Professional Gamers Are Just As Physically Taxed As Athletes, Study Finds

It's the debate that will seemingly never die: is esports real esports? Should professional gamers be considered athletes, or even semi-athletes considering the amount of hours they have to train, research and prepare? Should video games even be associating the most proficient of its kind with the word sports at all?

One university has been investigating that subject with a little more academic rigour, and their findings are set to add more fuel to the already heated debate.

Photo: Riot Games

According to a report from German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, German Sports University has found that the amount of cortisol produced by those playing video games professionally was equivalent to that of a race-car driver. "This is combined with a high pulse, sometimes as high as 160 to 180 beats per minute, which is equivalent to what happend during a very fast run, almost a marathon," GSU's Professor Ingo Frobose explained.

"That's not to mention the motor skills involved. So in my opinion, esports are just as demanding as most other types of sports, if not more demanding."

Professor Frobose has been studying pro-gamers for the past five years and said the hand-eye co-ordination and strain induced was something not present in any other sports, particularly given the nature of how the body and brain was being taxed.

"Esports athletes achieve up to 400 movements on the keyboard and the mouse per minute, four times as much as the average person. The whole thing is asymmetrical, because both hands are being moved at the same time and various parts of the brain are also being used at the same time," Professor Frobose added.

The professor added that most esports athletes are unfit, however, and fail to understand the stresses that they are placing on their body. A better diet and physical training could also result in players extending their professional gaming career by four to five years, according to Frobose.

[Deutsche Welle]


Comments

    is esports real esports?
    If it isn't, what is? :O

    Last edited 14/03/16 1:33 pm

      Maybe Castrol GTX? If oils ain't oils then it could be that esports ain't esports?

      Last edited 14/03/16 1:51 pm

        Hmm if Castrol can provide mouse lub or something, there's a market for them there.

    My studies have concluded that if I eat malteasers, they are yummy.

    I was gonna say that the elevated heart rate isn't conclusive but was happy the last paragraph was included. Higher heart rate could be a result of house of physical inactivity (sitting at a desk) and eating crap food and drinking energy drinks clogging up the arteries.

    To say that an esports competitor is as physically taxed as an athlete I would say isn't doing the research study justice, either that or the researchers have some fairly lax parameters about what physical taxation actually involves.

      As someone who plays games somewhat competitively I can tell you the increased heart rate is a thing. You may not notice it while you are playing but you definitely feel it afterwards. The game finishes and you feel yourself coming down and your body adapting back to normal. You notice the sweat that's covering your controller, or that's around your headphones. I actually physically perspire when playing competitively too which isn't unusual. And it's not because the venue is hot, it's mostly due to the increased heart rate.

        The list of things that increases my heartrate and makes me sweaty includes (but is not limited to):

        • Difficult meetings
        • Getting quietly angry at loud kids on the train
        • Seeing ads for A Current Affair
        • Boobs
        • My phone ringing when I’m stoned
        • When I can’t find my keys

        None of these things are in any way athletic pursuits.

        Last edited 14/03/16 3:09 pm

          As a long time stoner ( not for a couple months now due to work tho ) I couldn't help but laugh at the phone comment, so true lol

          I wasn't arguing about the usage of the term athlete, or e-athlete, I was arguing about the claim that the increased heartrate isn't conclusive.

            Hehe, I was just joking around.

            I don’t disagree with you (or the study) at all.
            I don’t play even play competitive multiplayer casually very often because it stresses me out, and that’s not what I want from my gaming time.

          • My phone ringing when I’m stoned

          That was great!

      Well, I can tell you that there been a fair few moments in some competitive games where I've been left with my heart pounding and my hands shaking so there's definitely something to it.

    The "debate" only grows legs when you get the "my hobby is being attacked oh no" crowd involved. No, I don't yet think "e-sports" could be classified as "real sports" but like many arguments in games culture the wrong questions are again being asked.

    "Games" as a whole are either going through a hell of a puberty phase, or probably even a mid-life crisis now. A *lot* of parties want to make pull them in different directions and while that's nice and exciting, if people's health starts becoming an issue then I'd want to ask questions like this. What you don't do is wave this around as "see, the boffins said pro gamers are athletes see!"

