Debate This: Is MLG a Professional Sport?

Debate This is an ongoing feature which provides an opportunity for open discussion on various video game-related topics. Those who know how to debate in a mature and respectful manner are encouraged to participate. Present your opinion, but be prepared to defend it.

The words “Major League” denote playing a team sport at a professional level. Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, Major League Gaming. They all have players that have been transformed into pop cultural icons (Derek Jeter, David Beckham, Walshy). They all have competitive tournaments where the top athletes battle it out, usually  in front of a live audience (World Series, MLS Cup, MLG Pro Circut). They all have high salaried participants that enjoy padding their wallets with lucrative endorsements. In fact Dr Pepper recently decided to have the likeness of an athlete featured on their label for the first time ever and instead of choosing a traditional sports hero, they opted to go with Tom “Tsquared” Taylor (one of Major League Gaming’s biggest stars).

Major League Gaming, the largest organized league for worldwide professional competitive gaming and tournaments, has all the major characteristics of a professional sport. They even maintain a formal partnership with ESPN, a network dedicated to broadcasting sports-related programming, with their popular MLG/ESPN Top Ten video series. Is that really what MLG is though? Debate This: Is Major League Gaming a professional sport? Why or why not?

*A special thank you to CrazedOne1988, who hopes that making betrayal montages will one day be considered an official sport, for the topic idea!

84 Responses to Debate This: Is MLG a Professional Sport?

  1. Sweet you used my idea!

    Well as far as I see it, I don’t consider it a “real” sport. Think about it. When you think of the word sport, you think football, baseball, soccer, something that involves going out and breaking a sweat. When you think of gaming, chances are you will think of relaxing, laid back, recreation.

    I like to think of gaming as something I do in my spare time. No offense to those who are in MLG, but I just can’t see this as an actual sport.

    (This next segment is in no way directed at anyone in MLG particularly, it is just my personal opinion. Please don’t take it offensively)

    As far as MLG goes, I think it’s a waste. Sure people get together and compete for prizes and glory above their fellow gamers, but this could all go into tournaments for charity or something beneficial to others. If you plan on making a career out of gaming, then you really aren’t contributing a lot to society. Where a pilot flies planes to get people where they need to go, and a construction worker builds houses and buildings that people need, you are sitting on your ass playing video games for a living. You may say in rebuttal “well what about football players? All they do is play football all the time for the entertainment of others” This is true, but they are out there training all year for the season, working out, building their stamina and strength and breaking a sweat. While MLG “trains” by playing video games, just to play more video games later.

    I am all for video games believe me. I play my xbox 360 all the time. I have had N64, Xbox, Wii, Xbox360, and countless gameboys. It’s one o my favorite activities when I have some free time. But what has our country come to when we make sitting in front of a screen pushing buttons a official sport?

    • cubixfuzz09 says:

      I agree with some of your comments CrazedOne. Yes, people who try to make it to MLG is basically a waste of effort when you can obviously be something better and do good for the world. I also thought maybe it isn’t a waste as well. You see, there are some teenagers now that struggle through high school, and cannot even support themselves by getting a job, simply because they struggled through high school. Maybe for some strange reason, this person is very good at video games to the point where he makes MLG, and also gets a good share amount of money in the process.
      In my opinion, MLG is not a sport, but it is another great oppurtunity to make money so you can support yourself. I think the reason why they have these tournaments is because they just want to have a better gaming experience, and just have fun. Hey along with the fun, you get a chance to win some good cash along the way. Now please tell me if you had the chance to be in MLG and make alot of money… wouldn’t pass it up would you? It’s like asking “Hey, you want to make better money that you are making now?” But other than that, I don’t think we should even care if it is a sport or not. They are obviously becoming a huge success, so just let it be. I’m all for fun, and MLG is all about that.
      So in simple sentences, NO. MLG is not a sport, they even said it themselves. BUT, it is a competition obviously. I dont even know why ESPN is partners with them either. I say lets compromise and call it a HALF and HALF sport/competition and leave it at that. There is no REAL answer to this lol.

    • Trevor says:

      When you say how we train thats false, how about you actually play with a team you will see how stressfull it is to locate spawns, best spots communitcation , callouts, SKILL and much more, trust me mlg players have more communication, more team work the sports out side the house. its not just constant gaming you should try it sometime before you even get into this conversation. just because you game dosnt meant you ACTUALLY game . go on and get a good team and see how complicated it is without the things i listed above.

    • bob says:

      so if sports require physical activity from constant strenuous work, explain racing…

  2. Jim 028 says:

    Sport – noun:
    an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

    No it’s not a sport, though this statement does not in anyway diminish the accomplishments of those gamers who play at a professional level.

    If you take a step back and look at what these people are accomplishing, it is their mental alacrity and their ability to form strategies on the fly that enables them to succeed at these tournaments. They are not sportsmen, they are more like chess masters.

  3. Phantom says:

    I would have to respectfully disagree with the previous two comments. But I do understand the points that they are making, and they make sense.
    I think that MLG COULD be considered a sport. I understand that some people probably don’t like that because the “sportsman” is sitting around looking at a television screen. However, MLG takes skill. Skill that was honed through countless hours of practice. For the most part, they weren’t just naturally that good as soon as they picked up a controller. At least, I sure as hell wasn’t. I understand that some people think that for an activity to be classified as a sport, you have to go out and break a sweat, or you have to have physical strength and/or speed. If this is the case then, why is golf classified as a sport? Or bowling? Or curling for that matter? It’s certainly true that a sweat can be broken in these activities through the temperature of the environment, or the intensity of the situation, but the same could be said for competitive gaming. Golf, bowling, and curling all involve skill, with little strength and no relative speed. If they are all skill based sports, than why isn’t MLG? It’s competitive. You are competing in an activity against another person or a group of peoples for victory and the rewards given to the winner. The only real difference that I can see is that golf and bowling are established activities that have been around for many years. Well, gaming is certainly getting that way isn’t it? Should MLG be a sport? Maybe. I just think that in the digitally-fueled age we live in nowadays, it definitely could be.

