SESF's first statement on the FOS research about esports
We are very pleased to see that the topic of esports was analysed by the Federal Office of Sports. We understand and respect their findings but do believe it would have been essential to associate local esports experts to the study. At the SESF, we approach esports in a way that is inclusive for both our community and the rest of society. Therefore, we think that any research on the topic, especially conducted by a state-based institution, should also be inclusive of points of view internal to the esport community.
Even though esports are ontologically virtual, they also are an international, limitless, social experience that unites all kind of people around a common interest, without any physical boundaries or prejudice, thanks to the properties of online video games.
From a management point of view, the job types and opportunities sport and esports offer are very much alike. This point should be emphasized because it shows esports are not only about playing for the sake of it but also about creating a professional perspective for the future.
The Swiss esports ecosystem is evolving very quickly. In the span of 5 years, it has become a structured discipline that is part of the sportive and cultural spheres, especially in the eyes of the younger generations. As we can see in our neighbouring countries and overseas, esport is becoming a sustainable job market. At the SESF, we do everything in our power to push its development because we know it can have a positive sociocultural and economic impact on our country.
Furthermore, even though we do not believe violence should be a criteria for the definition of esport as a sport, we would like to underline the fact that the relation between esports and violence deserves an in-depth treatment, which should cover complex matters such as the psychological effects of disembodied violence. Multiple academic studies were conducted on the topic in recent years and their results should be taken into consideration when discussing the matter. Hence, we plan on releasing an article later this year to provide a more detailed approach of the question.
To conclude, our opinion is that the hybrid nature of esport (between sports and culture) is a unique feature that should be exploited to create job opportunities, and added value, even though its development might lead us outside of our comfort zone. At the SESF, we strongly believe that the way to find out proper solutions is to join forces with other Swiss institutions and focus on a common aim: unravelling the complexities of esports by considering their fundamental differences/similarities with more traditional sports and entertainment forms, but also by contextualizing esport as an independent socio-cultural movement.