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The growing popularity of esports is turning into a multi-billion dollar industry

The popularity of e-sport tournaments is growing rapidly around the world. According to the Newzoo agency, the audience of such competitions already exceeds 450 million people, the market volume is estimated at a billion dollars with an increase of about 15% per year.

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Along with the growth of the gaming industry, the shortage of personnel in this area is increasing. By the end of 2022, some universities are expected to introduce courses in data analysis and computer game development. In parallel with this, programs are being created to train schoolchildren and students in cybersport.

How does esports affect the cognitive activity and health of a child?

Studies show that gamers outperform non-gamers in reaction speed, visual accuracy, auditory perception, attention span, spatial reasoning, impulse control, short-term memory capacity, hand-eye coordination, cognitive flexibility, switchability. What’s more, when we bring non-gaming people into the lab and train them, we see an improvement in mental performance. Video games with a high pace and bright visual stimulation have the maximum educational effect – MOBA, real-time strategy and other genres. Esports competitions are held precisely for such games. Therefore, we assume that esports is useful for a person. There are even studies demonstrating that people learn better immediately after a gaming session. That is, video games contribute to a surge of mental strength.

What is needed to achieve high results in eSports?

In esports, as in any sport, those who win the “genetic lottery” win. These are people born with a certain type of nervous system, with outstanding psychomotor and mental abilities. Talented players quickly achieve high rankings in their chosen competitive game and are usually successful in all games they take on. Of course, the brain can be trained, and much depends on diligence.

Recently, my colleagues and I conducted a major test of the mental abilities of e-sports players, and compared their results with the results of football and basketball players from the national leagues. It turned out that even semi-professional gamers are in no way inferior to professional athletes, and surpass them in terms of visual search speed. This result confirms that esports selects people with top talents.

Of course, in order to defeat equally gifted players, you need to be in good physical and mental condition: get enough sleep, eat right. An esportsman must constantly work on developing his skills and updating his knowledge. Video games differ from traditional sports in that they change quickly: literally every couple of months, the rules can be updated, new cards and characters appear.

Falling behind equals losing. At the same time, developing skills in e-sports is a difficult task, because there are no proven methodological recommendations. To grow professionally, an athlete must play meaningfully, be able to analyse his actions, and set in-game tasks. Mindlessly walking from match to match for 15 hours a day is an inefficient approach. You need to adhere to the regime, be able to relax and have a clear understanding of what skills are being worked out.

The most difficult thing for an esportsman is to be able to manage his emotional state. The stakes in tournaments are very high and players are under a lot of stress. But adolescents just have insufficiently developed cognitive control, self-regulation. In addition, in team games, an e-sportsman needs to be able to voice his expectations, goals, emotions, and claims in order to conduct a constructive dialogue with his comrades.