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Malaysia 5year eSports Plan

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Malaysia’s Government Lays Out Five-Year Strategic Plan for Esports Development

  • The Ministry of Youth and Sports in Malaysia has outlined a five-year domestic plan to grow esports within the Southeast Asian country.
  • Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance has budgeted a further RM 20M ($4.8M USD) for esports in 2020.
  • The government outlined five strategic priorities for esports, including athlete welfare, competitive integrity, a national esports venue, and a certification program. 

Malaysia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports has released a 144-page comprehensive strategy to legislate and create a sustainable esports ecosystem. The five-year plan presents 25 key initiatives within five prioritized strategies “aimed to maintain the continuance of esports excellence in Malaysia.”

In 2019, Malaysia’s government announced it would allocate RM 10M ($2.4M) to start the development of esports domestically. Initial details on how this funding would be allocated were scarce, and in an article from Malaymail, the country’s minister for youth and sport Sayed Saddiq said the ministry only received the budget in October—too late to help fund Malaysia’s Overwatch World Cup team’s journey to Blizzcon. The budget allocation for 2020 will double to $4.8M for 2020.

Currently, there are no dedicated laws to govern esports in Malaysia; instead, competitive gaming is still grouped under the government’s Sports Development Act of 1997. The report directly references South Korea’s Act of Promotion of Esports, which paved the way for government subsidies, university programs, and competition administration in what is still one of the largest esports markets worldwide, alongside China and the U.S.

Malaysia’s own strategic plan for esports outlines five priorities. Summarized, these include: 

  1. Standardizing esports athlete contracts, health programs, and career planning.
  2. Safeguarding competitive integrity and improving gender equality. 
  3. Building a national venue and academy for esports. 
  4. Encouraging further esports talent development, and investment.
  5. Introduce licenses for players, referees, and training centers.

The launch of the Esports Development Strategic Plan was officiated by YB Syed Saddiq Bin Syed Abdul Rahman, Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia, on Nov. 21, 2019. Elected in 2018, at age 27, Saddiq is the country’s youngest federal minister (since it gained independence in 1957) and is known for his interest in gaming.

According to its Internet Users Survey 2018, Malaysia, a country with a population of over 31M, has seen the estimated number of internet users grow from 20.1M in 2014 to 28.7M, roughly a 42% increase.

Esports Gamers Experience Same AS Pro Athletes

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Esports gamers experience same stressors as pro athletes, study finds

Researchers interviewed seven elite players of Counter-Strike Global Offensive.

Professional athletes at the highest level regularly contend not only with fierce competition from opposing teams or individual athletes but also intense psychological pressures, ranging from performance anxiety, fear of failure, and tensions resulting from miscommunication, particularly in team sports. Professional gamers competing in major esports competitions experience the same kinds of stressors, according to a new psychology study published in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations.

Sports psychology has long been an active field, but applying it to esports is a relatively new area of research, one that the University of Chichester in the UK is embracing with its newly launched BA (Hons) esports degree. The program focuses on the scientific study of the physical and psychological impact of esports, including nutrition, coaching, and strategy in an immersive gaming environment, according to co-author Philip Birch, who specializes in sports and exercise performance psychology.

This is the first study of its kind, per Birch. The objective was to gain a clearer understanding not just of the stresses esports players face but also the coping strategies they use to deal with those stressors. Birch and his colleagues decided to focus on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) because it is similar to physical team sports like football or rugby. It's a multiplayer first-person shooter game that pits two teams against each other: Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists. The Terrorists try to plant bombs or take hostages, for example, while the Counter-Terrorists strive to defuse those bombs and rescue any hostages, as both sides try to eliminate the other. Players who do well are rewarded after each round with in-game currency; those who screw up can incur penalties.

The winning team takes home the prize pool. Prize pools for CSGO competitions range from $75,000 to as much as $1 million. More than 380 million people watched esports competitions in 2018 alone, according to the authors, and it's becoming increasingly professionalized, including the formation of a trade union for players in 2015. As esports has grown into a nearly $1 billion enterprise, so has interest in exploring the psychological factors affecting game play.

