Art Imitating Life

Almost every dedicated gamer has been told at least once in their life to go out and get some exercise like their ‘sportier’ friends. Many of us hear this on an almost daily basis. The other recurrent jibe is that you’ll never get anywhere if you sit playing games all day, and that you need to go out and make something of yourself.

But try telling that to the gamers at the Fortnite World Championships. Overall winner, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, pocketed a life-changing $3m by becoming the world champion, and pairs winners, David “Aqua” W and Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen shared the same jackpot prize. The rest of the field didn’t do too badly either, sharing a total prize fund of $30m with a guaranteed payday of at least $50,000 just for making the finals.

Gaming goes mainstream

At long last, gaming is emerging from the shadow of live sports to become recognised as a sport in its own right, with salaries to match. Tens of thousands of fans packed the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York for the Fortnite finals, with millions more watching around the world. Such numbers have previously only been seen at traditional sporting events.

Nowhere is the crossover between gaming and mainstream sports more obvious than in basketball. For the last three seasons, more than half of all the live basketball teams in the NBA have also had their own squad playing in the NBA2K league. The gaming league is run much like the real game, right down to player drafts, and teams train just as hard, with personal trainers for their physical fitness as well as strategic advisors, game planners and coaches to help them analyse past games and plot the best tactics to beat future opponents.

Is NBA2K the future for gaming?

The NBA2K league has been a huge hit, not only with gamers, but also basketball fans, with many fans just as interested in who will top the NBA2K league as who will win the NBA championships in real life. It is hoped that its success will inspire other sports to follow suit, with NFL franchises, NHL and MLB teams also having their own gaming squads playing in a national leagues. Who knows, maybe one day the tables will turn completely, with a gaming franchise like Fortnite creating its own basketball team to compete in the NBA. It’s a long way off, but at least while we wait for it to happen, we now have some pretty good retorts to the people nagging us about gaming!


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