Parents I speak with are often bewildered as to why their child wants to play so many hours of video games. And what’s even more astounding for them to understand is why their gamer watches other gamers play online in tournaments. Many gamers also love to attend tournament esports events in large stadiums where they watch with other fans on a screen.

I have asked this same question with my son, a recovering video gaming addict. He tells me that it’s simple – video gaming competitions are no different than sports, apart from the fact that they are digital. He believes that watching an esports tournament in a large stadium, with other gaming fans, is not any different from watching  football, basketball, or hockey on television or streamed on a screen.

The world of gaming has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from a niche hobby of the profiled nerdy, awkward kid, into a global phenomenon. At the forefront of this revolution is the burgeoning realm of esports, where competitive gaming has captured the hearts and minds of millions of children and young adults worldwide. 

But what exactly is it about video gaming and esports competition that makes it so enthralling for this demographic? 

One of the primary reasons video gaming and esports are so captivating is the immersive nature of the gameplay experience. Unlike passive forms of entertainment like watching TV or movies, gaming actively engages players, allowing them to become part of the virtual worlds they inhabit. The sense of control players have over their in-game actions creates a deeply immersive experience that can be both exhilarating and empowering!! 

Gaming has transcended the stereotype of the solitary gamer sitting alone in their room. Instead, it has become a vibrant social activity that fosters connection and community. For children and young adults, gaming provides a platform to interact with friends and like-minded individuals, whether they’re playing together cooperatively or competing against each other in esports tournaments. The sense of camaraderie and belonging that comes from being part of a gaming community can be incredibly appealing, especially for those who may struggle to find their place in traditional social settings.

My own son, who was bullied in middle school, found his way onto online multi-player games while his brother was away on a student exchange program. They wanted to stay connected. But what my son discovered also was a whole world of other gamers, like him, and suddenly he found a safe place where he felt accepted. That built-in community was intoxicating for him, and his excessive gaming became tied to his deep need for friendship.

Esports competition taps into the innate human desire for competition and mastery. For many children and young adults, the thrill of competing against others in high-stakes tournaments is a major draw. Esports offers a platform for players to showcase their skills, strategic thinking, and teamwork on a global stage, akin to traditional sports. The opportunity to test oneself against top-tier opponents and strive for improvement drives a sense of achievement and fulfillment that keeps players coming back for more.

Just as traditional sports have their star athletes, esports boasts a roster of highly skilled players who serve as inspirations and role models for aspiring gamers. At the moment, Johan Sundstein, who has earned over seven million U.S. dollars throughout his recorded esports career, is the biggest name.

Watching professional esports tournaments can be as thrilling as participating in them, with commentators providing live commentary, analysis, and insights into the strategies employed by top players.

The rise of streaming platforms like Twitch has made it easier than ever for fans to follow their favourite players and teams, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of spectator entertainment around esports.

If you don’t believe me, then take a look at this video that showcases the over-the-top, sensationalized opening act of the world championships of League of Legends 2023, with some of the biggest music artists from around the world.

As you can see, as gaming’s appeal endures, it will continue to offer new generations of players the opportunity to experience the excitement and camaraderie that comes from being part of this dynamic and ever-growing community.

What is important for parents, is to understand why competitive video gaming is so entrancing, to support your child’s interest, while also encouraging and nudging them to create other interests, and play with regulation, not extreme excess.