Emulation and Equality in eSport

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In From Ritual to Record, sport historian Allen Guttmann tries to categorize modern sport. In a Weberian manner he construes an ideal-type of modern sport, consisting of seven characteristics: bureaucratization, rationalization, secularization, specialization, equality, quantification, and the quest for records.

These traits could be seen as a blueprint for how elements should be gathered for a (modern) sport to take form. What follows here is an argument that eSport, ie competitive computer gaming, in its trials to perfect sporthood in certain aspects, here exemplified by equality, even betters its analogue namesake. This could perhaps be extended to further discussions on politics from Deleuze and Guattaris' point of view.

In its emulating endeavor, eSport in certain aspects even beats sport in the latter's own game, for instance with regards to the possibility of creating conditions of equality (which is crucial in any given sport). In eSport, players/gamers/cyberathletes have the theoretical chance to raze such boundaries that traditionally have been enacted within sports, in the name of equality. What I am referring to is of course categories like sex, age, weight and ability.

While these sections commonly constitute different classes within any given sport, eSport, with its specific repertoire of mastery of bodily movements, hypothetically makes this manner of managing sport obsolete. A game between the two best players in the world could well be played between an overweight teenage girl in a wheelchair and an athletic able-bodied adult male. Not that it necessarily would happen (macropolitics), but that it really could (micropolitics) is what makes eSport refine the element of equality in sport.