How e-sports exergaming Tennis is played between wheelchair users against non-disabled players. Females can also compete equally against male players in this new form of e-sports exergaming.
By Dr. Maziah Mat Rosly

FOR CENTURIES, sports have been divided by minute nomenclatures perpetuated by gender, age, and physical ability lines. Historically, traditional sports faced many challenges in its attempt to provide equal opportunities and representation for all of humanity.

However, in recent years, a new frontier emerged that has the potential to revolutionize sports and promote greater equality – that genre is now famously known as e-sports exergaming. This innovative fusion of electronic gaming with physical sports draws from mimicking traditional forms of sports counterpart into a video game environment, represented by avatars.

The existence of exergames, can help bridge the gap between the virtual and physical worlds of sports and encourage a healthier lifestyle for all.

Many e-sports exergaming setups require players to physically move their bodies, whether through dancing, boxing, or other physical activities, in order to play the video game. This engagement in physical exercise is a powerful tool for improving equality in sports, as it encourages people of all physical abilities to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercise. E-sports exergaming provides a unique form of gaming experience that can provide modifications to improve sports equality and promote inclusivity in ways that were previously unimaginable.

Take Tennis for example, the movements involved in such a common sport can now be mimicked within a video game that utilizes similar gameplay mechanics, projected by central players called avatars in the Sports Champion 2 release.

One of the fundamental ways e-sports exergaming enhances equality in sports is by providing equal access to competitive play. Unlike traditional forms of sports that require specific players, facilities, equipment, or geographical proximity to participate, exergaming can be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s own home.

Individuals from diverse backgrounds and abilities can participate in competitive gaming on an equal footing. No longer are players bound to be segregated by their predetermined sex, physical disability or attributes. E-sports exergaming no longer discriminates players based on differences in physical strength, size, gender or disabilities, since it allows players to compete on an equal basis through the use of gameplay modes.

Such significant physical disparities seen in traditional sports are now overlapped by techniques, skill and strategy that levels the playing field within the video game.

Additionally, geographic barriers have long been a challenge in traditional sports, limiting access to quality training facilities and competition opportunities for individuals in remote or underserved areas.

With the introduction of e-sports exergaming, transportation and geographical barriers are no longer a huge obstacle since it allows individuals from anywhere in the world to compete against each other in real-time. This global accessibility fosters a sense of community worldwide, whilst providing opportunities for talented individuals who might otherwise remain undiscovered.

E-sports exergaming has opened doors for individuals who might feel marginalized or excluded from traditional sports. In traditional sports, individuals who do not fit the conventional physical mold have struggled to find acceptance within the community. This is especially seen in individuals with physical disadvantages such as being petite, short or with a form of physical disability.

Women, in particular, have also often faced barriers to participating in traditional sports, exacerbated by unequal representation, reduced opportunities and social stigma in certain cultures. In addition, athletes are habitually trapped in their prime age bracket, and are often forced to retire at a certain age due to physical decline. In e-sports exergaming, individuals of all sexes, ages and physical abilities have a better advantage, since it provides a more inclusive sports culture that emphasizes on skill and strategy, whilst shattering stereotypes.

With e-sports exergaming, gamers from all backgrounds now have the same opportunities to excel as their stereotypical counterparts. This has led to the rise of prominent e-sports players who have shattered stereotypes and inspired others to also pursue competitive exergaming.

Finally, e-sports exergaming have also created an entire ecosystem for career opportunities. Unlike traditional sports, where career options are mostly limited to selected athletes and coaches, e-sports exergaming has the potential to reshape the sports landscape for the better.

Income disparities between sexes are no longer an issue, since e-sports exergames can be played universally without gender segregation. Event organizers are also expected to mushroom exponentially, since the facilities required to host an exergame would be smaller in size, can be conducted indoors where it is protected by bad weather conditions, and the equipment needed are highly portable to carry around.

Game developers are also expected to rise in numbers as the demand for more and more diverse forms of e-sports exergames continue to reach the open market.

Therefore, as we move forward, it is essential to recognize the positive impact e-sports exergaming can provide, by championing its potential to improve equality in sports, finally making sports accessible and enjoyable for all.


Maziah

*The author is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya, and may be reached at [email protected]

(This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of BebasNews.)

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