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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.

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Young Danish Esports Players Physical Health, and Their Opportunities and Wishes for Physical Activity From Their Esports Club: A Cross-Sectional Study

Julie Gaasedal, Mia Ricaplaza Thøgersen, Christian Lund Straszek, and Julie Dalgaard Guldager

Electronic sports (esports) refer to competitive video gaming at professional and amateur levels. The increasing popularity of esports may lead to an increased tendency toward inactivity and sedentary behavior among players. Currently, 150 min of physical activity (PA) of moderate to high intensity per week is recommended to main a healthy lifestyle. The aim of this study was to investigate whether young esports players are offered to participate in PA and what type of PA they would like to participate in. The level of PA, bodily pain, and sleeping habits were also investigated through a self-reported questionnaire. The median score for PA was 2,850 metabolic equivalent of task minutes per week. One in every five esports players was offered PA by their esports association, and most of them have used this offer. For participants who were not offered PA, the most often called-for type of PA was resistance training, ballgames, and cardiovascular training.

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Esports Athletes on a Team or Club Are More Physically Active and Less Sedentary Than Equally Experienced, Casual Video Gamers

Bryan Dowdell, Andrew Lepp, Brian H. Yim, and Jacob E. Barkley

Literature and governing agencies refer to gamers who partake in esports as “esports athletes,” and research suggests that exercise may be a beneficial component of esports training. Yet esports athletes are stereotyped similarly to casual gamers, for example, sedentary and not physically active. The purpose of this research was to compare physical activity and sedentary behavior between esports athletes on a team or club and casual gamers. Data were collected via an online survey (N = 532 total; n = 172 women). The survey assessed physical activity behaviors (i.e., International Physical Activity Questionnaire), time spent playing games, and esports affiliation. Independent samples t tests and analysis of variance were used for comparisons. Esports athletes on a team or club reported significantly more (F = 67.99, p < .001) physical activity (5,706 ± 4,558 metabolic equivalent min/week) compared to casual gamers (2,738 ± 2,792 metabolic equivalent min/week). There was a significant interaction between the effects of gender and group (F = 5.680, p = .018) on vigorous physical activity. Esports athletes on a team or club also reported significantly less (F = 77.436, p < .001) sedentary behavior compared to casual gamers. There was no reported difference in time spent playing video games between groups (t = 1.416, p = .157). In conclusion, esports athletes on a team or club were more physically active and less sedentary than their casual counterparts.

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Motivations to Participate in Gaming and Esports: An Exploratory Study on The Influence of Participant Gender

Tara Q. Mahoney, Lindsey Darvin, and Ryan Vooris

The rapid growth of gaming and esports since 2015 demands an investigation of the habits of those who consume and engage with (i.e., participate, view, attend events) this emerging space. As previous research has suggested, women and men may engage with video games for different reasons, and to better understand this occurrence, the current study addresses whether their gaming and esports participation motivations vary. As a result, this exploratory study employed a survey design with a previously validated scale used to measure motivation differences between men and women for traditional sport and exercise spaces. In addition, insights from Hamari and Sjöblom study were used to construct the survey instrument and adapt it to gaming environments. The researchers used an exploratory factor analysis to examine the data and determine preliminary factors relating to esports and gaming motivations. Additionally, gender differences were also assessed. Implications for the gaming industry are discussed as well as future research directions.

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Volume 2 (2024): Issue 1 (Jan 2024)