In fact, in 2016, one CSGO elite team, Astralis, actually hired a sports psychologist to help its members cope with the psychological pressures of competing in such a high-stakes environment. Astralis went on to win the ELEAGUE Major in January 2017, and members credited the team psychologist with improving their ability to cope with the competitive pressures. The use of sports psychologists by esport teams is likely to become more common, and that means more research like that conducted at Chichester is needed to provide an evidence-based foundation.

"We thought [the study] was a good opportunity to see how esports players cope in front of live audiences and how they get along as a team," Birch told Ars. Many elite teams are more like families, often rooming together as well as training and competing in CSGO together. "Sometimes families get along really well, and sometimes they don't," he said. And unresolved tensions can potentially affect overall team performance.

Since this was the first study, laying the groundwork for future research, the researchers adopted more of a qualitative, rather than quantitative, approach. According to Birch, the qualitative nature of the study was better suited to an initial exploration of the various stress factors and coping mechanisms common to esports players. Future studies might opt for a more quantitative approach, although that would require many more participants.

The sample size is admittedly small, involving seven elite male players competing at the ESP Premiership CSGO Spring finals. The players had between two and six years' experience in competitive esports. Lead researcher Matt Smith attended an esports competition to better understand both the gameplay and the competitive environment, and he used that knowledge to develop the interview guide used in the study. Interviews were conducted by Skype within three weeks of the competition and were transcribed verbatim for later analysis.

Birch et al. concluded that esports players faced 51 different stress factors, most notably team communication problems and anxiety about competing in front of live audiences, akin to stage fright. Those are the same stressors typically experienced by professional sports athletes competing at the highest levels. Communication issues included players not listening, or not following instructions, or aggressively negative (often profane) verbal criticism from the in-game leader (IGL) during gameplay.

"His way of motivating players is to destroy them," one study participant said of an IGL in one of the milder examples. "He said to me, 'You are so stupid, and so dumb, and so incapable of doing anything that once you go into the real world you'll find it too difficult.'"

Other internal team issues included lack of confidence in one's teammates—especially in terms of maintaining emotional control under pressure—and being overly risk averse for fear of failing and letting down the team. Some players are more focused on besting their individual scores rather than increasing the team's performance as a whole, and tensions arose when some team members didn't take practice sessions seriously.

External stressors included trash talk from opposing teams, social media attacks, and the anxiety associated with playing a fast-paced, high-pressure game in front of a large live audience. "Like, you have whiffed, and you have no idea if the camera's on you, but in your head, they've just watched and it just makes you feel so much worse," one study participant admitted. Some participants reported feeling stressed over having to do media interviews—particularly players who speak English as a second language.

Birch et al. also identified several common coping strategies employed by esports athletes. These include techniques for managing emotional distress, like taking a break between maps, mentally blocking out the cameras, and trying to get into "the zone" so that one's sole focus is on the game. Other coping strategies were more oriented to solving problems, such as boosting a flagging teammate's confidence or having a group discussion after a competition to review what worked and what went wrong. Players may also practice so-called "avoidance coping," declining media interviews if they are press-shy, for instance, or staying off social media.

In addition to the study's small sample size, Birch et al. acknowledged another shortcoming: there were no female study participants. This was largely because the competition was heavily male dominated; the only women were on the hospitality and production teams. Female gamers are likely to face additional stressors; prior studies have shown that female gamers experience more sexual harassment, for example. The authors hope future research will remedy that omission.

The team would also like to look more closely at extra psychological stressors affecting in-game leaders. Additional studies might also explore how personality traits—like neuroticism, narcissism, and extraversion—can affect gamers' ability to cope in high-stress competitive environments. "We may be able to infer some predictions from their personality about how they're likely to respond to certain situations," said Birch. "And we'd love to get esports athletes to do some kind of training scenario where we try to improve their performance with things like breathing and relaxation techniques."

"As an industry, we've known for a long time that stressors on top-level players can negatively affect their performance," said ESL's chief operating officer, Rob Black, in a statement. “This study proves this and reinforces what we have been saying for years. Further developments are needed in this area, and that will be key in ensuring the number of professional players continues to grow worldwide.”

Explaining The Appeal And Growth Of eSports

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Explaining the appeal and continued growth of esports

Gravity Media Group sales manager Edward Dowdall, explains the growing appeal of esports

As we head fast towards the end of 2019, esports continues to expediently grow in momentum with more global events. Tier 1 sponsors and media attention is being drawn to what is ultimately simply a form of live entertainment.

