What does it take to be an esports pro?
Similar to any traditional sport, to become an esports pro takes time and dedication. In order to play in a league outside the regular gaming world takes specific characteristics and skill.
In response to the rise of esports recognition in Australia, gaming research is progressing rapidly yet its evidence-based research is limited. UTS PhD student and sport scientist Matthew Pluss is looking to fill this gap in knowledge by conducting a study into the factors that underlie the key characteristics of a professional esports player.
Based at Sydney’s esports High Performance Centre (EHPC) and the home to Australia’s pro esports teams Sydney Drop Bears and LG Dire Wolves, Pluss is looking at players of varying abilities in his research.
“As we get players coming in from all various games and levels of expertise … they do just a small little battery of tests that we’ve made up and we just try and identify those key characteristics that make up an expert esports player,” said Pluss.
Using eye tracking technology and equipment to record players’ actions-per-minute (APM), Pluss’ study will help provide a new research-based perspective from the competitive side of gaming. This technology will help to understand how humans interact with computers by analysing their reaction time and how it is influenced by stimulus, in particular whether players become any slower from more stimuli.
To be an expert at esports gaming takes much more than just sitting in a chair at a computer or being talented, Pluss says “they [esports pros] need to have an understanding of the game to be so good at what they do.”
“There are many skills they [esports pros] need to combine, whether it’s their anticipation, decision making or their pattern recall ability. These are all tactics that the best sport stars use, it’s very similar but it is more specific within the esports environment.”
Although there are questions on the legitimacy of esports, upcoming evidence-based research shows that the skill set associated with esports gaming is similar to the skills needed in archery or darts. This proves that esports has a future of legitimacy within the sporting world, proven with the recent announcement that esports will be featured for the first time as a gold medal event at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
If you’d like to help Matthew Pluss with his study into the characteristics of an esports pro, you can contact him at: Matthew.A.Pluss@student.uts.edu.au or find him on twitter at @PlussMatt. Pluss is looking for individuals of all skill levels to participate in a series of tests across different games. Tests will be performed at the esports High Performance Centre in Moore Park, Sydney.