The lights are on
Pro gamers are athletes, at least in the eyes of the U.S. government. In a recent interview, Riot Games' Nick Allen revealed that foreign League of Legends players are now eligible for the same travel visas that are available to professional athletes.
The news came in an interview with Gamespot UK. Allen said, "So the United States government recognizes League of Legends pro players as professional athletes and award visas to essentially work in the United States under that title. This is groundbreaking for eSports; 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."
We assume he means the P-1 visa which is given to professional athletes and travelling entertainers.
[Source: Gamespot and Gamespot UK]
Our TakeThis is great news for Riot, League of Legends, and professional gamers of all stripes. The professional gaming scene is very international, and anything that makes it easier for the world's top talent to perform in the United States is a good thing. It's also another sign of the growing legitimacy of professional gaming.
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Part of me says, "Alright, I guess this is cool, it gives games more exposure as a medium". The other part, which I agree with slightly more, says, "Really? People make money just playing video games AND they're legally athletes?" Granted this is mainly just to make things easier for international players, but I don't think "athlete" is the right word here.
This might be stretching the term "athlete", but it's good news for pro players in other regions
Welcome to to the world of crippling regulations and exorbitant entertainment taxes at each of your lan parties now.
As much as I don't have a problem with competitive gaming becoming more recognized it's a bit far to call that sport. Just because it's comptetetive and called e-sports doesn't make it a sport. Example, if I play football in my backyard it's a sport. If I play football professionally it's a sport. If I play LoL in my house it's sitting in my chair playing a video game. A sport is not a sport depending on its setting.
If it didn't require effort, as some people say, then it would be really common to be a professional player.
They have my blessing. I'd rather watch a pro Street Fighter match than a pro NFL/curling/baseball/horse-riding thing/Formula 1 competition.
I don't agree with the athlete thing, but having that kind of privilege I can agree with though. No doubt pro gamers will travel all around to compete.
AHAHAHAHA Maybe when a LoL player can run 100 yards across a field or play any active sport for hours on end we will consider them athletes.