

            Besides that, you want to talk about what we have vs what we could? I wanna see local FGC leagues, like bowling leagues. I wanna see high school Street Fighter teams. I want this shit to blow the roof off, and we aren’t about to do that on a fucking indie label.

          • Foolinfection

            Or the indie gets big enough to support itself and start their own label. Done yet?

    • UltraDavid

      The funny thing about this debate over whether it’s a sport or not is that even supporters of the esports term admit in their own term that it’s not a sport. If it’s a sport, call it a sport! Just say you play sports, and if someone asks which one, say Starcraft or whatever.

      But you don’t do that, you call it an “esport” instead. Why make the distinction that it’s an electronic sport? Because you don’t think it’s a sport at all. Hockey isn’t an “aSport” (athletic) or “pSport” (physical), it’s just a sport. But RTS games are called eSports, because even supporters understand that they need to make a distinction.

      I don’t think video games are sports, and PS, I’m totaly fine with that and don’t think it undermines their legitimacy as competition one tiny bit. But… neither do supporters of the esports terminology. You can’t believe something’s a sport while calling it Different from Sports.

    • alvare

      It’s not subjective, they are different terms, and they are not synonyms. Yes, they address similar activities, but that’s no reason to call “drawing” a game, even though it’s fun, it’s a challenge and you can train it. Like drawing’s “point” is to express/represent something artistically, games have a different “point” than sports. Sports are about physical condition, tennis players exercise both arms because that’s the “point” of sports, to exercise mind and body (with an emphasis on body) in a balanced way.
      Games don’t follow this example, I doubt JWong has ever done a squat (not an insult, an example, I’ve never done one but I’m not a good example). Games make emphasis on particular skills, like endurance and leg-eye coordination in DDR, or the ability to calculate subsequent moves in Chess.

      There is a real difference between a sport and a game, so the term “eSport” is wrongly applied to competitive video games. I know the point of the article is to dismiss this and move on, but it’s really simple.

    • kingsharkboi

      Dude it’s not like we’re supposed to stay the same. The scene is supposed to evolve, but down it’s own path. As Foolinfection said, we don’t need to play someone else’s music, not even the RTS genre.
      We have our own river we’re flowing down, and we’re heading toward the big ocean all the same. Where in the ocean, we don’t know yet, but it will most definitely be bigger in some way than it is now.
      You don’t have to call Starcraft in Korea a “sport” just because it’s popular, one of, if not the MOST popular. It is an RTS game and it is not Football/Soccer or whatever. It just so happens in their culture that the game has caught on more than other forms of competition, including the “athletic” ones. That’s totally fine.

      FGC wants it to get bigger, and the point is it will catch on and transform depending on its natural popularity. If TV stations pick it up and it works out, so be it. If a big documentary is made on Daigo and released in actual movie theaters, so be it. If America is the target mass audience, it may take longer than it did for Korea, but such is the nature of our different culture here in the west.

      • Da Boogeyman

        A documentary on the FGC would basically be a knock off “King of Kong”

        I mean Billy actually grew up, he developed a business in sauces and restaurants. He has a hot wife and a good family life. He has a supportive family. For some reason he is portrayed as the heel.

        The other guy who got fired from his job and got absorbed into playing Donkey Kong at the expense of his familiy life and income just to get that high score.

        These are 2 parallels.

        Billy still loved the competition, but he had a life beyond video games and really didn’t want it to define who he was. Video games were a hobby of his he just happened to be really good at them.

        If we do it like this where we follow Daigo and Poongko all year until their eventual rematch It could make for a pretty compelling match up. along with the backdrop of Korea vs. Japan. We could take a look at Korea’s video game culture and Japan’s culture.

        Japan does not see it as a sport really. Daiigo is a 30 year old dude. He is a male nurse who works in an old folks home. wow he actually sounds filipino lol.

        It would be a nice movie. But at the end of it, it is still guys playing video games.

        Fuck if we had virtual reallity like tron, like we were supposed to like 15 years ago, then i’d call that e-sports

  • Amerika

    Should the title be, “Why Fighting games should not be labeled as an Esport” or something akin to that since you do make plenty of good points that express exactly that sentiment?

  • thedrizzle

    a lot of great points here… I think that .anything being played on the competitve level needs to have sponsorship dollars coming in to keep the game/esport(use whatever term you like) moving in the right direction.. More revenue coming in means bigger and better venues,more chances for people to earn sponsors…and more importantly more prize money! Im a fan of both SC and the FGC both have been a part of my life for a long time..i for one like the direction the scene is going…its just a shame trh current fighting games arent as good(but i still play them..jokes on me i suppose!)

  • Okieant


    First off, I want everyone to know that I LOVE watching Fighting Game competitions/tourneys/streams. You guys have a great community. Thats a given. And I think thats the main reason why you all go nuts when people want to take your community and put a label on it OTHER THAN “community”.

    Let me give you people some words to calm your worries down because seriously its getting really stupid and sad to keep reading the same posts over and over again complaining that you “hate the term eSports” and you want nothing to do with it.