    • Dan says:

      are you crazy?!?! how does a video game take skill?!?! all it takes is the ability to pick something up sit on your ass and move your fingers around.. the only skills you guys have is calling for mom when you run out of hot pockets… it takes more skill for one of you guys to get up off your ass to get some food or even go to the bathroom then it takes to play a video game

      • bob says:

        youre fuckin retarded bro… first, that was a funny south park quote, second, have you seen what those guys do??? mlg requires more strategy than most other professional sports out there…

      • Elliot says:

        Ok you sound retarded, i have been to a pro circuit competition, i would love to see you play at that high of a level, pro video gaming takes insane hand eye coordination like any other sport and it takes visual prowess to figure out situations that are happening at the moment and be able to react to them at an unbelievably high speed. I would guarantee that in the next couple years MLG will be a national sport that will be recognized as such!

  4. stupidpower says:

    Simple. MLG=not sport.

    MLG pro=sport.

    I just hate the MLG addicts, thinking they are pro or what shit. I play halo for fun, not to own. Oh, they partly cause me to pl3h start playing cod.

  5. @ Phantom

    Maybe I said it wrong. Not to try and disprove your point. But what I meant was not necessarily breaking a sweat, but going out and doing something physical. In that sense, golf and curling fall into the category of sport.

    But you do bring up some good arguments.

  6. Rafael says:

    MLG is a sport because it contains the most vital element of what a sport consists of which is competition. All professional sports are a games. So you can consider any game a sport. Thats why there are professional gamblers, race car drivers, and chess players.

  7. Psychophan7 says:

    Yes, the MLG organization and it’s official leagues are professional e-sports. MLG is our KeSPA, only far, far, far less entertaining. Although MLG might have better commercials, if it’s still televised.

  8. Mizzy says:

    In one sense of the word, it could be a sport. You and other live human beings are competing against each other towards some goal. Sure, it’s not a physical get-up-and-go thing, but neither is clay-shooting. Practice is involved in both, physical prowess needed in neither.

    In another sense of the word, winning in any video game could sometimes be attributed to just sheer luck. For example, in one of the clips, one player was just lucky to kill all 3 opposing team-members with a sticky. (why none of them noticed it is beyond me)

    The game also place everyone on an unequal playing field: not everyone has a sniper rifle or rocket launcher to take out other people first (unless the playlist calls for that). That simple fact also makes the game not a sport.

    • GreatSkills says:

      This could not even be compared to an unequal playing field. All players spawn evenly away from the power weapons and usually each team has a sniper rifle of their own. Also in MLG this players are using countless hours of mastered skills, in order to time weapons and compete at the level they do. A baseball player is constantly practicing his batting, while an MLG player is practicing his sniper.
      yes athletes can break a sweat but that is what that sport requires. Golfers are not breaking a sweat yet it is considered a sport. MLG just fits into a more modern mold of what entertainment is to most younger people today.

  9. Tom says:

    I think MLG is no more of a professional sport than Chess.

  10. Torrent says:

    How can you say that it isn’t an even playing field? The rocket launcher and sniper rifle are accessible to everyone. The only time the gametype is biased from the get-go is in Fiesta, where it depends on luck who gets the best weapon.
    For being professional sport, I’d say technically yes. Those who participate receive a regular pay check to do a set job, thereby making it a profession. Since they are considered the best in the chosen field, they are professionals.
    And it does meet a come definition of “sport”.
    “Sport is an activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.”
    This is, in my opinion, the best definition of a sport because it encompasses all things which are typically considered as such. Football, baseball, golf, NASCAR, or even show jumping.
    MLG meets this criteria, and so I would consider it a professional sport.

  11. Reneiw says:

    There is only one thing that IMO make MLG a sport.
    It’s a mainstream activity.

    However, this same point can be used to argue against it.
    Just because the Puppy Bowl is shown after the Super Bowl makes it a major sporting event?
    Just because MLG is on Dr. Pepper makes it mainstream? The fact that I have to point it out and tell the kid what MLG is is pretty dumb.

    IMO, I don’t think Major League Gaming is a sport YET.
    I believe it will be a sport ONCE THE DEPRESSION COMES!
    That will be the time where people will look to video games instead of mainly movies and TV to provide them entertainment.

  12. Lt Anders says:

    Hm that’s an easy question to answer, No it is not a sport. Why?

    Well, First off, I don’t think MLG’s removal of weapons from the standard game and reducing it down to a few is not very good. It’s like saying you can play golf with only a Driver and a Sand wedge and nothing else. Or, even better, saying everyone who plays (American) football has to be a line backer. I’m sure you *could* play those sports like that, and get good at playing it, but it was designed with more than a few to be played with!

    I’ll also use another example, Grifball. I loved it, in fact, and never could stop playing with my team(yes, I was apart of the Rooster teath league). Unfortunatly, once they instituted a “pro” (or in this case, Veteran League), the fun of the sport dropped dramatically. People became grumpy, and hated loosing. My own captain was…for lack of better word…hated being told what he was doing wrong and loosing games. He removed me from team cause he couldn’t “take” my “BS” I was spewing.

    So I guess it boils down to this. Anytime you take something that is made for recreation, and then call it pro, you remove the fun of the game and make it a chore. “Pro” is not something that it should be, and it shouldn’t give out money. Once money is involved, there’s nothing left of the original game but the rules.

    (BTW, I now hate grifball. If only people’d be really into the fun and not the winning)

  13. BSG Daffy says:

    I agree with Jim above.
    And I’m always right.
    So Jim is right.
    Good Jim! :)

  14. Mike says:

    if poker is considered a sport, why not competitive videogaming?

    BUT as long as they never call anyone in poker or videogaming “athletes”

  15. Sten4sw says:

    No, I believe sports have to be more physically demanding. People above mentioned it, so I won’t bother expounding on it.
    Also, the don’t really have the same types of salaries. In a “real” sport, you sign a contract, and get made a certain amount for how many years you signed for. These MLG guys only get payed if they win.
    Also, anyone can be “MLG” which is not what real sports do. I can’t sign up on Boston’s website and start playing for the Red Sox immediately.

    • donwurrbout it says:

      i understand what your saying but think of chess, no real physical activity is needed. also you cant just sign up to play with any MLG team.

