Professional Video Gaming

March 3, 2023 • Volume 33, Issue 8
Should esports be regulated like other athletics?
By Glen Justice


Professional competitive video gaming, or esports, is booming. More than 530 million global viewers watched players compete in different video games in 2022, and that number is expected to grow. Yet the industry, now in existence for about 25 years, is still experiencing major obstacles. Some analysts say many questions must be answered for esports to become mainstream like other professional sports. Topping the list is whether teams can find a sustainable revenue model, as most are operating at a loss or just starting to break even. While the companies that create the video games are profitable, professional teams rely heavily on corporate sponsorship, which can be unstable. There is also no independent regulatory authority, leading to problems that range from exploitative labor practices and lack of gender diversity to players using performance-enhancing drugs. The result is a volatile environment many say is in need of reform.

Photo of World Esports Championship gamers in Bali, Indonesia, on December 3, 2022. (Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Johannes P. Christo)
Gamers compete during the 2022 World Esports Championship in Bali, Indonesia, last December. Professional competitive video gaming has soared in recent years, despite questions about industry regulation and revenue. (Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Johannes P. Christo)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Professional Sports
Mar. 03, 2023  Professional Video Gaming
Jan. 04, 2019  Esports Boom
Sep. 04, 2015  NFL Controversies
Jan. 29, 2010  Professional Football Updated
Apr. 03, 2009  Extreme Sports
Jul. 23, 2004  Sports and Drugs Updated
Sep. 25, 1998  The Future of Baseball
Feb. 10, 1995  The Business of Sports
Apr. 22, 1994  Soccer in America
Jul. 26, 1991  Athletes and Drugs
Feb. 09, 1990  Free Agency: Pro Sports' Big Challenge
Apr. 08, 1988  High Stakes of Sports Economics
Jan. 27, 1984  Advances in Athletic Training
May 21, 1982  Soccer in America
Jun. 28, 1974  Sports Business
Sep. 01, 1971  Professional Athletes
Jun. 12, 1963  Deaths and Injuries in Sports
Jul. 27, 1951  Monopoly Controls in Organized Sport
Computers and the Internet
General Employment and Labor
General International Relations
General Social Trends
Internet and Social Media
Labor Standards and Practices
Popular Culture
Regulation and Deregulation
Sports and Recreation
Telecommunications and Wireless Technologies
Women in the Workplace
Workplace Safety and Worker's Compensation