Examples include the Washington Post launching a dedicated website for esports, and the hype and publicity around the Fortnite World Cup, held in the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Furthermore, esports will make its debut in the South-East Asia Games later this month and will be a fully-fledged part of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.

So, just why are Gen Z and Millennials choosing this form of content? It helps that it’s usually free-of-charge via Twitch, Mixer, YouTube or Facebook; it’s available 24/7; and it is social, enabling you to engage with others using interactivity tools.

Ultimately, it is a form of escapism, with highly attractive prize funds, including the $1.12m that 15 year-old Essex-based Jaden Ashman famously won for playing Fortnite.

Our most recent esports project, delivering broadcast services for the Summoners War World Arena Championship 2019 in October, was held in a 1,500-seater arena and received 1.25m live views and 2m views within 24 hours across 15 languages. This is particularly impressive when you consider this was a mobile esports event, where competitive gaming took place on handheld devices.

School and higher-education courses are now providing genuine career pathways as the eco-system builds out and professionalises, enabling anything from coaching to lifestyle consultants and talent representation opportunities to develop.

Closer National Association or even governmental co-operation, clearer player and team guidelines and governance standards, as well as regulatory oversight and implementation will also aid the growth of esports.

The eSports Ecosystem

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THE ESPORTS ECOSYSTEM: The key players and trends driving the red-hot, fast-growing esports space that's on track to surpass $1.5 billion by 2023

Esports and gaming have burst into the mainstream in recent years, transforming from a vibrant

niche to a central form of entertainment around the world. While esports may have once stood for a subset of sports culture, it has grown into a full industry in its own right.

That shift has been powered by championing from mainstream celebrities like Michael Jordan, Drake, and DJ Marshmello, an increasing amount of coverage from traditional outlets like ESPN, and, at least in part, the breakneck rise of Fortnite.

As competitive gaming cements itself in the popular culture, global investors, brands, media outlets, and consumers are all paying attention. Total esports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, per Business Insider Intelligence estimates. That puts the audience on pace to nearly double over a six-year period, as the 2017 audience stood at 335 million. 

The pop-culturization of esports has helped power the explosions in esports investment and revenue. Esports has hit this stratosphere in large part because of the social component of live streaming and gaming. Gaming-specific streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming give fans a direct connection to the players and teams, while more mainstream socials have allowed those connections to flourish. Certain esports organizations, like FaZe Clan, are also moving aggressively into areas like merchandise, lending their brands more notoriety than if they'd stuck to esports alone.

Rick Yang, partner at NEA — a venture capital firm that invests in esports — underscored this in a conversation with Business Insider Intelligence: "I actually think of esports as the mainstreaming of gaming, or the pop culture instantiation of gaming versus the pure idea of these players becoming professionals to compete at the highest levels." It's essential to think of the esports opportunity in this way — one inclusive of gaming, media, pop culture, and commerce — as it shines a light on opportunities beyond gaming events alone. 

As a result, the industry has seen a huge uptick in investment from venture capitalists, and more recently from private equity firms. The number of investments in esports doubled in 2018, going from 34 in 2017 to 68 in 2018, per Deloitte. That's reflected in the total dollars invested, too: Investments are up to $4.5 billion in 2018 from just $490 million the year before, a staggering YoY growth rate of 837%, per Deloitte. These investments are distributed to players across the ecosystem — from esports organizations, to tournament operators, to digital broadcasters — allowing it to function and grow. 

The net result is that esports has matured from its roots in arcade gaming to the complex digital ecosystem it is today, and in this report, Business Insider Intelligence will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the key players involved in the space. This report will provide a high-level overview of the industry to clarify how the many moving pieces of the esports ecosystem fit together. It will also break down how money flows into the ecosystem.

