Chinese film star and martial artist Jet Li has argued that eSports are very much a ‘sport’ in the proper sense of the word.
“If poker card games and chess both have the players sitting down and are considered sports, why not virtual gaming as well?” Li said in a foreign language interview translated by MMO Culture.
“There are two kinds of sports – one physical and one mental. There is no good reason to debunk virtual gaming as a sport, and I believe the participants of such virtual PvP events have the same mentality as physical athletes.”
The famed wushu champion also discussed how he first became interested in gaming.
“When I was 20 years old, while filming my second movie, there was a cameraman with his own computer and I got in touch with this game, where I hit things in the sky,” he said. “That was back then when I was young, I played whenever I wasn’t filming.”
He also has wider aspirations for the Chinese games industry itself.
“Back in 2000, I read about Korean games coming into China and were very popular,” he said. “I wanted to understand more, and even thought of making a game to spread Chinese culture globally. But then, I did not have time to play the rather complicated games.
“In five to ten years time, I hope to see China games being the market leader in the industry. For now, the biggest and globally recognized genre China studios are developing is wuxia.”