May 20, 2020 / Esports / by Carlos A. Bello Hernández partner of the Telecommunications, Media, and Technology area
Esports. The alternative to promote a positive organizational environment and comply with standard NOM-035-STPS-2018
First of all, what are esports?
The answer is simple, it refers to electronic sports. But are esports a sport or not? The issue in practice is not very relevant, the important thing is that esports already exist and they are not going anywhere. They will be part of the normal competitions we see every day and the leagues we watch on TV or on the web, simply because, among video games, there are several video games that allow direct confrontation between two or more players in equal conditions, where the most skilled player wins. They bring out competitiveness of people and allow them to enjoy victory when it comes.
Video games are not new, and neither are video game competitions. They have been around for many years, but they have evolved and become more popular. The creation of video games that we can download for free and the possibility of playing online with friends or several million people exist thanks to the development of better technologies. These factors make adrenaline and excitement available to almost anyone who has internet access and a smartphone. The existence of well-regulated official leagues and competitions is equally surprising, with prize pools reaching millions of dollars and with professional players who have such precise and accurate control of certain skills that they could perform the manual tasks of any neurosurgeon.
Esports audiences are not even negligible, it is estimated that, in 2020, they could reach 500 million viewers and generate revenues of just over one billion dollars (without counting the marketing revenue on the platforms), according to Newzoo. It is curious to see kids playing a game that perhaps we do not understand or to see young people getting excited if the player they admire achieves to eliminate, spell their opponent, destroy a turret, or smash a safe, either by shooting lightnings or throwing bunnies. There is no limit to which we can see, imagination leads.
We may believe that it is ridiculous, but let us compare this with something more “normal”. Many of us see 11 individuals —with whom we have no personal relationship— kicking a ball, they receive a really good salary for playing, and, besides, we get excited if they win. If those 11 idols win, we do not get paid, then why do we get excited? Something similar happens with esports, but the game is different and the “athlete”, who also earns money, makes people get excited if they wins. Besides, this new athlete or gamer does not have to be a 1.80 height and fit body Adonis, it does not matter if they can run so many miles, lift 200 kilos, or knows how to take a penalty. Esports are creating another kind of idols, with another kind of skills, and undoubtedly with another physical aspect, no better or worse, just different.
Regarding the foregoing, what do esports and NOM-035-STPS-2018 about psychosocial risk factors at work-identification, analysis, and prevention have to do with all this?
The STANDARD is pretty clear; it imposes an obligation on all companies to implement, among others, actions and programs to promote a positive organizational environment. In this way, actions are included to improve the social relationships in work, promoting mutual support in the solution of problems among workers, superiors, and/or subordinates. The STANDARD sets forth, as a support social example, to promote cultural and sportive activities.
This promotion is not restrictive, on the contrary; the STANDARD is flexible regarding the activities that a company chooses to improve social support. This is where we find a beautiful opportunity, a space for innovation, a gateway for esports to continue to grow and democratize.
Esports have, within this STANDARD, the perfect opportunity to help us:
- to comply with the work regulation;
- to generate a greater sense of teamwork among workers;
- to improve the integration of collaborators;
- to innovate;
- to be original;
- to have fun;
- to allow us to compete in a healthy way; and
- to take advantage of video games.
A corporate esports tournament may be deemed a cultural or sportive activity; it helps promoting mutual support among workers, and there is not the slightest doubt that with the untimely and definitive advent of home office, an esports tournament resolves the issue of the need for physical distance. The tournament can be conducted remotely and still keep people close since it requires teams to communicate and coordinate.
Depending on the game choice, the only tool needed for each worker is a smartphone and internet access. The rest of the tools to be used depends on the tournament organizer. They can range from tools for the games to be broadcasted on the different platforms for online games, to tools that allow you to see how the teams are moving forward and being disqualified until they reach the final. In any way, an esports tournament is an economical option that does not require an important investment and that, in addition to encouraging the integration of personnel, allows the company to accredit compliance with a STANDARD that has generated more than one headache for many.
Esports are here to stay and have proven to be more than just a video game. Sport or no sport, esports are an alternative for companies, an innovative option.
Esports comply with the STANDARD of psychosocial risk factors in the workplace.
Dare to try esports, I have already done it, and the experience was simply different…
Carlos A. Bello Hernández
Telecommunications, Media, and Technology Area Partner and Director