Main cyber sports disciplines

Cyber sport, also known as cybersport, is the competition of video games in a professional environment. The purpose of this article is to give an overview of the many different disciplines that are commonly included in the concept of cybersport.

Before diving into the topic itself, it is important to define what cybersport really is. As mentioned above, cybersport is the competition of video games in a professional context. Despite the name, it is not limited to computer and console games, but includes other e-sports such as:

E-sports are not necessarily organized by official institutions – sometimes they are held at a casual level. Unlike, for example, traditional sports, there are no real prize money or cash rewards for first places in tournaments.

Cyber sports are particularly popular in South Korea – it’s probably the only country where you can earn a full-time living from cyber sports. There are two television channels devoted entirely to eSports there.

In 2000, the first cybersport championship, the Seongnam Game World Tournament, hosted by Kespa, took place.

In general, there are four different cybersport disciplines: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), Real-Time Strategy or Real-Time Action Strategy (RTS, ARTS), First Person Shooter (FPS) and Fighting Games/Battle Games. In the following paragraphs a brief description of each is given.

Multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs)

MOBA is the most popular cyber sport discipline. Two teams of up to 5 players each compete on a given map to defeat enemy units and player-controlled structures, with only one player allowed on the battlefield at a time. The ultimate goal is to destroy several towers defending a base, in order to destroy the central structure inside the base for victory. League of Legends (LoL), Dota 2 (DoD) and Starcraft2 (SC2) are the most popular games in this discipline, but there are several other games that can also be played in competitive mode.

Real time strategy or action strategy games (RTS, ARTS)

In RTS or ARTS games, players control a small army and fight other armies. The goal is usually to destroy all enemy buildings/units. StarCraft (SC1 and SC2), Warcraft (WC3 and WoL) and Command & Conquer (C&C) are popular games in this genre.

First Person Shooter (FPS)

FPS games are usually played in teams of up to 6 players, but sometimes a 1-on-1 mode is also available. Instead of controlling units/buildings as in other disciplines, the player controls a single character who must destroy all enemies. Counter-Strike (CS), Callof Duty (CoD), Unreal Tournament (UT) are the most famous games in this genre.

Fighting / Fighting Games

The goal of fighting or fighting games is to defeat your opponent by dealing more damage than they can handle before they have to surrender. The game is usually played with two players, but sometimes it is also played one-on-one. Street Fighter, Tekken and Soulcalibur are popular games in this genre.

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In the following paragraphs, other sports such as b-ball, football and tennis will be compared with cybersport. It should become clear that there are some aspects that make cyber sport special:

The most important aspect is probably the fact that players don’t have to physically move around in the game, as they usually do in sports. Instead, they sit in front of a computer and only control the actions of the character on the screen. Cyber athletes don’t need to be very tall, fast or strong to be successful in competition, it’s the mental processing of information – especially when playing FPS – that counts. Because of this fact, cyber athletes around the world compete on a level playing field.

The second aspect is the interactivity of eSports. The spectator can not only watch the live broadcast, as in traditional sports for example, but also participate directly, influence what is happening or make bets, like in online casinos. One can say that interactivity makes cyber sports more enjoyable for players and spectators.

Last but not least, most games played in competitions (except SC2) do not require expensive and high-end hardware components. Even gamers with older computers can easily compete in these disciplines if they are skilled enough to do so. This fact makes eSports more accessible to a large portion of the world’s population.

In fact, cyber athletes from all over the world compete on an equal footing, even though they may be from different geographical regions. This means that cybersport is truly democratic and global in nature, unlike traditional sports which consist of different leagues dominated by rich clubs like the NBA, NFL and so on.

Conclusion

Almost everyone on the planet has the opportunity to watch traditional sports, making them accessible to media such as TV channels and online streaming platforms (e.g. twitch.tv). In comparison, cyber sports can be watched by far fewer people, as it requires a computer and Internet access. This means that cybersport is still small compared to its traditional counterparts, although this may change in the near future.