An NBA star is coming out with guns blazing—no pun intended—in defense of competitive gaming.
Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward recently penned an essay for The Players’ Tribune, in which he told traditional sports fans who are confused why watching people play video games has become popular to stop worrying so much. Instead, Hayward said viewers should recognize that the competitions share the same qualities.
“In the past few years in particular, professional gaming has become a thing, and it’s becoming more and more of a thing. This isn’t even a fringe culture. It’s a movement, really. And as a non-gamer, you can either acknowledge this fact, or you can be wrong,” Hayward wrote.
The basketball player said the essay was not written to defend gaming, but to open the eyes of non-gamers to “this incredible thing that’s happening right now.” And really, isn’t every single one of us a gamer?
“Have you ever felt a certain rush when a perfect candy arrives and takes out multiple rows? You’re a gamer. Have you killed some time by flinging a bird into a rudimentary structure? Gamer. Have you moved even numbers around to make them add up to 2048? That’s gaming, bro,” Hayward said.
A SuperData Research report pegged the global eSports industry’s revenue for 2015E at $748 million, and experts believe the industry will only get bigger, prompting many groups to up their stake on competitive gaming.
Recently, German sports club VFL Wolfsburg signed 22-year-old David Bytheway to become one of its two official eSports gamers. Bytheway is considered to be one of the world’s best FIFA players, and his signing with the German Bundesliga club represents a key moment in which eSports interacts with the “real” sports world.
“Competitive gaming as a whole is absolutely huge, although FIFA isn’t as big as it could be. The fact that a team like Wolfsburg are getting involved… I’m hoping it’s going to create a domino effect and all of the other teams get involved as well. It’s a big deal for gaming and a big deal for me as well,” Bytheway said, according to SBC News.