A Jiji Press survey showed Sunday that 42.8 percent of people think esports competitive video games will become popular as sports in Japan, up 7.4 percentage points from the previous survey carried out in April last year.
Still, more than 40 percent opposed approving esports as an extracurricular activity after school.
Overseas, esports have gained in popularity and will be an official event in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, in eastern China. In Japan, an esports event will be held for the first time as part of a cultural project in the National Sports Festival in Ibaraki Prefecture in October.
According to the survey, people who think esports will spread widely totaled 58.1 percent among those aged 18 to 29, up 7.3 points, and 60.8 percent among those in their 30s, up 13.2 points. More than 40 percent of people in their 40s and 60s said they think so.
By contrast, 27.7 percent think esports will not become popular, down 3 points.
On reasons, with multiple answers allowed, 65.7 percent said they do not regard games in which people operate machines as sports. More than 30 percent each said that esports will not contribute to health or building up bodies and that esports are not good for education. Some expressed concern that promoting them was like recommending computer games.
On the idea of approving esports as an extracurricular activity for students after they finish the school day, the largest share, or 42.6 percent, said they should not be approved as such.
About 35 percent supported approving esports as an extracurricular activity, with 18.9 percent backing them as an activity at high school, 8.3 percent at junior high school and 8.5 percent at elementary school. In addition, 21.0 percent said they do not know.
The interview-based survey was conducted on 2,000 people aged 18 or older. Valid responses were received from 62.1 percent of them.