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“What Are You Eating?” Is the Influence of Fortnite Streamers Expanding Beyond the Game?

David Micallef, Bruno Schivinski, Linda Brennan, Lukas Parker, and Michaela Jackson

Online game microcelebrities (streamers) attract a large audience of emerging adult gamers (age 18–25 years) and have become a target for food industry advertising. Extant research has identified links between gaming and negative impacts on diet. However, little is known about the influence of game-streaming communities on food consumption. This study aims to understand the type and context of discussions about food and drink in streaming communities that may be influencing the consumption behavior of emerging adults. Data were collected through observation of food and drink-related conversations within streaming communities for Fortnite, which is popular with emerging adult gamers. The study found that the sharing of food is commonplace in organic discussions within streaming communities, driven by both streamers and their followers. The sharing of energy-dense nutrient-poor foods is commonplace in these organic discussions. The study suggests that game-streaming channels have expanded beyond the scope of only a gaming channel and, for emerging adults, are potentially influencing their healthful behavior.

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The Prevalence of Mental Ill Health in Elite Counter-Strike Athletes

Phil D.J. Birch, Matthew J. Smith, Atheeshaan Arumuham, Angelica Ortiz de Gortari, and Benjamin T. Sharpe

The present study provides a unique contribution to the literature by offering the first study to examine the prevalence of mental ill health and mental well-being of professional Counter-Strike athletes. The sample consisted of 51 current Counter-Strike professionals (M age = 23.22, SD = 4.7 years; male = 48, female = 3) representing 17.1% of all registered Counter-Strike professionals. An online questionnaire was administered via Qualtrics. We found that one quarter of our sample reported moderately severe (15.7%) and severe (9.8%) symptoms of depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, over three quarters (82.4%) reported symptoms of anxiety/depression using the General Health Questionnaire—short form-12, over half (54.9%) reported psychological distress using the distress screener, and nearly three quarters (72.5%) reported low mental well-being using the Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale. Our findings suggest that greater importance should be placed on screening and intervention support by both performance and clinical practitioners to facilitate mental health within the esports ecosystem.

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Evaluating Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Esports: A Focus on Competitive and Recreational Players From the Philippines and Japan

Lizbeth Mariano, Ping Yeap Loh, Yujiro Ishihara, Jeewon Choi, and Satoshi Muraki

This study aimed to gain insights into the prevalence and self-perceived severity of musculoskeletal pain when playing esports among competitive and recreational players in the Philippines and Japan. Additionally, it aimed to determine the association between pain/discomfort experienced and the number of playing years, playing frequency, and playing hours. We used online descriptive questionnaires to collect data from 14- to 26-year-old esports players. The participants were 159 Filipino and 120 Japanese esports players, including 77% and 89% male participants, respectively. The Filipino participants had a significantly higher prevalence of pain in the back (p < .001), hands (p < .001), neck (p < .05), and wrists (p < .001) than the Japanese participants. Based on the Japanese participants’ data, the number of playing years correlated positively with the presence of neck pain (r s = .229, p = .012), shoulder pain (r s = .183, p = .045), and wrist pain (r s = .350, p < .001). Moreover, the number of playing hours correlated positively with hand pain (r s = .194, p = .034).

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Individual Differences in Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits Predict Car-Soccer Video Game Performance

Justin W. Bonny

Associations with player performance in traditional field-based sports and video games have been observed with specific cognitive abilities and personality traits. The present study investigated whether such connections can be used to predict performance in hybrid genre video games that include game mechanics from multiple traditional games. The focus of the present was on the hybrid genre car-soccer game, Rocket League. The gameplay shares some aspects of traditional soccer and video games along with unique mechanics. Psychological traits that have been observed to correlate with performance in these traditional games were hypothesized to be associated with better Rocket League performance. In the present study, participants greater in mental rotation ability and number processing tended to have higher performance. Evidence from detailed match metrics indicated that they more effectively navigated and maneuvered around the car-soccer arena. Connections with personality traits suggested that player openness and neuroticism affected offensive–defensive metrics, likely via team dynamics. Variations in associations with match metrics indicated that different car-soccer gameplay actions relied upon different psychological abilities. This research suggests that psychological predictors of performance in traditional sports may predict performance in hybrid video games that share game mechanics.

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Investigating Psychological Disparities Across Gamers: A Genre-Based Study

Oliver J. Griffith and Benjamin T. Sharpe

Objective: While video games have become a widespread form of entertainment, the exploration of their relationship with psychological factors remains relatively limited. The primary aim of this study was to examine potential disparities in levels of everyday stress, perceived stress, and positive mental health among individuals involved in three distinct video game genres: horror, competitive shooters, and sandbox. Although the study maintains an exploratory nature, we anticipated the emergence of significant differences between these genres. Method: A total of 54 participants were recruited, queried about their primarily favored video game genre, and then asked to complete an online survey consisting of three questionnaires, each corresponding to one of the dependent variables. Results: Three 1 × 3 between-subject analyses of variance indicated that levels of everyday and perceived stress were notably higher in the competitive shooter gamers, with sandbox gamers having the lowest levels. No significant differences were observed for levels of positive mental health. Conclusions: It is possible that competitive shooters either elevate everyday and perceived stress levels in individuals, or that already-stressed gamers are drawn to this genre. Finally, the absence of significant variations in levels of positive mental health across genres suggests that individuals may simply choose to play whichever game aligns with their personal sources of enjoyment.