  16. Nokterne says:

    @ Lt Anders

    MLGs removal of certain weapons from each map could be compared to corked bats being disallowed in baseball. They have attempted to make the game fair, remove as much game induced randomness as possible, promote the individual skill of the player, and speed up the game (which makes it more difficult to participate and entertaining to watch).

    Also, adding a competitive edge to something doesn’t necessarily make it unpleasant. Your teammates inability to enjoy the game while loosing is more a flaw in their personality then a flaw in making the game competitive. Plenty of people enjoy the game in a competitive atmosphere, myself included.

    And to address the overall question.

    Whether or not MLG falls under the definition of “Sport” is meaningless. What matters is that just like in regular sports, competing in MLG tournaments takes skill, dedication, and talent.

    • AllOuttaGum says:

      I believe that if something like golf (development and coordination of fine twitch muscles), fishing (idk), and poker(all mental) are considered sports, competeing in the MLG Pro Circuit should be as well.

      I don’t believe that participants in any of the above are ATHLETES, however, as someone above pointed out.

  17. Mizzy says:

    @ Torrent: Accessible to everyone, but easier for those who spawn nearer to it. Still more like luck of the draw to me. Level-playing field means subjecting everyone to the same conditions as everyone else. In clay-shooting, you don’t have one person with a hand gun, and another person with a heat-seeking rocket launcher. In fencing, everyone’s weapon is the same length. For sports that have seemingly unfair advantages like swimming and baseball, where you can buy neoprene suits and whatever high-tech bat they make nowadays, such devices are available to everyone who wants it. However, everyone who wants a sniper rifle is not going to get it, simply for the reason that they have to wait until the bearer of that weapon dies, and the weapon respawns.

    • TuBlinded says:

      @Mizzy so your saying that everyone that plays basketball should each have a baseketball and everyone who plays football should have one too so the game can be even and fair? right

  18. Viral says:

    While I have no doubts about the professional level of MLG, I cannot refer to it as a sport. In its strictest sense, a sport is an activity involving physical skill and prowess. In this sense, though there are in fact many professional leagues for poker, chess, and other such games, they remain just that, games and activities.

    In the matter of Dr. Pepper’s sponsorship:
    Sponsorships arise from the notoriety of a figure. Many serious gamers will recognize Taylor as a professional gamer, and as such will be more inclined to purchase their products as a result. This does not make him an emissary of a new sport, but rather a popular activity in the world.

    Bobby Fisher is considered by many to be the greatest chess master ever, and there have been movies and books made about him, or using his name, yet chess is not recognized as a sport, nor are Fisher or modern chess players seen as athletes.

    In the end, Gaming has reached the level of pocket bike racing. It has become a wildly popular recreational activity. One that has its own league and tournaments, but remains just that, a recreational activity.

  19. Avateur says:

    Is MLG a sport? No. The end.

  20. thebruce says:

    well here are a few other links discussing the very same subject… more focused on poker and chess as examples, but I think MLG falls into the “non-physical” category of “is it a sport?”

    I think this debate is effectively unresolvable… but it’s the discussion that counts right?

  21. BerserkerBarage says:

    Is MLG a sport? Hell no. Is it a competition? Yes. Just like “poker” is not a sport and anyone who tries to say other wise is lying. Poker and MLG are simply competitions and the only reason they are trying to be branded as a ‘sport’ is because they are trying to legitimize their organization to a group of people who don’t give a damn.

    I played UT99, Quake, and H:CE PC back when I was in high school and not a single one of us would have said that what we were doing would be considered a sport. We weren’t so self-diluted to try to make it something it wasn’t. And we certainly didn’t need to try to justify what we were doing to anyone trying to say “we’re a sport”. We knew that we were participating in a competition just like if we would have been playing a pick-up game of poker over at somebody’s house. However, the difference with “competitive” PC gaming back then and MLG now is that we actually were learning something useful in the process. When I played PC games competitively the prize for the majority of the tournaments were PC upgrades. Better graphics cards, mice, et cetera. And the people playing the games knew all about computer assembly and maintenance because we were the ones building our systems and updating them to continue playing. With MLG you might get 1 kid in 1 million that because of their direct interaction with MLG or it’s events goes on to learn something useful or even career oriented. They spend years learning how to play a finalized game and nothing about how it’s made or how it works. Trying to tell an average MLG-fan the difference between TCP and UDP architectures is like telling them the difference between Baroque and Art Nouveau.

    As soon as universities start giving away scholarships for video-game “skills” then I might start to consider that a sport. Regardless of whether or not MLG is a sport, it is (utilitarian) the worst part of the Halo/Bungie community. Because, I mean, sooo many people come on the forums from the Grifball community and tell everyone that if you don’t use a Grav Hammer you’re trash at a video game.


  22. MK28 says:

    Hmmm, that definition up there of sport being a physical thing? Little off the mark, I don’t care what the dictionary says; dictionary definitions follow the lay of the land and if the lay of the land starts saying Hunting is a sport, Fishing is a sport, Darts is a sport, Bowls is a sport, then quite frankly, Gaming is a legitimate sport. It’s more physical than Fishing, requires precision hand-eye coordination like Hunting and Darts… and it’s ten times more fun than Bowls!

    As for being a professional sport, well, look at the guys and gals that win the big competitions; they don’t have to go to work like the rest of us, so what’s their actual job?

    Some universities now offer courses on videogames and their evolution.


    I’m in total opposition of what you’re saying, yet agreeing with you on the intelligent response to neural stimulus. Okay so it’s not a physical thing per se (and I would never consider calling myself a sportsman for playing games anymore than I would call myself an author for posting comments), but you talk in terms of mental alacrity as if knowing your second opponent’s third move before he’s even made it, is Grandmaster level, and yet, not a sport? Chess is a sport. It’s just the workout is one of mental dexterity.

    Awaits the obvious logical (if idiotic) wave of ‘then that means Brain Trainer made me an athlete’ jibes.

