Is online chess a video game? Analyzed and Explained!

Throughout the years there has been an advancement in technology especially with the introduction of the modern internet. This has a significant effect on chess that is used to only be played over the board.

Now there is a shift to players engaging in online chess platforms more than an actual chessboard, this raises a question. Is online chess a video game? Because it seems like it.

As a chess player here is what I think:

Online chess can also be considered a videogame since it is played on an electronic screen unlike chess that is played over the board. It can also not be considered a video game however since the definition has become vague over the years.

A lot of people feel that their online chess experience resembles that of an actual video game, they say that chess isn’t what it used to be. I think they have a point there.

That is why I will be providing all the details using this article, to make you realize that it doesn’t just resemble a video game. In fact online chess is a video game by crude definition, it is apparent actually.

With all of that in mind, let’s get started. 

Online chess fits the common definition of a video game

A video game is a computer game that is played on an electronic device while requiring input from the user. Online chess definitely fits this definition and should also be considered as a video game.

There have been many definitions of a video game which may be different from another, there is one however that is the most popular. 

The most popular of course is that it is a game that can be played on an electronic device, no matter what electronic device in question. It is quite basic, a video game is a game that is in video format.

This means that the images can move and it can accommodate instructions from the user, online chess fits the most basic definition of a video game.

It can either be played on a mobile device or desktop, and the actual game of course requires movement and interaction from the user in order to understand what is going on.

By this definition chess is a video game, however not all individuals accept this definition of a video game. Some argue that this definition is too simple, it doesn’t catch the true meaning of a video game.

By this definition then all mobile games can already be considered a video game, but some think that video games deserve a separate category. 

However this is really the most straightforward definition of a video game, probably the correct one as well. If this is the case then chess definitely makes the cut.

Online chess is a video game because it is played on an electronic screen

Technically speaking, chess that is played online will qualify as a video game since it is played on an electronic screen. Whether it will be on desktop or mobile, there will still be an electronic screen.

Following up on the most basic definition, there needs to be an electronic screen in some form in order for a game to be considered a video game. Chess of course qualifies for this.

The most basic prerequisite of a video (game) is an electronic screen after all, if it is a game that is played on an electronic screen then it can be a video game. 

When you play chess online it can either be on a desktop or a mobile which obviously qualify as having an electronic screen, this makes online chess a video game at least on this definition.

Some will argue that “every video game is played on an electronic screen but not every game that is played on an electronic screen is a video game”, however I think that this is false.

This is probably brought about by people who have been interested in video games for so long, the definition is not that complicated in the beginning. 

Most people will agree that if it is on an electronic screen then it is a video game, therefore chess should also qualify as a video game.

Online chess is a video game, over-the-board is only a board game

Chess used to be not a video game at all when it was only played over the board. The definition however has changed over time since it can also now be played using the power of the internet.

If we are talking about chess that is played over the board, it won’t obviously be considered a video game since there is no electronic screen involved. However online chess fits that element.

If one would argue that chess is not a video game since it can also be played over the board then yeah, that is true. 

However, online chess is a completely different medium of play that deserves a different assessment. Online chess is a video game in its most crude definition.

Online chess contains a lot of elements used in video games

There are many elements of chess that can also be observed in some of the most popular video games.

It is competitive, there is a ranking system, there are different modes (time control), and you can even play against bots.

It is not like it is just a singular game with monotone features, there are many variants that you can go for. You can also choose different boards and pieces that will be displayed on the screen.

These elements are really not necessary in order to be qualified as a video game (some video games are actually bland) but it’s just interesting that the elements are similar to many famous video games.

Online chess is not flappy bird (mobile game) or something, it is actually complicated and there are many features that you can go for. 

I think this just strengthens the case that chess is a video game, it has a diversity that its community can enjoy just as with other famous video games.

Online chess can be both a board game and a video game

Some will argue that chess is still a board game even if it is played online. This is obviously a flawed argument since a game can have multiple genres and online chess is still played on a screen which qualifies it as a video game.

It is not like a game can only have one genre over the other, the fact that chess can still be played over the board does not disqualify the idea that online chess is a video game.

The categorization is not white and black, since the mediums are so different it deserves a completely different categorization. 

Over the board chess might be a board game but it doesn’t necessarily affect the meaning of online chess. Online chess can still be a video game even if its counterpart (over the board) is not.

I don’t think that this would influence the definition since again, they are completely different. The fact that it can still be a board game does not eliminate the idea that it can also be a video game when played online.

Online chess may not be a video game depending on the definition

This is what annoys me with this topic, there are many who claim that the regular definition of a video game is not what it used to be. But what is the definition then?

After scrolling through a lot of forums it seems that no one can give a clear answer, they all give different qualities that are not intrinsic to each other. 

The debate even gets so complicated that some games which are clearly supposed to be video games are suddenly not qualified to be called with the label anymore, in other words, the definition has become vague.

What this tells us is that online chess can be considered a video game depending on the definition that is being used. And since the advanced definition is vague in the first place we just need to use the original definition.

If you define video games as games that are supposed to be only played on a machine or a screen, online chess will not fit that definition. However, such a definition is not official in the first place.

Chess after all can still be played over the board (not necessarily a digital screen) if we are only looking at the advanced definition then it would not be a video game. 

However, using the most basic definition is probably appropriate in this case (played on an electronic screen) since the advanced one is so convoluted. 

If this is the definition that we are going to use then online chess is definitely a video game since it is played on a digital screen and has met the other requirements.

Final thoughts

Personally I don’t really care if online chess should be qualified as a video game or not since it doesn’t really affect the game experience, however, I also believe that this is an interesting question in general.

Some individuals who have just started playing chess online are greeted with many features that resemble a video game, it is not a surprise that some people wonder about this.

I could definitely say that online chess is a video game in its most crude definition but for some reason others make it so complicated, I don’t think that it is.

Even mobile games should also be considered a video game since it is also played on a digital screen, but that is just my opinion. Hope you have enjoyed reading the article, sleep well and play chess.

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