    The term eSports was coined back in the early 2000s when Counterstrike 1.6 basically took over the global competitive community while Starcraft was ruling Korea and Korea alone. Way back then one of Counter-strike’s major events was ESWC which stood for Electronic Sports World Championship. ESWC was very much like WCG except that it wasn’t restricted to having representatives from each country for each game. You qualified and were allowed to go to France to compete for the big prize, no matter who was on your lineup. Also at that time, we got tired of referring to competitive gaming as “competitive PC gaming” (all games back then were on PC…consoles didn’t come into the mix until Halo 2 came on the scene). Remember, we also had Warcraft 3, Quake, Painkiller, and some Starcraft. So instead of saying that term over and over, we shortened it into “eSports”. It was a simple term to sum up all of competitive PC gaming.

    The goal of eSports has always been ONE thing: Take our communities and what we do and make them watchable enough so that we can attract more players, sponsors, and overall more money into the scene so that its competitors can become full-time gamers. We want players to be able to make a comfortable living off of gaming.

    THATS IT. Like Jason Lake said, arguing about what to call this thing is SEMANTICS. THATS IT. When the CS community heard the term eSports , we accepted it because we all understood what it meant. It didn’t mean we lost our own sense of community and were trying to sell out. We were just trying to shorten our words and make some fucking money doing what we love JUST LIKE THE FGC is trying to do.

    Stop getting all scared that calling it eSports will ruin your community. IT WON”T. At all. What you guys have is a beautiful thing. However, whether you like it or not, the FGC is just as a part of eSports as SC is. The term is just a classification, NOT a definition. So quit your whining and go do what you’ve been doing. NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

    • DaviKaze

      I wish you would’ve been here earlier before dozens of people, the author included, demonized the term with a presumptuous, semantical idea of its meaning….

    • alphazealot

      Just to note: A lot of console games arose in 2002-2004 era. EVO started around that era. MLG started with Smash/Halo 1 around then. Etc. Halo 2 was not the start of consoles.

  • GillTy

    I don’t get why we the FGC need to feel insecure over poorly sourced and misinformed articles on gaming blogs. We are apart of the competitive gaming community just like CS and StarCraft.

    I think there is a serious phobia within our community that if we were to be lumped within the competitive gaming scene that we will loose our identity. I also think that there are those within the FGC that grew up in the arcades thinking that traditional gaming is for nerds while FG’s was not, FG are video games.

    Yes eSports is a pretty lame name, however, it does adequetly describe exactly what comeptitive gaming is. Did you know that Chess is a recognized sport by the International Olympic Community? If Chess can be classified as a sport, then so can any competitive game.

    This article really serves no point other than to argue over semantics, we need to be working together with all of the competitive gaming communities to strengthen what we have.

  • 30kfeetup

    There is no need for the MLG to pick up the SF Series. I honestly believe with the current popularity this community has and will continue to receive, There will be better opportunities that won’t hinder the the current structure. If I were Capcom, Namco, Neither realm, Arc… I would come together with ideas to create a TRUE fighting league.

  • DarkCatalyst

    No, fighting games are not the next eSport.

    They’re the ORIGINAL eSport.

  • thebigbadwolfe

    I’m probably late to the conversation but here goes.
    In order for eSports or Competitive gaming to really be taken seriously by the mainstream, our skills in gaming have to translate into something of value outside of gaming itself. Athletic sports in general grew out of the desire for humans to achieve peak physical condition in real life and Chess is about peak mental condition. Then you have games like Poker is taken seriously due to the absurd amount of money you can win.
    The sad truth is that part of the skill in fighting games is whoring top tier characters, which doesn’t translate into any meaningful real life skill. Until we can get away from this an establish ours genre as a “true real life skill/talent” based game, Mainstream is really not going to take us seriously.

    • thebigbadwolfe

      I have to take that back, fighting gamers actually turn out to be pretty good Q&A testers, which is a legitimate real life skill.

  • FrankenZtein

    Its most likely the next Esport

  • mothugs

    I think esport should simply mean its played competetively. I don’t think people expect video games to ever be on par with REAL sports.

  • BBQ

    the word eSport is stupid, “I’m an E-athlete!!!” probably the most wack word of this decade, I don’t think anything can top off this. “I have to E-practice!!!” STFU

    • caruga

      Not all sports are althetic sports. And there’s another word beginning with “‘e-‘, you may have heard of it: it’s called e-mail. I don’t see you bursting a vein over that.

      • BBQ

        because it’s not stupid, what’s next playing Forza and claiming to people that you are an E-racer, going to the E-track day, pulling the E-e-brake? E-retarded

  • CriminalUpper

    Anyone else notice the white guy in the picture checking out choco’s ass?

    • ruff0123

      I just saw it and was about to post about it lol…there’s actually more than one. Three guys were checking her out even though the hype appears to be on the jumbo-tron. Neo, the guy closes to Choco with an orgasmic stare, some black guy in the back and another guy to the far left behind the guy with the hat.

  • adv1k

    this article really grinds my fucking gears man.