Home Gaming Is eSports becoming a cult??

Is eSports becoming a cult??

4 min read
65

gabe

I read an interesting paper this morning published by a university student named Pierce Boucher. The paper touches on the topic of eSports as a religion. Naturally taking the four notable aspects that make something a religion and applying them to eSports.

One of his citations in the paper talks about the “six dimensions of religion” of which eSports has four: Rituals, mythology, ethics and social components. I’ll extract excerpts from the paper to show his points, and discuss whether this explosion of eSports is better compared as religion or cult.

The eSports religion

Rituals

“eSports is ritualistic. On a daily scale, teams practice and play games against other teams constantly. There is no break – it is a team members full time job to keep up with the skill of other players and constantly improve. On the side of the community, the fans watch livestreamed matches of their favorite team(s), bet on games, and play themselves daily. Monthly, there are tournaments for the different games”

Like going to church, or saying your daily prayer, many gamers do live a ritualistic life when it comes to eSports. I know I do.

Mythology

“eSports also showcases its religious elements in its mythology. Mythology is considered to be the stories about something’s origin. The first ever video game tournament was held by gaming company Atari for the game Space Invaders in 1980; this “attracted more than ten thousand participants” (Edwards). This tournament is considered the birth of competitive gaming. In the 1990s, the world saw the rise of PC gaming as a competitive sport.”

The origin of eSports has sparked wide debate among historians. Many feel the above mentioned occasion was the birth of eSports, but others maintain that it was in the 90s with Quake, or even in the early 00s with Starcraft. This sounds oddly familiar when comparing eSports to Religion as many religious folk will argue the origin stories. I somewhat disagree with this aspect. The origins of eSports are not a myth. Many of the above mentioned origin stories are well documented, they’re not folk lore or tales passed down through the elders of eSports.

Ethics

“Part of what gives eSports the religiosity it has is the code of ethics many players follow and that the tournament organizers enforce. Whether it be rules against cheating, or other ethical issues like match-fixing, gaming organizations are very serious about the rules being followed.“

It’s difficult throwing words like “ethics” and “religion” in the 21st century. Not to start a religious debate, but he’s correct in saying both eSports and religion have a strict moral code. Perhaps at the most competitive levels these ethical comparisons will hold, but when we look at the millions of gamers in ever gaming community you will notice these ethics somewhat fall away. Again, this is comparable to religion and is an interesting observation.

Social

“The final dimension of religion that makes eSports religious is the social aspect of it all. Popular social network Reddit is home to many official and unofficial groups that post constant updates and chat boards about their favorite games and professional teams.”

This is probably the most relatable comparison when looking at eSports as a religion. It is extremely social, and looking at the above mentioned aspects is only half the puzzle. There’s also the social aspect of playing with friends, and how gaming can bring people together.

fans

eSports as a cult

After reading his paper I did some research of my own. I felt calling eSports a religion might be a better word, since cult has many negative connotations, but if you really want to look at the big picture, you’ll realize it is more of a cult.

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a cult has several variations of its meaning. All of these are way more comparable to eSports. Cults can be both religious (having a person or thing of worship) or not. In the past cults have been destructive which does give the negative connotation, however as per definition and after consideration you’ll see it fits the comparison with eSports.

Both of these topics deserve further research if you’re interested, but the comparison alone is one worth considering as we move forward in eSports. It’s an interesting observation when looking at the aforementioned aspects of eSports, which inevitably make it what it is today.

Like esports?
Check out esports central

Last Updated: May 6, 2016

65 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief in New York

    May 6, 2016 at 13:35

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      May 6, 2016 at 14:01

      Sign me up

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief in New York

        May 6, 2016 at 14:02

        Cult of the Admiral Chief
        Followers:1

        http://ci.memecdn.com/417/5316417.jpg

        Reply

        • VampyreSquirrel

          May 6, 2016 at 14:14

          You don’t count as a follower if you’re the object for the cult.

          Reply

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:15

            Oh snap! 😀 Shots have been fired!

    • Strawman Jim

      May 6, 2016 at 14:08

      Your cult is now mine! Muahahahahahaha!

      Reply

  2. Loftus ~ Sic Parvis Magna

    May 6, 2016 at 13:36

    ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…ONE OF US…

    Reply

  3. Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

    May 6, 2016 at 13:41

    hmmmmmmmmmm Kool Aid

    Reply

  4. AfricanTime

    May 6, 2016 at 13:45

    does it have tax exemption?
    Tax exemption is the main difference between a “cult and “religion”.

    Reply

  5. Alien Emperor Trevor

    May 6, 2016 at 13:51

    That would explain why I don’t believe in it.

    Reply

    • RinceThis

      May 6, 2016 at 14:06

      Me too!

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        May 6, 2016 at 14:06

        Yes, I don’t believe in you either.

        Reply

        • Strawman Jim

          May 6, 2016 at 14:08

          Me neither, I don’t even believe that Rincey exists….

          Reply

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:20

            Coming from you that is CHEAP! @tre@disqus_DoEH3TsffU:disqus has bowed down before me in real life, OvG was there too! Mr Nanabot!

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:25

            So… I should give Trevor this for christmas?

            http://kneesafe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/knee-pad1.jpg

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:26

            Much like eSports, he doesn’t believe in Christmas!

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:26

            :^0

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 6, 2016 at 14:26

            That’s not very nice. He’s not that short.

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:27

            Yes I AM!

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:30

            Gnomes… they’re everywhere these days!!!

            http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/wowwiki/images/d/d9/GnomeMale.jpg

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:33

            Oi!

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 16:08

            For the Horde!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 6, 2016 at 14:27

            You mean the time I dropped my keys & bent down to pick them up? O_o

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:28

            Wowza. It’s not even past the watershed hour man!