The ultimate goal of this report is to give readers a clear understanding of how the major players and components of esports function so that they can more readily take advantage of the many opportunities this dynamic ecosystem presents. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: Activision Blizzard, Alienware, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BAMTech, BMW USA, Bud Light, Caffeine, Champion, Chinese Mobile, Cloud9, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Deloitte, Disney, Douyu, DreamHack, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, ESL, ESPN, Facebook, FaZe Clan, FIFA, G-Fuel, GamesBeat, Gen.G, Google, HBO, Honda, Huya, HyperX, Instagram, J!nx, KeSPA, Liquipedia, Madrinas Coffee, Manchester City, Marvel, Microsoft, Mixer, MLB, MLG, Monster Energy, NBA, NEA, NetEase, Newzoo, NFL, NHL, Nielsen, Nissan, NZXT, Old Spice, OnePlus, PandaTV, Pizza Hut, PlayVS, Postmates, Puma, PwC, Red Bull, Renegades, Riot Games, SAP, SK Telecom, Steam, StreamElements, Sunshine Soldiers, TDK, Team Liquid, Tencent, TJ Sports, Treyarch, Twitch, Twitter, Uber Eats, Ubisoft, Valve, Vivendi Games, YouTube, 1 UP Studios.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Most projections put the esports ecosystem on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue for the first time this yearAnd revenue is expected to grow from here — Newzoo projects it to hit $1.8 billion by 2022. Money flows into esports through media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales, and in-game purchases, but most of the revenue (69%) comes from sponsorships and advertising, per Newzoo figures cited by Statista.

That growing revenue comes from around the world:

  • Asia-Pacific (APAC), North America, and Europe are the top three esports markets, respectively, in terms of audience and revenue. APAC will account for over half (57%) of global esports viewership in 2019, up from 51% in 2017, per Newzoo. Meanwhile, North America is set to hit $300 million in esports revenue this year, while Europe is expected to reach $138 million, per PwC estimates.

 

  • The rest of the world only accounts for about 15% of total esports revenue, but it contains several regions to watch. One of the fastest-rising regions is Latin America, which is expected to hit $18 million in esports revenue in 2019 before skyrocketing to $42 million by 2023, per PwC

 

  • The future of esports will likely be powered by mobile, which will further reduce barriers to entry and allow even more gamers and fans to pour in. The mobile gaming segment is set to make up 45% of the total global games market this year. That popularity is already spilling over into some competitive spaces, as China already has a thriving mobile esports scene.

In full the report:

Clarifies what the esports space is, who the major players within the ecosystem are, and what roles they play.

Highlights the key demographics within the space, their interests, and what spaces are ripe for brands or other interested investors.

Breaks down how revenue is generated and what the key areas of future growth are.

Interested in getting the full report? Here's how to get access:

Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >>  Purchase & Download Now

Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Enterprise Memberships

Current subscribers can read the report here.

 

 

Allied Esports Entertainment Reports

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Allied Esports Entertainment Reports Net Loss of $4.3M, 85 Events Held At HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas

  • Allied Esports Entertainment reported a net loss of $4.3M USD in its first quarterly earnings since being formed in August.
  • The company generated $6M in Q3 2019 total net revenues, up 10.2% year-over-year (YoY) from $5.5M.
  • During the third quarter, Allied Esports held 85 events at its flagship venue, the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas.

Today, esports entertainment company Allied Esports Entertainment announced its financial results for Q3 2019 for the period ended Sept. 30. Allied Esports Entertainment was formed on Aug. 9, 2019, as a result of the completion of a business combination among Black Ridge Acquisition, Allied Esports InternationalWPT Enterprises, and other affiliates.

The company’s total net revenues in the third quarter of 2019 increased 10.2% to $6.0M from $5.5M in Q3 2018, reflecting growth from all strategic pillars (in-person, multiplatform content, and interactive).

Allied Esports Entertainment’s in-person revenues increased by 17%, to approximately $2.6M for the third quarter of 2019. The increase in in-person revenues was driven by the Allied Esports business, particularly revenue generated from Allied Esports’ flagship venue, the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas, at which the company held 85 events during the quarter.

The other two strategic pillars generated a combined $3.4M in revenues primarily attributable to WPT business. In total, the company reported a net loss of $4.3M, compared to a net loss of $6.7M in Q3 2018.

