Minecraft has been one of the most popular video games for over a decade, and its popularity continues to grow, especially among younger gamers. With the advent of the eSports movement, many video games are considered eSports, but is Minecraft an eSport?
In case you aren’t in the know, Minecraft is a video game that was launched in 2009 by Mojang. In Minecraft, players create and break apart various kinds of blocks in three-dimensional worlds.
In essence, Minecraft gives kids the ability to build their worlds, complete with houses, pets, resources, and even enemies who might creep up on them at night and attack.
Minecraft has become the best-selling game of all time, with over 180 million copies sold to date. But does any of this make Minecraft an eSport?
Do you or your young gamer love playing Minecraft? Are you wondering whether the game is considered an eSport or whether it will evolve into a competitive eSport any time soon? Here are our thoughts on this topic.
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What Makes a Video Game an eSport?
First, what is an eSport? Simply put, eSports, short for electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games.
eSports often take the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams.
eSports can encompass different styles and types of gameplay, like those described below.
What Is PvP or Player vs Player Gaming?
PvP, short for player versus player, is a type of computer game in which in-game combat occurs between human players only.
PvP is often compared to PvE, or player versus environment, in which a human player goes up against a computer-controlled opponent. More on this later.
Essentially, PvP means gamers are competing directly against other players as individuals 1v1 (one player versus one player) or a team: 2v2, 3v3, and so forth.
The easiest way to identify a PvP game is to determine whether the enemies are being controlled by the computer or other humans. If the enemies are controlled by humans, it is a PvP game.
Some current examples of PvPs include:
- Rocket League is a high-powered hybrid of multiplayer arcade-style soccer and vehicular mayhem. It typically involves two teams battling against each other in a range of rounds that involve car-based basketball, football, and hockey to score the most goals.
- League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game in which the player controls a character (champion) with a set of unique abilities from an isometric point of view. It blends the speed and intensity of a real-time strategy (RTS) with role-playing game (RPG) elements.
- Fortnite is what’s known as an open-world survival game, in which players collect resources, make tools and weapons, and try to stay alive as long as possible. Also known as a “battle royale” style game, players drop onto an island and compete to be the last player or team standing.
- Super Smash Bros is a crossover fighting game series published by Nintendo. The gameplay objective differs from that of traditional fighters in that the aim is to increase damage counters and knock opponents off the stage instead of depleting life bars.
- Valorant is a free-to-play first-person hero shooter set in a near future. Players play as one of a set of Agents, characters with unique abilities based on several countries and cultures around the world. In the main game mode, players are assigned to either the attacking or defending team with each team having five players on it.
- CS:GO, or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, is a tactical shooter that emphasizes teamwork, strategy, and gunplay. It Is a team-based game where teams of five players go head to head with the goal of eliminating players from the other team and planting a bomb at the objective point.
Note that even “Battle Royale” style games like Fortnite are considered PvP games.
What Is PvE or Player vs Environment Gaming?
PvE, short for player versus environment, is a type of game in which in-game combat occurs between human players and the game’s environment.
Essentially, PvE means gamers are competing directly against the game and the characters in the game and not against other human players.
PvE may take the form of surviving the elements, gathering food and water, and/or fighting NPC, or non-player character, enemies
PvE is sometimes referred to as PvC, player vs computer, or “campaign mode” gaming. PvE games often also have a multi-player mode.
The easiest way to identify a PvE game is to determine whether the enemies are being controlled by the computer or other humans. If the enemies are controlled by the computer or gaming console, it is a PvE game.
Some current examples of PvEs include:
- Destiny 2 is a free-to-play online-only multiplayer first-person shooter video game. Set in a “mythic science fiction” world, in addition to normal story missions, its PvE features three-player “strikes” and dungeons and six-player raids.
- ARK: Survival Evolved is an action-adventure survival game set in an open-world environment with a dynamic day-night cycle and played either from a third-person or first-person perspective. To survive, players must establish a base and gather resources.
- Risk of Rain 2 is a multiplayer third-person shooter rogue-like video game. It is set in an alien world where the player takes control of a character who has to fight their way through hordes of enemies to eventually find a way home.
- Path of Exile is an online Action RPG set in a dark fantasy world. It can be played solo or co-op with other players. It is designed around a strong online item economy and deep character customization.
- Dying Light is a survival horror video game played from a first-person perspective set in an open-world environment. Players roam an urban environment devastated by a mysterious epidemic, scavenging for supplies and crafting weapons to help them defeat hordes of mindless, flesh-hungry enemies.
What Is SPG or Single-Player Gaming?
SPG, or single-player gaming, defines those games that are built for the player to simply play through the game without any human-to-human interaction and often no external interference from the computer.
Some current examples of SPGs include:
- The Last of Us series is a third-person action-adventure game in which players control Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting a teenage girl, Ellie, across a post-apocalyptic United States, using weapons to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic, mutated creatures.
- Red Dead Redemption is the second installment in the Red Dead series of Western-themed action-adventure games. It follows John Marston, a former outlaw, whose family is kidnapped by the Bureau of Investigation. In exchange for his family’s return, John sets out to hunt down the surviving members of his former gang.
- Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, action-adventure role-playing video game set in a dystopian metropolis that is forced to rely on large corporations to survive. These corporations deal in a wide range of areas, such as weapons, robotics, and cybernetics.
- The Legend of Zelda dates back to 1986 and is a high fantasy action-adventure video game franchise that centers on the various incarnations of Link and Princess Zelda who fight to save the magical land of Hyrule from Ganon, an evil warlord turned demon king.
- God of War is an action-adventure game franchise based on ancient mythology, It follows the titular protagonist, Kratos, a Spartan warrior and later the God of War, who was tricked into killing his family by his former master, the original Greek god of war Ares. This sets off a series of events that leads to wars with the mythological pantheons.
Is Minecraft a PvP, PvE, or SPG Game?
Determining what style of game Minecraft is can be a bit confusing. At its core, Minecraft is an SPG game, pitting the player against a computer-controlled environment where they are attacked by computer-generated foes.
Yet there are also PvE servers that allow the player to join in multi-player mode to collaborate with other players.
There are also situations where Minecraft players set up PvP servers where they can battle or duel, but it isn’t a main part of the gaming environment.
So, Is Minecraft an eSport?
While the question of Minecraft being an eSport is being debated, the answer to this is currently No.
The reason behind this is the answer the question of whether Minecraft is a PvE or a PvP.
eSports are primarily PvP games so they can be highly competitive individual or team sports. Because Minecraft in its current form isn’t competitive in this nature, it is not considered to be an eSport.
However, individual Minecraft tournaments are opening up where competitors compete in the environment, so there is obviously a desire for competition within the Minecraft universe.
Could Minecraft Become a Mainstream eSport in the Future?
Will Minecraft become an eSport? As noted above, the situation with Minecraft being an eSport is changing.
With this comes the possibility that it could become a full-fledged eSport if the game designers were to develop a more competitive mode that incorporated individual or team-based competitions.
One of the great things about the Minecraft world is that its growth opportunities are nearly endless, so it could incorporate competitive elements in the future.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this conversation and found it useful as a parent of a Minecraft gamer (or as a Minecraft gamer yourself). If you have additional thoughts or ideas explaining Minecraft and whether it is an eSport, we’d love to see them in the comments below.