    In my eyes, and everyone I know, they use the word sport to mean a larger number of activities than what it was originally intended for. Not a buzzword, because you can actually see some element of ‘sport’ being ‘played out’ competitively. If I’m thrashing somebody, I don’t call it a sport, if we are of fairly equal talent with a balanced mechanic of several varying factors (Environment, weapons, status, handicaps etc) that -combined with our ability to use them efficiently- produce a scenario where we are able compete for supremacy: I call that sport; it’s just ventured beyond the physical nature required to be ‘considered’ a sport.

    Sport is competitive in nature and conducted on a level playing field with all players using their skills to be Alpha Dog and impress the Biatches. ;)

    Golf on the other hand is not a sport, it’s a chance for daft old farts to legally wear stupid outfits, carouse large acres of bought land and hit a little ball at a hole far away. There, by Occam’s Razor the simplest answer has produced the truth about sport and the little game of putting your balls in a hole you will make use of time and time again and never get bored; a happy marriage for those easily pleased.

    ‘As soon as universities start giving away scholarships for video-game “skills” then I might start to consider that a sport.’

    Non-Sequitur Alert! That sounds like you’re waiting for someone that you think is intelligent to give you approval. Carry on…

    BTW, if all these things that involve a competitive nature cannot be defined as sport, what are they classed as? Hobbies? Reading is a hobby; I ain’t never seen no competition in reading -neither did the bookworm reading James Joyce’s Ulysses in the library, when I victoriously slammed shut the CD inlay I was glossing over in her face screaming:

  23. Chris says:

    I’m going to have to disagree with Jim 028 up there. It takes a lot of skill, practice, patience, and dedication to become that good. All of the players in the Top 8 have amazing eye hand coordination, play at least 12 hours a day, every day, for at least 8-10 months, and it is extremely competitive. Those saying it’s a waste, you do realize that Walshy, the Ogre twins, T2, and most of the players in the Top 16 have been earning a living off of the earnings they make at events, yeah? You do realize that T2, Walshy, Ogre 1 and 2, and Strongside are all signed to three year $250,000 contracts, for playing a video game. It wasn’t a sport before, but it’s slowly becoming one, no matter if you want it to or not.

  24. BerserkerBarage says:

    “Non-Sequitur Alert! That sounds like you’re waiting for someone that you think is intelligent to give you approval. Carry on…”

    1.) It wasn’t a non sequitur logic line.

    2.) Nice strawman.

    3.) MLG will never be a sport nor will Poker. Adding a moniker doens’t make it so.


  25. Das Kalk says:

    MK28, please explain to me how gaming is more of a sport than fishing, because I am having a hard time seeing that it’s more physically demanding…

    I totally agree with Jim, but I must say that it definitely qualifies as a cyber-sport, which I think is an absolutely legitimate claim.

  26. Azraeus says:

    Avateur has the most convincing arguement. :P

    Seriously, I’m in the school where I’m against anything that takes things out of the game to “Make it more skillfull.” I’m not talking about a level playing field. In all reality, sports do not have a level playing field; Take football (the real one, not soccer):

    -A coin flip determines who starts
    -Only one team can score at any given time
    -Wind conditions
    -Home field advantages

    All of these are luck factors. Kicker’s don’t cry that the wind is “unfair.” they deal with it because it’s a part of the game. Truth be told, I’m enough of a purist that I disagree with domes. So Major League Gaming is going to take SOMEONE ELSES GAME, tell them what they think is or isn’t balanced and call it official? That’s BS to me. You could argue the NFL’s ever changing rules as an attempt to balance the game, but they’re not taking out the fundamentals.

    Taking out half the players on a football team would make it more of a skill game, but it’s still a dumb idea. So, someone gets to the rockets first (or whatever other weapon is banned, I don’t know the full list). If you’re half as skilled as you say you are, you can work around it. A sport should be entertaining. Some people find MLG entertaining. Personally, I find playing halo the way it is designed to be much more interesting.

    To answer the question, I think Pro Gaming could be considered a sport. I don’t, however, see MLG as a sport. That’s my opinion. Take it or leave it.

  27. Surly 1 says:

    “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.”

    –Ernest Hemingway

  28. MK28 says:


    1) The first part of your sentence did not make the logically progressive step towards the conclusion without incredible pains of disbelief; therefore it didn’t make sense. You say you will only consider gaming a sport if a University starts giving out a scholarship for it. You’re pedalling semantics on the confirmation of some chosen intelligentsia with no greater claim to authority on the matter than the laity. On the Poker thing, well, yes and no, to paraphrase a popular advert: millions of people watch it, understand it, play it, but the finalists are the usual suspects…

    2) Thanks man. I had it stuffed by some Grad students thinking it was for some (phoney-ass) scholarship I decided had merit -and they believed it! ;)

    And who’s moniker? Is she hot?

  29. BerserkerBarage says:

    “You say you will only consider gaming a sport if a University starts giving out a scholarship for it.”

    No, I didn’t. Reading comprehension is a plus. If what you said I said was true, that would have been non sequitur. I, however, did not. Which is part of the strawman argument I knew you were trying to make.

    Alas, it’s not important but you really should actually *read* something before trying to point out their perceived logical problems.

    MLG will never be a sport. Trying to convince yourself it is is pointless and asinine.


  30. Tortacular says:

    MLG is no more of a sport than poker.

  31. nixproto says:

    it is a sport.
    it’s on espn. has a logo. and has a huge fanbase. all characteristics of a sport. lol

  32. MK28 says:


    You’re right about the reading thing, I thought this was about professional gaming in general: my bad. :(
    MLG ain’t my thing, watching sport ain’t my thing: playing sport is my thing.

    And if you think I deliberately misinterpreted your statement for some lame-ass strawman tangent; you got me all wrong; the best thing you can do is clarify exactly what you meant by:

    ‘As soon as universities start giving away scholarships for video-game “skills” then I might start to consider that a sport.’

    Because I genuinely don’t know. Are you being flippant over how Uni’s ‘give away’ scholarships, because you’re a lot smarter than me if you think they do. Emphasis on the adverb ‘that’ might have helped, maybe a winky smiley to take the edge off. I thought you were being serious, your post seemed pretty resentful of the whole idea of professional gaming; bitterness and twisted playa-hating maybe? (JOKE)

    Asinine… Latin ain’t it? ;)


    Sorry, I kind of thought this was about professional gaming; you can shout me down and tell me TO GTFO now…


  33. caelan96 says:

    Race car driving is a sport, and all they do is push a wheel back and forth like a hamster. MLG is definately a sport.

