Wetenschap - 20 juni 2019

Top sport at the computer

tekst:
Tessa Louwerens

Competitive gaming is no child’s play, reckons PhD graduate Wouter de Bruijn. He’s a fanatical gamer himself, and he always made time for it while he was working on his PhD. So he came up with the proposition: ‘Considering the level of skill, talent and dedication required to excel at eSports, they qualify as real sports.’

PhD candidates are required to append a few propositions to their thesis. In this feature they explain their most provocative proposition. This time, Wouter de Bruijn, who got his PhD on 7 June for his study of the antimicrobial activity of defence compounds in legumes and cereals.

Proposition: 'Considering the level of skill, talent and dedication required to excel at eSports, they qualify as real sports.’

‘eSport is already established as a serious sport. Players often train for 14 hours a day. There is a worldwide eSports organization, just like FIFA for football, and spectators flock to stadiums to see their heroes play live. Teams are sponsored and scouts look for young talent. You can earn good money at the top.

eSports require incredible levels of precision and fine motor skills

In 2017, the International Olympic Committee proved to be surprisingly open to recognizing eSports as an Olympic sport in future. You don’t have to work out fanatically for it, but it does require incredible levels of precision and fine motor skills. Top gamers can often think of and make 300 moves per minute. You must be fit because a tournament can go on all weekend and you need to stay mentally sharp. You also need to keep a close eye on what your opponent is doing and adapt your tactics to that. Teams have an ‘in-game leader’ who directs the players and decides on the strategy. It is impossible to predict in advance how a competition will go, and that makes it interesting to watch.

At one point I tried to get involved at the amateur competition level. In the end I didn’t manage to get a team together. Actually, In don’t think I’m good enough for that anyway.’


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