    Esports is more like VR at the moment. There's a gold rush, but if there's saturation it'll become tiresome. Excuse me if I want to reserve judgement.

    My thoughts on the matter.
    If fishing can be considered a sport, so can 'e-sports'

      Fishing is a sport, but you don’t hear many fishermen describe themselves as “athletes” either do you? It’s because they’re secure enough in themselves not to try for that overreach.

      As a generalisation the gaming community has always full of been disgruntled, defensive, “us-vs-them” types.
      I think ‘e-sports’ and ‘e-sports athlete’ tags are just an extension of that, it’s a slightly cringe worthy grab at mainstream validation.

      I thought games had to be recognised as “art”? Aren’t all gamers still screaming for that extremely important piece of social validation?
      People who perform in arts don’t often call themselves athletes, maybe professional gamers should be called ‘e-arts actors’. I like that.

      Last edited 14/03/16 3:00 pm

        Wait what Dancers aren't athletes now? That's new.

          Do they call themselves athletes? Nope, I'm pretty sure they call themselves dancers.

          They aren't art-athletes, that's for sure.

    Don't have an issue with prize money, the competitions, the status and fame of the competitors, etc - but call it for what it is: eGames, not eSports. Linking it with 'Sport' implicitly associates it with some kind of athletic pursuit... for which computer gaming, in any form, is not.

      Tell me you’re a professional gamer and I’m going to think it’s awesome (providing you actually make a living from it).
      Tell me you’re an e-sports “athlete” and I’m going to think you deserved all the dunkings in the toilet that defined your youth.

      Gamers are “athletes” in the same way that the 15 year old who made your last Big Mac is a “Professional Chef”.

        And to add to this. "Making a living" is not equivalent to unemployment benefits.

      Esports are not sports in the same way that email is not mail. Poeple have no issue with the distinction between email and mail so I don't know why there is confusion here between esports and sports. Although they share some similarities, they are two different things.

        The only issue with this is that ‘email’ has only ever been referred to as anything but ‘email’. It the most appropriate term to describe it.

        ‘Computer Games’, ‘Video Games’, ‘Gamers’….. these have always been the terms used to describe playing modern electronic games.

        ‘E-sports’ in an appropriation of two separate, foreign terms that have been appropriated very intentionally to make nerds feel special.
        No non-gamer ever thinks of gamers as sports, just as they don’t think of gamers as athletes.

        What’s wrong with ‘professional gamer’, or as I suggested above ‘e-arts actor’ since games are apparently art (see my below point re: validation).

        Like the “professional chef” who works at Macca’s, it’s a desperate attempt to shoe-horn the common understanding of the word “sports” so that it includes gamers. It’s kinda sad.

          You only need to think about what the 'e' actually denotes: electronic.

          Email is electronic mail. Esports are electronic sports. The fact that they are electronic makes them different. I don't think the term has been deliberately appropriated at all. The "electronic" should tell you all you need to know.

          The amount of work that a professional competitive gamer puts in is very akin to what a professional athlete would do. 8 hour days of training, culminating with needing to perform in front of thousands of people watching live and possibly millions watching online/on TV.

          Esports are named esports for a very specific reason. They are not sports, and professional competitive players of esports are not athletes. They are esports - electronic sports - and are in a category of their own.

          The thing with the term "professional gamer" is that it's too broad. If someone told you they were a professional gamer that doesn't really tell you anything apart from the fact they play games for a living. That could mean a lot of things. Maybe they play them competitively, sure. But maybe they stream themselves playing games so others can watch. Maybe they are a reviewer or blogger. Maybe they are a game tester. A "professional gamer" could be any of these things and more.

          On a side note I do personally believe the term "athlete" is thrown around too willingly these days. At the Olympics this year there is archery, shooting, golf and equestrian dressage - while I acknowledge that these take a lot of skill and dedication to be good at, to call those that participate in them "athletes" is a bit of a stretch. Even table tennis and synchronised swimming are pushing it IMO.

            I absolutely, 100% agree with you that you can justify games being a sport under a really loose definition. It’s just that like I said- you’d have to be a complete wanker to try.

