eSports vs Traditional Sports: the training curve
Traditional professional athletes typically play and practice a game for 5-10 years before competing at the pro level. Contrast that with eSports, most pro gamers have only been playing a particular game for between 1 and three years. That’s not to say that professional gamers haven’t earned the right to be considered pro level athletes; on the contrary.
The fact is that in eSports, due to the “virtual arena”, an athlete is able to play matches and practice at a far great speed than has ever been possible in history. Take basketball for example. A typical team practice will consume 2-3 hours of a player and coach’s time. There is the set up: clean the floor, get changed, get the balls out, set up the hoops etc. There is also warm up and shoot around and stretching time. Then there is the regular practice including scrimmaging and drills and lessons in between. After words, players have to pack up, shower, and head out. Not so in eSports. The virtual nature of the world of electronic sports allows gamers to sit down at their computers and be involved in an intense practice session or match within minutes.
Not only can eSports athletes practice and play with more ease than traditional athletes, it’s the rate at which they can play that’s extraordinary. Instead of the regular 2-3 hours for one practice or game, in eSports a match only lasts 15-20 minutes, with multiple rounds taking place in quick succession. This means that players can amass an incredible amount of practice in a much shorter time period that traditional athletes.
The ability in eSports to rapidly train and gain experience is one of the major reasons why gaming is fast maturing into a bona fide professional sport. The level of competitive play continues to increase with players putting more and more time into honing their skills. A second key to the rapid skill development seen in eSports is the ability of players to create a demo or “movie clip” of their in game performance. Not only can players review each game move by move, they can download demos of top players from around the world and soak up the details of each pro’s playing style.
Add to the ability to demo the multiple info sites and community sites where players can interact with one another, share strategies, and ask questions of the pros. These types of things just don’t happen in the non-virtual world of traditional pro sports. Most players can only imagine what pro athletes had to do or go through to get to where they are. In eSports the community has a level of transparency and openness that brings the fans, aspiring pros and the elite gamers together for mutual benefit and makes the growth of competition and the level of play that much stronger.
Think about it. Wouldn’t you get better at ball if you could ask Mike how to improve your jump shot or talk to Wayne about behind the net movement? Of course you would. Will it ever happen? No. Not a chance. But that’s not the case in the world of gaming.
This phenomenon of pro / amateur / beginner interaction has helped increase the availability of training material, techniques and feedback lessoning the difficulty of what I call the “training curve”. Never before has there been such easy access to the best of the best and this is one of the reasons the sport continues to grow at a dizzying rate.