“In our first quarter as a public esports company, Allied Esports delivered solid results driven by continued execution of our operating model along with early benefits from our strategic alliances with Simon and TV Azteca,” said Frank Ng, Allied Esports Entertainment CEO, commenting on the Q3 results. “I am also pleased with the progress we are making in our partnership with our strategic investors, Simon and TV Azteca, as evidenced by the launch of the Simon Cup esports tournament as well as the premiere of WPT television programming and social gaming in Mexico across various distribution channels via TV Azteca.”

Furthermore, the HyperX Esports Trucks in North America and in Europe activated with sponsors such as HyperXLenovoIntelWarsteiner, and Acer, and were deployed at eight events, including Gamescom and Wacken Open Air.

Fortress Esports, the newest member of the Allied Esports Property Network covering Australia and New Zealand, announced the planned opening of its first location in 2020 at Australia’s largest shopping mall, Emporium, in Melbourne, Australia.

Allied Esports and TV Azteca produced two esports events out of Mexico City: Glory Road, a Smash Ultimate event, and Kombat to Glory, a Mortal Kombat event. The events were live-streamed across TV Azteca’s social and digital platforms.

Esports Gamers Face Pressure

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Esports gamers face same level of psychological pressure as pro-athletes

ESPORTS players competing in top-flight tournaments face the equivalent pressure and stress as professional athletes, researchers have revealed.

A study at the University of Chichester examined the psychological challenges encountered by elite esports professionals when competing in major contests, in what is the first investigation of its kind.

Researchers found that esports players faced 51 different stress factors -- including communication problems and concerns with competing in front of live audiences -- mirroring the mental conditions experienced by pro athletes including footballers and rugby stars in high-profile tournaments.

Study co-author Dr. Phil Birch, a senior lecturer in sport and exercise psychology at the University of Chichester, said: "Esports has become a multimillion-pound business attracting audiences worldwide, but there is little research into the psychological factors that influence players.

"We have discovered that gamers are exposed to significant stress when competing in top-flight contests. By isolating these stressors, we can help esports players develop effective coping strategies to deal with such stressors and optimise performance while playing at the highest level."

Poor communication between teammates was identified as a key stressor among players when exposed to pressured environments. To manage the situation, said the research team, players either became overly aggressive to one-another or attempted to avoid communication altogether, which negatively impacted their performance.

The investigation, published in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, interviewed high-ranking players who compete in the increasingly-popular first-person shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Researchers also recommended that top esports players are given psychological training to learn practical coping techniques to help them more effectively prepare for the pressures of competing at elite levels.

Rob Black, the Chief Operating Officer at ESL, the world's leading esports company, said: "As an industry we've known for a long time that stressors on top level players can negatively affect their performance.

"This study proves this and reinforces what we have been saying for years. Further developments are needed in this area, and that will be key in ensuring the number of professional players continues to grow worldwide."

The study builds on the University of Chichester's academic expertise in esports and its newly-launched BA (Hons) esports degree, which examines the impact of gaming through scientific study.

Students on the three-year course learn in an immersive gaming environment at the University's new £35million Tech Park, which was recently opened by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and cover the physical and psychological impact of esports, including nutrition, coaching, and strategy.

Course leader Rams Singh, himself a former esports European champion, said: "esports is a developing area, but it is essential that it remains grounded in traditional academia to help us understand immersive gaming and its impact on mind and body.

"This study is important for the industry. We must understand how we can best support the health of our gamers and keep them performing at the top level -- just as any other professional athlete."

Audio Challenges in Esports

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White Paper: Audio Challenges in Esports

Live esports events bring different challenges from traditional sports or live events. Games were designed to be played in isolation. Therefore, sound plays a vital role in the player’s ability to sense what is going on around them – something that isn’t a requirement in a sports arena with thousands of excited spectators.

These factors combine to create a challenging environment for audio engineers in esports events. This paper will examine these challenges individually and offer some real-world solutions.

The Player’s Experience

The biggest element in the design of a live esports production is the player. These players are just as demanding as traditional athletes when it comes to having a suitable playing field.

A player’s audio experience has three main elements: the sound from the computer, the communications with teammates, and the noise from their surroundings.

Computer Audio

Every player needs to hear what is going on in the game. It is worthwhile distinguishing between different types of games, because each has its idiosyncrasies.