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:29

            Wow! Not even one drink in him….

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:29

            I know, at least that’s my perm-excuse!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 6, 2016 at 14:29

            Nothing excuses your perm.

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:33

            But it’s awesome 🙁

  6. Original Heretic

    May 6, 2016 at 13:52

    Looking at the descriptions, can that not be applied to any sport? Why does eSport get singled out with this? I mean, gawd, I walk into my father in laws lapa/braai area and it’s like a shrine to the Blue Bulls. The only thing missing is a picture of Naas that would probably be worshipped upon a daily basis.

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      May 6, 2016 at 14:12

      It’s not singled out, and he could have written about how any sport or team could be a cult, but there’s probably tons of papers like that already and very few about esports, so he went with esports because he was interested.

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        May 6, 2016 at 14:23

        Stop being reasonable!

        Reply

        • Strawman Jim

          May 6, 2016 at 14:24

          Yes, he’s going off-character again. Someone get the stick!

          Reply

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:25

            Get him in his corner and beat him! No, wait 0_O

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:26

            NO. he’ll enjoy it too much! GET THE HOSE PIPE!!!

  7. Raptor Rants

    May 6, 2016 at 13:56

    So even normal sport? Such as Golf, Rugby, Swimming etc?

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      May 6, 2016 at 14:01

      • Strawman Jim

        May 6, 2016 at 14:09

        Bros going to the local pub (temple) to worship (watch a game)?

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          May 6, 2016 at 14:10

          Oh snap, but I don’t beat people over the head with my bible though

          Reply

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:11

            I would beat them over the head with a beer can…

          • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

            May 6, 2016 at 14:13

            Exactly, my bible

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:16

            I could do with a beer right about now…. Screw it, it’s Friday. Brb. Heading to the fridge!

          • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

            May 6, 2016 at 14:16

            XD

  8. VampyreSquirrel

    May 6, 2016 at 14:01

    • Admiral Chief in New York

      May 6, 2016 at 14:02

      LOOOOOOOOOOOL

      Reply

    • Admiral Chief in New York

      May 6, 2016 at 14:03

      What is moving in the background…..ninjas?

      Reply

    • Strawman Jim

      May 6, 2016 at 14:10

      I still think someone needs to give this guy his own tv talk show….

      Reply

    • Dane

      May 6, 2016 at 14:51

      I think I know this guy. >.>

      Reply

  9. Strawman Jim

    May 6, 2016 at 14:07

    So that’s why I’m not interested in e-sports…. 😮

    Reply

  10. GooseZA

    May 6, 2016 at 14:11

    Sorry but this is just silly. The same argument can be applied to literally anything.

    ANY SPORT: Professionals practice daily and compete regularly against other teams. Fans play as well and watch their favourite teams play. Sports have rules and ethics / fair play. Sports all have beginnings. Fans discuss them everywhere (not just on reddit).

    COOKING: Professional chefs cook every day. They try new recipes, new ideas, anything to stay ahead of the pack. Home cooks buy and read their cookbooks, join message boards and discuss recipes and tips. There are certain rules about how well done different meats should be etc, that you don’t mix X and Y. That you need to maintain balance of flavours. Bla bla bla.

    MUSICIANS: Musicians practice every day to maintain and increase their skills. They write new material and try to get themselves noticed in a sea of other musicians and bands. People listen to and follow their music and discuss it everywhere. They practice at home as well and play for enjoyment. Music styles and even different scales etc all have definite origins. Music timing and chord theory etc all have very definite rules.

    You could honestly do this for just about anything. Is everything a religion / cult?

    Reply

    • Strawman Jim

      May 6, 2016 at 14:12

      Yes… ?

      Reply

      • GooseZA

        May 6, 2016 at 14:13

        I… I’m glad we … wait, do we agree?

        Reply

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        May 6, 2016 at 14:13

        COOL song bro

        Reply

      • VampyreSquirrel

        May 6, 2016 at 14:16

        The cult of Banana Jim can’t exist because everyone knows you don’t actually exist. 😛

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          May 6, 2016 at 14:17

          But I believe he exists. If enough people believes it makes him real

          Reply

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:18

            I’m REAL TO HAMMER!!!

  11. Greylingad[He Charges!]

    May 6, 2016 at 14:12

    There is a song released today actually called sonova faith…brilliant…

    Reply

  12. Strawman Jim

    May 6, 2016 at 14:14

    This was an interesting read Kyle, although I think Boucher’s paper is a little simplistic and his arguments aren’t as strong as they could have been.

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      May 6, 2016 at 14:19

      Yeah I’m busy reading it now, not particularly compelling.

      I also hope that’s not his final draft, the formatting is terrible. My research supervisors would’ve kicked my ass for that.

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        May 6, 2016 at 14:21

        Yeah, I thought it was a first or second draft – his reference list is also a little light. If I was his supervisor, I’d suggest he do a bit more reading.

        Reply

      • RinceThis

        May 6, 2016 at 14:25

        Would’ve? You mean they didn’t anyway?

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          May 6, 2016 at 14:26

          No, I paid them to pass me.

          Reply

          • RinceThis

            May 6, 2016 at 14:26

            I see, beating the system eh? EH?!

          • Strawman Jim

            May 6, 2016 at 14:27

            Good man!

  13. Dane

    May 6, 2016 at 14:48

    Is sport a religion? Why would eSport be a religion?

    Reply

  14. Sam

    May 8, 2016 at 20:03

    Regular sports would also fit this then in pretty much every way. Their social aspect is just as large, if not more so than Esports.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Xbox Series X Restock Update Today: Track on Twitter, Walmart, Best Buy and More

New consoles are on the horizon, and while Sony and Microsoft have spoken plenty about wha…