Australia is a sports-obsessed nation. No matter what code you follow, or who’s team colours you wear, we love getting outside for a kick of the footy or cheering on our team at the local oval or from our couches at home.
And in this digital age, our love of sports has also moved online. Our kids are getting together to play games like Fortnite or MeepCity, with Nintendo Switch still one of the must-have consoles of the moment. Kids race each other in virtual F1 cars, tackle obstacle courses, go bowling–all while taking the shape of a mole or Disney princess.
Then there are eSports, organised gaming that is played, alone or in teams, with the winner getting an actual prize (as well as the glory, of course!). Games are usually streamed through YouTube’s gaming app.
eSports are next-level gaming. You can play from home just for fun, but there’s also a professional circuit, complete with packed arenas of virtual fans who can sometimes number in the thousands.
And it’s big business, with the most successful teams and players sometimes attracting sponsorship deals. Did we mention it was next-level gaming?
Most games are console-based, so to begin with you’ll need a PS4 or Xbox One. Really serious players have a heap of extra equipment including a giant monitor, a really cool-looking headset, and other game-specific controls.
What you need most of all is quick and reliable internet.
eSports: the good, the bad, the balance
The downside of eSports is the same as with any video game. Players can spend too much time sitting down in front of a screen and forget things like eating and drinking. What eSports doesn’t have thought for are the physical risks of the actual sport, like blows to the body or twisted ankles.
But like anything, balance is the key. Winning an eSports tournament can exhilarate someone and build confidence, but it needs to be mixed with time outdoors. Balance is playing games with actual balls and bats and with people you know and love.