When I spotted this story online, I definitely found it amusing. When we think of athletes, we think of people who compete for hundreds of millions of dollars in arenas all over the world. But gamers? Could playing video games even be considered a sport?
Well, according to GameSpot, foreign gamers are now being considered athletes, and they can be awarded visas to come to the U.S. and play in the League of Legends competition, which is coming to Los Angeles in October. (Gamespot tells us over 10,000 gamers and game fans should be attending.)
This development has gone through thanks to the efforts of Riot Games, who negotiated with the US government to give gamers athlete status. As Nick Allen of Riot games told the press, “The United States recognizes League of Legends pro players as professional athletes and award visas to essentially work in the U.S. under that title. Now we can start looking at international players when they come over…This is a huge thing.”
As you can imagine, “This was a lengthy process,” Allen continues. “We had a lot of people fighting for this. It wasn’t something that happened overnight.”
So now that you’re officially athletes, you guys better train hard before the League of Legends competition. As much as we’re having fun with this story, there is definitely a lot of mental skill involved in gaming, and it’s always been good for hand / eye coordination.
While these competitors won’t have to hit the gym for this event in October, they better put in some serious quality time on their joysticks to prepare, because it may not be the Olympics of gaming, but people from all over the world will be coming down to compete, and as Riot Games themselves said, this is indeed a huge thing.