  34. TASK says:

    I always put it this way: Do we celebrate Christmas because we all think about the love and sacrifice of Jesus? No, it’s a commercial holiday about caring and family bonds.

    Now, do we play sports to marvel at athletic ability? No, we play/watch them for entertainment. Just as video games are played for entertainment, so are sports. The concept of athletic involvement went out the door when marbles and chess got involved.

  35. MK28 says:

    @Das Kalk

    If you’ve ever seen some people wrestle with a pad, you’ll know what I mean. It’s not just kids that stick their tongue out the side of their mouths and lean when their onscreen car turns a corner. It can be quite a physical struggle. Mental processes going ten to the dozen… million.

    Cyber-sport, huh? Would that be like a sub-category of sport or a completely separate branch of sport outside of sport? Y’know, just so I get this whole splitting hairs deal. :) (shall I put JOKE next to this? Because I’m actually semi-serious)
    Sport/Cyber-sport, people play/compete and people watch, everyone’s happy.

    I sound very inflammatory, don’t I? I’m not posting in this thread again. It just seems like people are taking the whole idea too seriously; as if the whole idea of gaming has become another one of those celebrity hierarch deals that induce status envy in some of those lower down the supposed scale -and less of a thing that people just play to enjoy. Like as an adolescent when a little-known band you love becomes popular, you somehow feel aggrieved and stop loving their music. I think it’s sad when people get that possessive over things. And I’m still a big Counting Crows Fan!
    I mean, sure, I’d love to get paid for gaming. Fact is I don’t have the skill nor could I put in the hours or the dedication, doesn’t mean I should begrudge those that do though, right?

    Suit yourselves.


    Race Driving is allegedly pretty tough on the body.

  36. Shai-Hulud says:

    What I dislike about MLG being treated so “officially” is that there’s so much luck and truly dirty tactics involved with Halo 3 gameplay that carries over into MLG. So many times I’ve seen there be some shots in the “top 10 plays” for MLG that are simply lucky no-scopes where someone was in the right place at the right time (and no scopes are not difficult to pull-off), or some guy gets a spawn-kill killtacular or some shit on Narrows with the sniper or rocket launcher. People who pull these “feats” off are rewarded with some fame via the MLG official Top 10 plays clips.

    As far as comparing MLG to other sports goes, there’s no comparison for the most part. Videogames, while requiring some good hand-eye-coordination, do nothing for your mind or body after you get “good” at them. While learning how to play a videogame, your hand-eye-coord “skill” improves up until you get good, and then your skill plateaus, and your mind does not improve. So the argument that MLG promotes mind-based skill over body-based skill won’t put you very far. I’m basing these on what I’ve heard form psych studies about people who play videogames. I’m well aware that not quoting specific articles weakens my arguments, but I don’t feel like devoting that sort of time.

    That being said, MLG does promote one skill, which is the most important in the Halo games, and that’s team-based tactics and organization. Basically, I consider MLG to be like the NFL (a highly tactical game), but not football and it requires no physical prowess.

    Jumping back to pure opinion on the matter, I do find people who make their livings off of playing a videogame for hours and hours everyday to win some tournament to be undeserving of any praise. There are better things in life, and aside from earning money, which in the end proves nothing, they’re not doing anything good for themselves.

  37. triptup says:

    i cant believe you all are even discussing this! as with any word in all of history, regardless of language, definitions evolve and re-evolve constantly (just check out the word “run”in an old copy of webster’s dictionary say from the 60’s or 70’s and compare the to the same entry in a current addition). to paraphrase numerous sources “The term, sport, can be used to describe a competitive activity in which there is a clear use of offensive and defensive strategies without regard to any level of physical activity”.

    I find the “sport” to be highly entertaining, partly because i love to play the game and because i love to see it played at such a high level. Whether or not it will be able to appeal to a large audience for an extended period of time will have a lot to do with our culture and how gaming evolves and also how the fledgling organization is run on a promotional level. It provides a constructive avenue for an individual with talent to achieve at what they like to do.

    And to debate crazeone1988’s comments “I think it’s a waste. Sure people get together and compete for prizes and glory above their fellow gamers, but this could all go into tournaments for charity or something beneficial to others.”, and “Where a pilot flies planes to get people where they need to go, and a construction worker builds houses and buildings that people need, you are sitting on your ass playing video games for a living.” I think there are very few people that actually give back to their community or have a job that serves a great purpose or function. It has always been up to the individual from any part of society to give back to the community. The NFL has not always been apart of the United Way. Give MLGpro time, and i think they will be giving back to community any many productive ways.

    Thank you, now get back to gaming!!!

  38. DethPwn says:

    It’s obvious that MLG isn’t a formal sport, but it has the potential for it. For instance, all sports require skill and training to excell at said sport: Gaming does. A sport usually has a widespread audience/community: Gaming does. However, It will be a while before anyone outside of the gaming community takes it as a serious sport. And so, I leave you with this: If Rock, Paper, Scissors is considered a sport, then gaming is absolutely a sport.

  39. Das Kalk says:

    I just think that calling something like Gaming a real sport diminishes the accomplishments and physical aptitude of the people in more legitimate sports To clarify, racecar drivers generally need to very fit it order to withstand the immense forces their bodies are going through, so I would consider that a sport. I don’t believe I’m splitting hairs when I say cyber-sport, it is sort of a sport, but it’s not physically exerting, more so mentally than anything.

    And I don’t want to throw all MLG players in the same boat but almost all of the MLG pros I have ever met are cocky @$$holes who take everything they have for granted. I will say I haven’t met all of them, but the few that I have seem to have to time for the people who make them so popular (i.e. the people who are interested in MLG, like I was until i was burned by some people there). It’s just plain rude, and if they want to call themselves professionals, they may want to act like professionals.

    Just a thought.

  40. D taktics says:

    MLG requires Skill, Teamwork, and Practice. If thats not considered a sport than I don’t want to live in America.

