The eSports Phenomenon between Competition and Education. A Pedagogical Reflection on the Unstoppable Development of Virtual Sports

The recent development of eSports raised a number of ethical, philosophical, and pedagogical questions, building a new and lively interdisciplinary debate. Hence, this paper aims to offer a general overview of the topic, focusing firstly on the controversial definition of electronic sports and the possibility of their inclusion in the “traditional” Olympic sports panorama, and secondly to illustrate their educational potential. It will argue that while, on the one hand, eSports seem to facilitate cognitive development processes and to offer an inclusive socio-educational perspective, on the other hand they involve risks related to addiction and the complex management of virtuality and reality. Finally, it will investigate pedagogy’s task of critically reflecting on the educational value of eSports and of assessing the advantages and disadvantages of using these cross-media technologies within an educational environment.