The two main categories are Top-Down and First-Person. This relates mainly to the point of view of the player in relation to the field of play. A Top-Down game will have the game’s camera above the field of play, looking down. A player is usually controlling multiple “characters” in this type of game, such as several players on a football team or a number of units in a strategy game.

A First-Person game is more related to playing a single character, usually through their “eyes.” These games are usually in the realm of shooter or racing games.

Top-Down games have a more static view of the field of play, and thus mono sound can be acceptable. However, First-Person games require the player to be aware of what is going on beside or behind them, and thus stereo is a requirement. In games with 100 players, this is a large number of audio sources.

This audio needs to be ultra-low latency. Even a few milliseconds of delay can be unacceptable to a player, especially in First-Person games.

Team Audio/Communications

Many games are also team-based, and practically every league-based game has some degree of cooperation between players. Alternatives for private games exist, but, in a competitive environment, this needs to be highly controlled.

The communications must also be as low-latency as possible while maintaining clarity. Judges and coaches are part of the communications loop, and, as with other sports, the broadcast-audio team would like to be able to broadcast the player’s comments directly to the audience. Considering that streaming can prove to be more lucrative than competition play, protection of the stream audience’s experience is critical.

Background Noise

Background noise is a relatively new issue for players. In a private environment, the surrounding noise can be controlled, but, in an arena setting, there are multiple sources of noise. The FOH PA will usually contain a mix of the game’s audio and a shoutcaster (commentator). The onsite audience also poses a significant noise source.

Solutions such as active noise canceling aren’t appropriate in arena environments. Active cancelation is usually centered on low frequencies but allows a degree of “speech band” audio through. Thus, heavy-duty headsets (such as those designed for motorsports) are sometimes used. These can have poor audio quality, and players sometimes resort to using earbuds beneath the heavier intercom headsets for the game audio. This is undesirable because it can be uncomfortable in long events and also bypasses the event audio team.

The Broadcast/Stream Requirements

A typical stream production will have all the elements noted above (game and comms audio) as well as a shoutcaster. Games are fast-paced, and, as a result, there is usually a team of two to three commentators per stream, providing insights and analysis of the action.

But, unlike with a traditional sports game, the shoutcaster is often also in the room, and their commentary is played out over the FOH PA.

Thus, the audio crew on a live esports event usually ends up resembling a hybrid of the crew for a live event (such as a rock concert) and a stadium sports broadcaster. There can be a massive number of sources, all of which need to be mixed simultaneously for both the onsite and the streaming audience.

The Live Audience’s Experience

As with any other stadium sport, the onsite audience needs to feel a part of the action. But, since each player has their own audio from the game, it is difficult to know which the audience needs to hear.

However, there are games, such as some First-Person Shooter (FPS) games, that may deploy a “spectator”: a ghost player that acts as an in-game camera operator. Also, there can be unexpected incidents (think about a crash at an F1 race). If the audio team notices this before the video team, should they switch to it?

The audience also wants to hear the discussion between the teammates and their coach. But playing these private conversations through the PA can lead to the opposition’s hearing the tactics before they are played out. The balance between an engaging audience experience and a truly competitive environment can be a delicate one.

The League’s Requirements

As with other sports, there are differences between the casual and the professional environments. Tampering with a ball means nothing in a neighborhood park but can lead to criminal prosecution in a professional environment. Games need to be carefully regulated to prevent unfair play.

Leagues need to ensure that the games are played according to the rules. Sponsors and competitors alike require that games are played fairly. However, there are many ways audio can influence the result of a match. If an opposition player overhears team communications or if the shoutcaster broadcasts a tactic over the PA, it can swing the course of a game.

The league is responsible for maintaining the “fog of war” that hides the teams’ movements from the opposition.

Similarly, umpires and judges need to monitor the sounds of the games and the team communications. Any hint of cheating needs to be investigated, and this can be detected mainly by monitoring the team’s communications.

Some Solutions

Most leagues employ several methods to ensure a level playing field. The first is to have a larger-than-normal audio team, embedded in the judging and production team. By strictly controlling the audio, the league can limit the chances of cheating. Audio that is considered “safe” can be passed to the live or the broadcast teams, and it also offers a chance to filter out language.

These will usually involve a combination of audio-over-IP to handle the massive number of channels and the routing required. Instead of needing the audio engineer to route the audio to a judge, the judges can use a control interface to select their own audio.