  41. Zaam says:

    Everyone keeps analogizing MLG to poker, which while useful in the short term totally ruins the debate about whether it is a sport. The critical difference is physical skill. You could have Parkinson’s and still be a poker master, because poker is played entirely in the head. Halo (and most video games) require a very large amount of dexterity. The only difference between poker and table tennis (which is most certainly considered a sport) is the scale. In a video game, you have to be very good with your thumbs and fingers, but how strong your muscles are is a moot point. In table tennis, you have to have better arm dexterity, but fine motor control is less important and you still don’t need any leg strength. As far as I can tell the primary factor that turns a game into a sport is the physicality of it, and Halo has that in spades. If you argue against Halo being a sport you argue against table tennis being a sport.

  42. 2Three says:

    @ D Taktics – Sorry, it’s not a sport. “Sports” imply athletics, physical skills, etc. Gaming doesn’t fit that. It would be like saying pro chess players are atheletes… same deal. The competitors are skilled, and rely on strategy, yes, but that doesn’t make them altheletes. WIth your logic, anything that requires skill and teamwork could be considered a sport, like say, business, or web design etc. and those sure as heck aren’t sports. I hope you don’t pack up and move out of the country now.

  43. Das Kalk says:

    Zaam, you have the worst logic I have ever seen. Spock would cringe!

  44. Zaam says:

    How so? Can you refute my point?

  45. DethPwn says:

    Lol Das Kalk

  46. Excardon says:

    Main Entry:
    15th century

    1 a: a source of diversion : recreation b: sexual play c (1): physical activity engaged in for pleasure (2): a particular activity (as an athletic game) so engaged in

    See 1a. yes it would qualify by definition that it is a sport

  47. MK28 says:

    Okay, so I said I wouldn’t return…

    @ Zaam (in defence of Das Kalk)

    Table tennis brings in several factors beyond the motor skills of just the mind, head, hands and the wrists. Pro gaming works the mind, head and hands.
    Table Tennis uses the same snap mechanism turning up from the balls of the feet through the hips (through the hips, they’re not just for dancing, fella!) to give the cross court slam the extra oomph it needs when it’s flicked from the wrist; the same as a boxer. Watch any good boxer from the ground up throw a solid punch, his stance, his flex and his coordination all make a difference in his delivery – excuse my sexism, ‘their’ delivery. Women boxers exploit the same momentum.

    Seems to me that some people are expecting some sort of visible exertion in terms of defining a competitive game as a sport, like without a physical representation of effort, it ain’t a challenge. Trust me. I know sometimes it looks easy, but it’s not. Best thing to do is try it for yourself; regardless of the sport or challenge. If it’s something that can be mastered without a challenge, it’s no longer a sport; it’s just something you do to pass the time. Note how it’s only a pastime when you get your ass handed to you several times. ;)

    If you find yourself challenged and manage to hold your own, it’s sport: or at least ‘sporting’. Regardless if you earn 3 zillion a year and 20 quillion people watch you ‘perform’.

    @Das Kalk

    A REAL sport? You got me there, I mean where to draw the line from our ancestry to the modern era… these guys wrestled bulls and got hurt and died and shit. I think perhaps with how limited and how regulated the market has become and with overpopulation, we should re-introduce some old school values. Thin the herd maybe…


    + your evidence of MLG players seems anecdotal and a little bitter (similar to B.B’s Gaming experience in fact), but personal experience never reflects the whole story, I’m sure you’ll agree.
    A profession by name does not mean people will be professional in the conduct of their profession.
    Maybe they still have hang ups like you or I? You want to talk elitism, come into carpentry. ;)


    You had me up until you said: ‘RE-evolve’. Perhaps evolve has taken on new connotations your neck of the woods. Most consider it the logical progression of nature (with the occasional tweaking, throwbacks and curveballs) but to re-evolve? I don’t know what that means. The basic principle of evolution is simply to adapt to the environment and all concerns in order to survive.

    P.S.: Why is it that the Strawman tangent and Anecdotal evidence are the most prominent forms of debate on forums like this? Are we so different and proud that we can’t agree on even the simplest of ideas?

    Sport, let’s define it. Then let’s see if MLG or Pro gaming fits the bill. At the minute, we seem to be arguing over what actually constitutes ‘sport’.

  48. bs angel says:

    Isn’t that an important part of the discussion though, MK28, exactly what defines a sport? You can pull the Merriam-Webster definition up, but even the finer points of a very explicitly defined word can be torn apart into various interpretations. I don’t see a clear-cut answer in this but more of a plethora of opinions that are perhaps right for each individual person. That is actually how I try to choose these debate topics, by selecting items of interest that don’t necessarily have a right or a wrong answer but a multitude of relevant sentiments.

  49. MK28 says:


    I actually think it throws up more friction. In terms of interest from a moderator, sure. but in terms of actual debate, see the full log of posts that have literally formed a cascade of anecdotes and personal opinions with no-one seeming to agree on anything other than the fact that they disagree with the next X. Surely the idea of debate is to ‘find’ some kind of resolution.

    “You can pull the Merriam-Webster definition up, but even the finer points of a very explicitly defined word can be torn apart into various interpretations. I don’t see a clear-cut answer in this but more of a plethora of opinions that are perhaps right for each individual person.”

    Actually, I’m the guy acting for the laity on this one, no dictionary definition has ever managed to satistfy my craving of adequate meaning in language. It seems to work from teh bottom up, with words being added that find themselves in a local spotlight and progress into global phenomenon, through to negligent and forgetful blase.
    Earliest known recording of Dude?
    Transition of Nigger from African Slave of low intelligence to close friend?
    Reasoning for the Great Vowel Shift of the 13th century that now separates our modern languages?

    And the sudden serious-turn verbiage makes me hot, did I mention the whole agreeing thing? After all, why ask a question if you believe there is no defineable answer. I might as well ask someone what 42 means? Surely you have an opinion other than the remark in the post for FCF?

