<strong>Gaming influences that are changing our perception of sports</strong>

Staff Staff

We are in the midst of a digital revolution in sports, one that is profoundly influencing our thoughts and opinions, changing the ways we view major events and competitions.

There’s a lot more to sports these days than kicking a football or whacking a cricket ball for six. Technology has brought new and innovative ways to analyse every action, giving professional athletes and teams valuable information, helping them to improve performance.

Likewise, we don’t have to be professional athletes to feel part of the sports we love, thanks to innovative and creative gaming options available, allowing us to experience the action as if we were the protagonists ourselves.

Fans are also becoming more involved and engaged like never before, sharing thoughts and opinions via social media platforms, along with insightful thoughts and even the provision of data. Sports are shaping our perception of sport, just as we are also shaping sport itself.

Games of chance driven by our sports fandom

Sporting themes are shaping our gaming choices at online casinos, particularly those involving the spinning reels of pokies, which is the name commonly used by Australians to describe video slots. Many are now themed around top sports and sporting events.

Indeed, given the fiercely proud nature of Australians when it comes to their sporting pursuits, one cannot be surprised to find them playing pokies based on cricket and rugby, while others are styled around soccer and even their own unique Aussie Rules footy variant.

When comparing the best online casinos accepting Australian players, expert reviewers always praise sites which offer varied and extensive game libraries, especially those featuring the latest and most in-demand games.

And right now in the fabled land of Oz, the phonetic nickname for this massive country, online casino game developers are busy feeding that demand, creating a whole new sub-genre of pokies to suit their sporting tastes.

Furthermore, poker has become far more than just a popular card game at casinos. Leading pro players and now achieving celebrity status, akin to those of sporting icons, leading to many now considering poker to be a sport in its own right.

And when you also have sporting celebrities like Brazilian soccer star Neymar playing poker, the two different pursuits merge to even greater effect. Indeed, many sports people are finding that away from their normal jobs, poker is another way to fuel their desires to compete.

Sports games which influenced real world teams

Perhaps one of the most influential elements derived from sports gaming, numbers and statistics were the only way of gauging the performance of our digital protagonists, when playing video games that simulate their real world counterparts.

Take the popular genre of soccer management simulations as a great example. Earlier games in the 80s and 90s were mostly based around text and numbers, which led players to base their team selections and choices on figures they would see.

When gaming evolved and titles like the Football Manager series rose to prominence, the accuracy of data became increasingly important for accurate simulation, so game developer Sports Interactive quickly assembled an international scouting network of volunteers.

Remarkably, so accurate was the scouting data being produced, some football clubs around the world began using information from the game, whenever preparing their own shortlists of promising talents worth monitoring.

Clubs from around the world have been cited as examples, ranging from the English Premier League to the Australian A-League and beyond, scouting players after discovering them in the Football Manager game.

Whether such an influence may be considered anecdotal or not, the fact remains that in modern sports, the analysis of data and statistics has become profoundly important. The kind of numbers we once used in video games, now shape decisions in leading sports.

The rapid rise of eSports and competitive gaming

Although some of us may still consider this idea troublesome to digest, playing video games professionally is now recognised as a sporting activity. Known as eSports amongst the growing legion of participants and fans, technology has brought an entirely new gaming concept.

Just as intriguing when looking at recent information, eSports are also predicted to rival traditional sports in 2023 and beyond, thanks to the rapidly growing mainstream acceptance towards video gaming in general.

Professional gamers from India and Australia have become overnight celebrities, thanks to winning international eSports tournaments, and the games themselves are not always focused entirely on traditional sports.

There are pro-level competitions for games like FIFA, while Aussie developer Big Ant Studios is hoping to achieve the same for their Cricket game franchise, the range of game genres featured in eSports tournament is really diverse.

First-person shooters like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike are featured, along with real-time strategy games including DOTA 2 and Starcraft, just to name a couple of varied genres. For the participants, hand-eye coordination is comparable to the athletic prowess of top sports icons.

And if the trends in popularity for eSports continue to rise at the current rate, within a decade or so, digital gaming superstars could become wealthier and more famous than traditional sporting stars.

Reaching for a virtual conclusion

There is clearly no doubting how influential gaming has become, contributing towards traditional sports, and even becoming genuine contenders in the popularity stakes. Nevertheless, there is plenty of room for both in years to come.

The key to the success of both sports and eSports is providing entertainment, filling our imaginations and fuelling our excitement, whether simply viewing events or via direct participation ourselves.

We are heading into an exciting new digital world in which anything is possible, so let’s just embrace all the possibilities and enjoy the ride.

Gaming influences that are changing our perception of sports
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