            “Professional gamer” or “competitive gamer” is a hell of a lot less ambiguous than “esports athlete” by any reasonable analysis. Nobody who wasn’t a complete tool ever told anyone that they were going to spend their weekend “esports training”.

            If you meet anybody, anywhere there’s two kinds of way’s to describe what you do:
            Ether they know games: “I play League of Legends professionally”
            Or they don’t: “I make a living playing video games competitively/ I’m a professional gamer”
            When to you EVER need to use the term “I’m an esports athlete?” Who does that work for except the tool who’s saying it?

            It’s not a question of effort, or difficulty, or even professionalism….the word “sports” has never been associated with gaming, the world “athlete” has never been associated with gamers. To use those terms is an intentionally misappropriation, a complete contortion of a common understanding, done so with the sole purpose of allowing gamers to feel socially validated.

            I have to say, I bet you anything that equestrian riders (who do occasionally die when their balance fails them), just like shooters, VERY rarely refer to themselves as athletes. They’re riders, or shooters or something else that’s less embarrassing when people call you on it.

              I have to say, I bet you anything that equestrian riders (who do occasionally die when their balance fails them), just like shooters, VERY rarely refer to themselves as athletes. They’re riders, or shooters or something else that’s less embarrassing when people call you on it.

              They would be staying in the athlete's village and would be considered the same as everyone else...ergo, they would be "athletes".

                Uhhhhh sure. If you were an Olympic Athelete staying in the Olympic Village then that'd be the common sense thing to tell a taxi driver or something similar.

                Thats common sense and makes you in no way a wander.

                Uhhhhh sure. If you were an Olympic Athelete staying in the Olympic Village then that'd be the common sense thing to tell a taxi driver or something similar.

                Thats common sense and makes you in no way a wanker.

              I don't see why you have such a beef about the term "eSports". They're professional gamers and they play eSports. This is pretty much the same as your own example that you're advocating of riders/shooters in the Olympics staying at the athlete's village but not calling themselves "athletes."

              eSports is simply the moniker for the act of playing video games professionally. It's like in the US if someone were to say they're in the NHL, or they play major league baseball, or any such equivalent. It's a generic term to describe an activity, and it immediately and obviously distinguishes it from people just "playing games", and suggests that it is being done in a context where there are leagues, structured tournaments with finals and people who do it for a living.

              Your comments about the term "eSports" being a "misappropriation" and "contortion" come across as elitist and exclusionary to the same level as you see it as seeking social validation. "eSports" is a short, catchy term that immediately tells a lot of people what it is. "Professional Gaming" in no way would to provide the same level of brevity or clarity for the average person.

        There isn't any confusion. It's as clear as e-mail and mail to most people. However the professional competitive gamers and their fans end up over compensating because they've been mocked since day one. It's a struggle to prove they're competing in legitimate skill based events which got hung up on the fact that sports is in their title. This encourages further mocking because even to those of us who appreciate the time, effort and skill that goes into professional gaming consider it a joke to call them athletes.
        So it looks like there's a huge debate and a lot of confusion, but really it's just people trying too hard to be taken seriously and the internet laughing at them for it.

        The funny part is how we're so far past the point of it mattering. They fill stadiums, they get international coverage, they have huge prize pools. Regardless of whether the competitors are athletes it's a legitimate competitive scene and career path. Over the past few years professional gamers have consistently proved they don't need the approval of the dumbasses who think these events are just broadcasting random rounds of Call of Duty.

        Well, I mean, I call it mail with my wife. Mostly because I get so little physical mail that email is pretty much the only mail there is for me

    I have a high stress job, my heart rate is through the roof and I regularly record up to 200 mouse and keyboard movements per minute.

    I thought I was an overweight, middle-age white guy, but it turns out I’m an athlete.

    Leave the name Esports. It show's similarity in the aspect of it drawing a crowd to back certain players competing against each other, except in a electronic virtual reality. Drop the athlete crap. Athlete;
    Noun;
    A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.

    Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons, including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, and merely enjoyment.

    Those that play in Esports are pro gamers...not athletes. I'd be more than happy being called that much.

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