    *Pulls out a twenty and clumsily tucks it in the thong*

    Hoping to get back in the top ten for Captions this week… :)

  50. bs angel says:

    My intention with the debates is not necessarily resolution but instead simply discussion. I personally enjoy hearing various opinions and personal insights into different topics. I find it enlightening, regardless of whether I agree with each particular point being made. As far as my opinion on the subject matter at hand, I prefer to remain a spectator instead of an active participant (although I do occasionally find myself drawn in).

  51. trip says:


    Re-evolve as in come full circle.

  52. Nathan says:

    First off, I did the exact same thing Jim 028 did: went to !! :D

    Anyway, I look at it this way: if grown men chasing a leather sphere around a large area of grass, OVER AND OVER, can be called a sport, so can people of all ages attempting to complete many different objectives, only not in the physical realm, certainly can. I think people need to change their ideas of what sport is, rather than put MLG in some weird quasi-sport group.

  53. Jillybean says:

    Surely part of this argument is the value we as a society place on physical attributes over mental ones. Why is it so necessary to redefine the term ‘sport’ to include gaming, poker, chess and scrabble tournaments – why not say “yes, these are skill based activities which the average person on the street couldn’t possibly hope to compete in without a lot of training” but no, they’re not sports.

    Why should they be?

  54. Das Kalk says:

    @ Zoom

    well, you’re arguing that playing Halo is a sport because it’s physical, but the physical part you’re talking about is moving your fingers, in which case I would like to consider writing letters a sport, because my hands get far more of a workout typing than they do playing Halo. The logic I am talking about is that you are saying (essentially) that anything that you use your body for, anything that requires muscular control is qualified to be called a sport, which is completely illogical. What this means is that drawing, or cooking, or physiotherapy could be considered a sport.

    in spirit, a lot of these activities are sports, but not at all in practice. Yes, sports are games, but a “game” is a much larger category, so to say that because sports are games, that every game is a sport is also very illogical.

    @ MK28,

    I totally agree with you on the anecdotal part, I am a little bitter, but I still feel that if they want to be a professional organization, they should act like an organization that is legitimate (which is what their goal is, you be accepted as a legitimate organization).

  55. Zaam says:

    @ Das Kalk,
    Your letter writing analogy is flawed for two reasons. I argue that Halo is a sport not because there is physical movement involved, but because honing that physical movement and developing its skill is paramount to success. You could have the worst handwriting in the world and still be able to write incredible letters, but you can’t have shaky hands and play Halo. It requires high skill at the motor function itself, which to me seems to be the primary indicator of a sport.

    The other flaw in your letter writing analogy is that it’s noncompetitive. I think we can all agree that to be a sport, the activity must involve competing with others who are developing similar skills in order to find out who is better.

    @ MK28,
    It seems that we come to an unsolvable rift in our definition of sport. Mine is simply that it requires physical skill; I admit that table tennis requires using much of your body, and Halo only only uses your hands, but to me that is simply a matter of scale and doesn’t disqualify Halo from being a sport. Your definition, however: “Seems to me that some people are expecting some sort of visible exertion in terms of defining a competitive game as a sport, like without a physical representation of effort, it ain’t a challenge.” The key part of your definition is “physical representation of effort,” in which case I admit that Halo isn’t a sport. I just think that’s a strange way to define a sport. Why does the effort matter? Why do you have to see it? Maybe you mean a sport requires exercise? In that case, does bowling (and I’m sure there are others I can’t think of right now) count as a sport?

  56. Das Kalk says:

    let’s take a look at cooking then, for example, it requires honing of physical skills, and there are numerous competitions around the world for cooking. Cooking also requires an extensive knowledge of human biology as well as chemistry. Cooking is NOT a sport.

    Let’s also take a look at dancing; it fits all of your criteria for what makes a sport a sport, yet is still considered by many not to be a sport.

    in response to your response to MK28, I must say that scale has EVERYTHING to do with it. If a tree is only an inch high, is it still a tree?

    probably not.

  57. GreyFox785 says:

    I might have one day considered the MLG a sport, unfortunately I no longer do. I like the idea of professional gaming, but some of the followers the MLG has spawned just makes me mad.

  58. Psychophan7 says:

    In American football, who makes the plays, the athletes or the coach? The coach does. The athletes are his pawns. But regardless of what play the coach has, the athletes have to adapt to what the other team is doing. If the athletes fail or falter, then the entire team loses.

    Is MLG any different? No! In MLG, the player’s mind is the coach, their fingers the athletes, and their whole is the team. Gamers can go into MLG with the best play, but if they can not adapt then they are going to lose.

    In either game, the plays are practiced, and the motions involved are second-nature; There is no thought about what is being done or why, but rather upon the outcome. Information is taken in with the senses to assess the situation and determine when the best time to act is. In either game, both physical exertion and pressure/stress are cause enough to sweat.

    MLG doesn’t require as much physical exertion as football does, but it requires the same level of mental exertion; Football requires bursts of energy for seconds at a time (with several minutes of pause in between) over the course of several hours, while MLG maintains a near constant rate of exertion over the course of several minutes. Clearly, they both require endurance. Relatively, MLG requires more because players are not given much time to catch their breath. Comparatively, football requires much more because athletes are simply doing more in a shorter period. (To be relative refers to either game having the same level of exertion. To be comparative refers to how much exertion is done. Simply, the relative test is one where everything is equal, while the comparative test is based on the real world.)

    Both games are televised, with millions of spectators, and players/teams have sponsorships. Both games have a set of rules that governs what you can and cannot do, how to score, how to be penalized, and more. Both games have a rigid structure of progression to further games. Both games have leagues and divisions.

    Yet, MLG isn’t considered a sport. The largest difference between MLG and football is the risk. A broken leg will not affect one’s ability to compete in MLG, while a broken leg will affect one’s ability to compete in football. But the risk comes from where the leg is broken: Competing/practicing in football will be the most likely cause of the broken leg, so football has risk; Competing/practicing in MLG will be the least likely cause of the broken leg, so MLG has no risk. (It is more likely that a broken leg can be incurred by a spider bite than playing in MLG.)

