Competitive gaming has been steadily gaining popularity around the world over the years, as millions are playing games such as League of Legends and Fortnite.
Professional gamers pursue the grand title of e-sports champion and with that, in many cases, there are cash prizes as they compete in massive tournaments around the world.
But what makes a great player? Or one who is still seeking to become better? How do they acquire the necessary skill sets to succeed?
Those questions were asked by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) department of computer science assistant professor Dr. Madison Klarkowski. She wanted to find out what separated a gamer’s success from failure, research that hadn’t been put in the spotlight before.
“We are looking at the tendency to switch from faster thinking (procedural thinking) where everything is automatic and responsive,” Madison said, “to declarative thinking, which is more explicit and rule-bound, where you are thinking very carefully and slowly.”
Klarkowski added that gamers seem to be getting younger (teenagers and those in the early 20s) and notes a 16-year-old from Europe recently won a couple of million dollars from an e-sports championship.
Many competitors start gaming before the age of 10. The average age of a gamer is roughly 34.
“Our research looks at what causes these players to succeed, or be clutch, as it’s called,” Klarkowski said.
“The alternative is choking (failing). We wanted to provide an avenue for them to find a means of success if they were failing.”
Klarkowski told Global News in a Zoom interview that the concepts of clutching and choking in e-sports are very similar to those in sports psychology for professional athletes.
“We found that people are reinvesting more they tend to have a trait tendency towards reinvestment also identify as someone who is more likely to choke or perform poorly.”
She said the unpublished research also looked at ways to eliminate negative online behaviour or harassment.
“We wanted to see if we could pull some well-known e-sports influencers to help promote a more positive mindset to eliminate any negative behaviour,” Klarkowski said.
“Not just on screen or while playing but also in their personal lives.”