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Acute High-Intensity Interval Training Improves Esport Performance in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate Competitors

Zachary B. Rightmire, Philip J. Agostinelli, William M. Murrah, Jaimie A. Roper, Michael D. Roberts, and JoEllen M. Sefton

Acute exercise has been shown to improve scores on tests of cognitive function. The cognitive variables that improve with acute exercise are also associated with esport performance. This randomized control trial examined whether performing a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise bout prior to esport competitions produced improvement in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate performance compared with the control group of college-aged e-athletes who did not perform a precompetition HIIT session (n = 28). Both competitions consisted of a round-robin style of play wherein all players in each group faced each other in head-on sets. Competition results after sedentary and after HIIT exercise were compared. Logistic regression indicated that HIIT increased the probability of winning a Super Smash Brothers Ultimate set by approximately twofold (p = .006). These data suggest that HIIT acutely improves esport performance.

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Survival of Professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Teams: What Matters? A Research Note

Timo Schöber, Georg Stadtmann, Petr Parshakov, and Igor Tylkin

The role of national diversity in sports and esports teams is a well-established field of research. Nevertheless, earlier studies primarily concentrated on assessing performance, based on criteria like prize money or the frequency of podium finishes. In this paper, we analyze the esports data of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams to shed light on the question of whether diverse teams survive longer. As a measure of diversity, we focus on the nationality of the players. The period investigated spans from 2012 to the middle of 2021. More than 200 teams are considered in the empirical analysis; 65% of these teams fail and do not survive. We also control for prize money as a time-dependent covariate. In addition, we account for the degree of competition over time. Our main findings are that prize money is a strong predictor of survival. There is a tendency for a higher degree of internationalization to increase the failure rate.

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Where Do Amateurs Go to Become Pros? A Comparison of the Current Competition Systems in Collegiate Esports to Traditional Collegiate Sport Environments

Wil Fisackerly and Yongjin Hwang

Researchers are interested in how the collegiate esports model can follow that of the traditional sports talent pipelines. This piece seeks to conceptualize the manifestations of collegiate esports unique from traditional sports, as it integrates into the higher education model. In the current esports ecosystem, game developers own all intellectual property associated with the games and thus run the operations of leagues and/or tournaments themselves. Because of this, the pipeline seen in traditional sports is not transferrable or mimicked in the collegiate esports realm. The result is unique considerations for higher education administrators and coordinators regarding the retention of players and their recruitment from other institutions and professional circles. This line of research will lay the foundation for future studies in collegiate esports and assist in building the literature on the esports ecosystem.

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The Sleep, Anxiety, Mood, and Cognitive Performance of Oceanic Rocket League Esports Athletes Competing in a Multiday Regional Event

Daniel Bonnar, Michael Gradisar, Michal Kahn, and Cele Richardson

The overall aim of the present study was to examine the daily patterns and relationships between sleep behavior, anxiety, mood (i.e., depression symptoms), and cognitive performance (i.e., reaction time) in esports athletes competing in an Oceanic Rocket League Championship Series regional event. Sixteen participants completed a daily sleep diary, an evening anxiety measure, and an afternoon mood measure and cognitive performance task. Measures were taken (a) precompetition, (b) across the competition days, and (c) postcompetition. We found that participants’ lights-out time was earliest across the competition nights. Sleep-onset latency gradually lengthened precompetition and across the competition nights, eventually exceeding normal limits. Wake after sleep onset was longest across the competition nights but remained within normal limits. Wake-up time was earliest at the start of the competition period but consistently late on most other days. Total sleep time was generally adequate but mildly reduced the night before the first day of competition. There was no significant relationship between anxiety and subsequent sleep nor a relationship between total sleep time and next day mood or cognitive performance. Future research should investigate whether these findings generalize to esports athletes from other games, at higher levels of competition, and to different start times.

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“You’re Too Pretty to Be a Challenge Runner”: Changing “Gamers” in an Age of Live Streaming

Kevin Garvey

Persistent misogyny in video gaming spaces has motivated calls for broader recognition of female players and the development of protective, welcoming spaces. Yet even recognition of female gamers remains elusive. By allowing individuals to broadcast themselves playing games, Twitch has greatly enhanced the visibility of players, including high-skill, hard-core female gamers developing dedicated viewer audiences. This study investigates the community management of female streamers who focus on high-skill “challenge running” and participate in hard-core challenge run communities. Regularly encountering online misogyny, these streamers have developed four distinct strategies in reply: overcoming antagonistic audiences, capturing audience emotion, anticipating antagonism, and combating misogyny through humor and recontextualization. Streamers learn to anticipate negative, misogynistic attention and, in collaboration with supportive viewers, creatively transform it into positive channel content for their benefit. By visibly challenging games and antagonistic viewers alike, these streamers provide new methods for responding to misogyny in online gaming spaces.