U.S. government officially recognizes gamers as athletes
The seemingly endless debate over the cultural import of video games just had a pretty decisive voice weigh in. After much lobbying by Riot Games, creator of the League of Legends game, the U.S. government has started issuing international pro gamers athlete visas to travel and work in the US. They’re issued the same visas as pro athletes who come to play in the NBA or MLB.
It wasn’t an easy win. “We had a lot of people fighting for this,” Nick Allen, the eSports manager for Riot Games told GameSpot Friday. “It was a lengthy process.”
“This is groundbreaking for eSports,” Allen continued. “Now we can start looking at international players when they come over. It’s a much easier process because they’re actually recognized by the government. This is a huge thing.”
And why not? With the exception of physical exertion gaming has everything traditional pro sports have: Namely stadiums of spectators, and money. Plus, curling requires no more physical exertion that sweeping the ice with a broom and that’s in the freaking Olympics.
So there you have it, gamers: Next time your roommate complains that you’re working a you-shaped dent into the couch and that you haven’t seen the light of day in a week, you can tell them you’re not on an epic bender—you’re an athlete. In training, man.
Next stop: Rio 2016?