Video games are increasingly replacing traditional games and have a direct impact on how internet users spend their free time. eSports, as a modern form of gaming, has become an inevitable part of the digital game culture. The term “eSports” is characterized by regional or international video gaming events in which professional and amateur players compete against each other.
In 2021, the global eSports market was valued at just over 1.08 billion U.S. dollars, an almost 50 percent increase from the previous year. Additionally, the eSports industry's global market revenue is predicted to grow to as much as 1.62 billion U.S. dollars in 2024.1 (Fig.1). During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, both streaming and gaming experienced big growth. According to a study, screen time increased by 70% after the COVID-19 outbreak.2
Fig. 1. eSports market revenue worldwide from 2019 to 2024 (in million U.S. dollars)
Research around eSports has shown that the market provides players with adaptable, motivating and engaging techniques that can be used to empower individuals and communities in ways that lead to not only conveying declarative sport knowledge, but also developing systems of thinking and competition skills, social interaction, creative thinking and pleasurable stimulation which results in emotional well-being.3 It is a common misconception that eSports is not physically exhausting or intense. However, a study among German eSports players showed that they are exposed to high level of stress. Up to 400 precise clicks on keyboard and mouse per minute are not uncommon. This uses different brain regions that are not accessed that much in any other sport. Furthermore, it was found that the cortisol level was similar to that of a racing driver. Also, a high pulse of 160-180 beats per minute was measured, which is almost on par with a marathon runner.4
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- Statista (2021) ‘eSports market revenue worldwide from 2019 to 2024’
- Zalani, R. (2021) ‘Screen Time Statistics 2021’
- Baltezarevic, R. and Baltezarevic, B. (2018) ‘The impact of video games on the identity of the players’
- Block, S. and Haack, F. (2021) ‘eSports: a new industry