    KeSPA is the Korean e-Sports Players Association. KeSPA is to Koreans and StarCraft as MLG is to us and Halo. KeSPA (and professional SC) attracts millions of viewers worldwide. It is the perfect synonym to MLG, using every point made to compare MLG to football. If MLG cannot be a sport, then can it—like StarCraft—be an e-sport?

    I personally think that the majority of previous discussion has been clouded by personal opinions, both towards MLG and other commentors. I think that it had become a joke, where arguments became tools in an attempt to secure a victory over the other competitors commentors… but this joke, could it have been sport?

  59. BerserkerBarage says:

    There is a difference between a “sport” and a “competition”. MLG is not a sport; it’s a competition. Just like “American Idol” isn’t a sport; it’s a competition. Just like poker isn’t a sport; it’s a competition. Just like “So you think you can dance” isn’t a sport; it’s a competition.

    If you’re willing to accept MLG is a sport, call Kelly Clarkson and tell her that she’s your favorite athlete.

    The better question is why is MLG trying to define themselves as something they aren’t? I’m guessing that it’s the same reason why the “World Series of Poker” has tried everything possible to define themselves as a “sport” when they clearly are not. It’s because they are trying to legitimize themselves to a group of people who don’t give a damn about what they do.


    • Deadlock says:

      I second this

  60. Biddaum27 says:

    MLG in any form is not a “sport” but it is a competitive hobby and in some cases a job in the same way that other sports say, football is. You say the difference is the fact that one is physical? Does everything have to be physical? Any dumb high school dropout can throw a football, I’m sure, but how many can explain thermodynamics? Same instance here, and this requires use of a muscle very few athletes use, their brain. More tactics are involved in MLG than any other sport (well there is scenario paintball…) I can think of. The mind is where the skill is and you could toss a five year in an pro NFL players body and tell him to throw a football and he couldn’t do it much better than he could before he can just throw it farther. Again, same concept, MLG takes skill you can’t just start off with and with all the practice they do it’s deserved of the classification of being a “sport” because a dictionary does not give the true all encompassing definition, just the common use for it so try this definition of a sport. Sport – An activity partaken for multiple reasons from competition and rewards to fun and recreation.
    Is that good enough it does not have to be physical because chess is considered a sport and you are required to do 200 push-ups a day for that.

  61. Hejhog says:

    Anyone who bases the necessity for physical skill in video games on hand-eye coordination is a little mistaken about the definition of it. Hand-eye coordination is throwing a ball at a person 50 feet away. Hand-eye coordination is dodging a person who threw themself at you. Hand-eye coordination is disarming a mugger. It is not twitching your finger when you see a virtual person in the virtual distance when you turn a virtual corner.

  62. Lstorm9 says:

    MLG isn’t a sport just for the fact that it has 15 year old kids in it. I’m not sure we can take 15 year serisously as professionals. All major sports have adults competing. MLG is more like competitions. Like chess competitions, Chess competitions aren’t televised…Why?…because they aren’t sports, they are simply comepetions. While MLG does have attributes of a SPORT, the fact of the matter is that MLG can’t be considered a sport due to the KIDS that are involved. It is a great orginazation and competition, but it isn’t a sport.

    • TuBlinded says:

      so then why is poker televised? its a competition.

  63. I play for fun and still pwn! says:

    Forget mlg. I’m gonna track down every sucessful mlg’er and kill them. Then we’ll see if they still think they’re pro.

  64. AllOuttaGum says:

    @ lstorm9 There are 15 year olds competing at the Olympic level.

  65. bayside playa says:

    there is no way that i would ever think that MLG is a sport! how can it be a sport? all you do is compete against some person to get the highest score by moving your fingers to get that score! its a bunch of crap! all my brother does is play video games and i do watch him and play it little myself but it is not a sport!!!!!!!!

  66. N50 Rainbo says:

    MLG——- we fall into our own catagory. thanxx

  67. alex says:

    Does anybody like the idea of another mlg type league popping up in other places around the united states to basically make it so that more pro players can come to the surface from different parts of the u.s? it would give more players the chance to compete in the same mlg setting while competing for the same prize money. Instead of just 4 mlg events a year, there would also be another 4-6 league events in other places. I don’t know about you guys, but I would love to see new players, new competition, NEW GAMES, and maybe the possibility of creating its own category thats not under sports.

  68. Marksman says:

    Umm, uhh, I hate MLG. Too many rules, weapon restrictions…


    (P.S.- I do not condone, nor practice, the use of an Assault Rifle.)

    • Marksman says:

      Ooops, I forgot this was “Debate This”, and completely ignored any logical sense in my post. Disregard it.

      On another note, a lot of debates have been posted. I would like to point out that this is now…


      Sorry for the aforementioned lack of logical input.

  69. MaynZee says:

    I’ve read a lot of people claiming that MLG can’t be a sport because of

    1) Luck

    – Football is one of the highest regarded “sports.” Take a step back and think. Luck is in everything, Doug Flutie’s hail mary for Boston College vs. Miami in the orange bowl. Was that not Luck?

    2) Physical Requirements

    – MLG has obviously very little physical requirements, being overweight slows down reaction times but the league is still playable by bigger men/women. You have muscle twitch memory with how you operate a controller but again not much qualification there.

    3) Weapons being removed

    – From my understanding MLG took weapons out of Halo 3 that were luck based and left ones for teams to control that have skill. I’m not the biggest halo player but even I can tell players spawning with a battle rifle and fighting takes a lot more controller skill then everyone spawning with a needler and going at it.

    Is it MLG a sport? In my opinion when skill base is bigger in the coming years it could be considered one however right now the community in it is still to small to have a large skill base where I can definitively say hey *insert pro name here* You are definitely better at this game than millions of people.

    Can it become a widely known sport eventually? In my opinion, yes.

  70. Zack says:

    MLG is a sport even though it doesn’t take physical activity. Many people who are actually good in MLG practice on their strategy and reflex. Football may cause the players to sweat and same with baseball but in golf, racing, and chess this doesn’t happen because the sport doesn’t strain physical ability just mental. This is the same with MLG.

  71. niko says:

    I think mlg isnt a sport yet why becuase they mlg doesnt fight to be a sport i think there comfortable as a e-sport when they are ready thell throw it out there so they can be taken seriously on television.

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