Most leagues will also use a matrix intercom for the player’s audio. Matrices include features like IFB, allowing the mixing of the audio and communications. With little training, judges, shoutcasters, and other operators can learn to select and listen to any number of audio sources from their intercom panels. The judging team can also restrict the audio sources to the correctly authorized users.

Additionally, the choice of earphones for the players is critical. Typically, high-isolation headsets are used. By reducing the intelligibility of the ambient noises, interference from shoutcasters and audience members can be mitigated. In other instances, the league has created a sound-proof box on stage to mask the audio that is going to the players (negating the “live” experience).

Other measures are also available. To prevent audience reactions from impacting gameplay, some leagues inject masking sounds into player headsets to distract players from the surrounding audio.

Many esports leagues will even outsource the management and operation of the audio systems. By removing their direct control from the audio, the league can guarantee that they are not impacting the gameplay: for example, by giving one team an unfair advantage and allowing them to win.

Conclusion

Esports is a large and growing field, and it is attracting attention from many different companies. However, it is still a new genre, and many of the “kinks” are yet to be worked out of the system. Esports leagues are very concerned with the fairness and legitimacy of their nascent sports environment, and any audio company that wishes to work in this field needs to be aware of the various stakeholders, their expectations, and the challenges of meeting them all in one system.

This, however, can lead to some companies’ underestimating the audio requirements of the sport. A company that might be equipped to tackle a locally organized league may not have the technology or the experience to manage a major event, such as a regional or world-level game. However, by investing wisely and training teams to manage myriad demands, audio companies can set themselves up to join this growing industry on a world scale.

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e health

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Starting to understand the stress responses, heart rates and more;

"Ole Miss researching health implications of esports
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Love to hate gaming all you want, but the winner of the Fortnite World Cup earlier this month made more money ($3 million) than the winner of this year’s Wimbledon Championship ($2.85 million) and Masters Tournament ($2.07 million).

The popularity of esports is skyrocketing, and there’s no way around it. Research indicates the esports economic impact will surpass $1 billion for the first time this year. Over 450 million people globally participate in some way. With the numbers and popularity blowing up, researchers at the University of Mississippi have begun looking into the health implications of competitive video gaming.

Thomas Andre, an assistant professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, has always focus his research of fitness, exercise and nutrition. A gamer as a hobby, he started noticing some of his research elements playing out in himself.

“It was just a little bit of a side hobby, as a way to stay in touch with these guys I did undergrad with, playing video games online,” Andre said. “I started noticing what was happening to my own body, like poor sleep, elevated heart rate; I could feel myself not blinking as much, my breathing would get shallow. We started thinking, ‘Oh let’s start looking into this,’ as the industry has been growing.”

Andre and his team of other researchers who enjoy gaming started measuring heart rates of the Ole Miss Esports teams as they played six different games competitively at the inaugural Esports Egg Bowl in October 2018.

They then presented their research at this year’s American College of Sports Medicine conference. Their results showed that, while gaming, players had similar accelerated heart rates and recovery periods as competitive athletes during exercise.

“These guys are only playing for maybe 30 minutes and the peak heart rate is like doing a max test,” Andre said. “The heart rate response is similar to what we see in all-out aerobic fitness assessment where heart rates are hitting 190, 200, and we saw that with these guys sitting while they are playing. So, there is a clear stress response. We hadn’t seen anything in the literature on it, so that was exciting.”

Esports is clearly growing, and doing so very fast. Major cities around the US are building arenas for esports. The Luxor Casino in Las Vegas has a big esports arena, as does Philadelphia, Penn., with the new Comcast Esports Arena.

This presents opportunities for competitors – as it’s clear to see, these competitions have massive prize pools – but also for some others that the public hasn’t really thought much about yet. The growing field leads to the players needing other recourses that people think more of for traditional sports: athletic trainers, physiologists and strength coaches.

“The industry has grown so quickly that little research has been conducted on the sport’s effect on the human body,” Andre said. “There are a lot of injuries – wrist, neck and hand injuries, some muscular forearm extensor and flexors – so eventually, as it grows, people are beginning to realize it’s not just ‘sit down and play.’ It has a lot more to it.”