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Applying eSports Science to Optimize Game Performance

Long before myself or anyone else dreamed of something called  “eSports Science”, my life had been dedicated to understanding optimal performance.

Video games were always a haven for me. A place where my overly active mind, which many of us gamers share, could be quiet and completely focus on the task at hand. Ever since I took up video games competitively as a young boy, I was hungry to cultivate the perfect mentality for winning.  I immersed myself into the principles of martial arts fascinated by the concept of the perfect fighting mind… The empty mind. The zone. The state of optimal flow…

All names for the same thing.

The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.
Robert Greene, Mastery

Look at the field of sports, for example. Humans have been competing in feats of physical prowess since ancient times, knowingly attributing the wins to mental discipline over all else. Right now, the field of sports science is so refined that many disciplines have evolved to the point where they’re barely recognizable from a few decades ago. Check out this video:

This being the case, imagine what professional gaming and eSports science might look like 80 years from now.

I have been fortunate enough to spend my life studying people who are high performers. Every time I get to spend quality time with someone who’s worked their whole life to be in the upper echelons of athletic performance, similar permutations of the same conversation take place.

We discuss the importance of:

  1. Mental vs. physical attributes in excellence
  2. The power of inherent gifts (i.e. genetics, a topic The Sports Gene explores comprehensively and excellently)

The answers are usually the same, too. Hard work and a good mental attitude are vital. So is a keen awareness of the rapid progression of the discipline you’re involved with.
Let’s pause there for a second to consider the previous video and how rapidly the field of sports has progressed.

Basketball and football players are faster and stronger than ever, and competitors need to keep up. You know what other field progresses quickly?

[ctt tweet=”eSports. In fact, right now, it’s progressing even quicker than athletics. @MobalyticsHQ” coverup=”50dhJ”]

eSports Rate of Growth is Phenomenal

Between the time a video game goes from beta to the mass market, to the first tournament, both the meta and the gameplay have evolved so rapidly that the ranks are saturated and only the truly dedicated shine at the top.

Several factors that cause this to happen:

  1. The rapid proliferation of knowledge in online games. Forums, replays, YouTube videos, and Reddit are all tools gamers use to discuss and share information. Keeping things a secret is tough for people in eSports, and Korean teams rely on harsh rules such as no streaming and vows of secrecy regarding team strategies.
  2. The ease of playing. People can play 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and everyone in the world shares the same battlefield. In traditional sports, this simply isn’t possible due to geographical and physiologic limitations on the human body.
  3. The progression and tournament structure make it so that it’s anybody’s game and there are multiple chances to prove yourself the best. In traditional sports, these events are typically yearly and limited opportunities arise to prove dominance.

The sheer amount of science, tracking, and performance assessment available to eSports teams and competitors is almost frightening. And that’s before we take into consideration that measuring and analyzing gaming physiology data, a field that is only just starting to get explored.

Here’s an example of an eSports science video I made in collaboration with Curse and Alienware:

It’s Time for eSports Science to Take Off

With so much data available and with such rapid progression in the video game scene, you might expect lots of self-evaluation tools available to help gamers get better. But that simply isn’t the case. And Mobalytics is our first step towards filling this gap.

We want to expand on what others like LOLking and DOTAbuff have done. We want to take it to the next level. We want to use every scientific tool available to give you the best performance assessment and arm you with the insights you need to become a better gamer with each passing week you play. Because hard data should be every bit as much a foundation of eSports science as biometrics and other technology.

In traditional sports, athletes go through mental and physical training regimen so they can improve their performance rapidly. The progress in the quality of those training regimens comes from several different places:

  • Efficacy of training techniques
  • Nutrition
  • Environment
  • Habits
  • Equipment
  • (And potentially) Drugs

The final progress barrier that affects all of the above is financial resources. Although money won’t prevent a great athlete from emerging, it can truly springboard their training progress.
It’s not uncommon for aspiring athletes to visit facilities like EXOS for intense boot camp training; a phenomenon that’s seen some traction for aspiring eSports pros.

image shows athletes at training facility, EXOS

Pro gamers sometimes use high-tech eSports science training facilities such as EXOS

Evolving training tools used by such facilities include state of the art biometric monitoring to obtain objective physiological data on athlete limitations, strengths, and weaknesses.
Rigorous and precise testing methods are used to determine the exact training techniques that will create the optimum gains in performance. Finally, judicious use of film and visual data are standard practices, too.

To get an idea of the depth athletic managers will go to get data, you can watch Moneyball or read this article about using missile tracking systems to track basketball shot patterns and court positioning.

The future of competitive gaming

Here’s the kicker: The field of eSports has a much easier time accessing this type of information due to the stationary nature of the players and the ease of monitoring them. After all, everything is electronic.

Since all events take place on a computer, data is registered, and film is automatically recorded. Pro teams go to great lengths to get every facet of information they can, but very few have the resources, time, or expertise to develop techniques that take advantage of biometrics. With eSports science about to pick up, that’s about to change.

So with this wealth of information available why are only the pros taking advantage of it? The Mobalytics team is bringing these data-drive insights to everyone who wants to amp up their performance.

Even at my relatively ancient age of 31, I play competitively and will scour the internet for every competitive advantage that I can get. Still, there’s no tool for me that I’d be inspired to invest in because of its capability to take all of these multifaceted aspects of training and integrate them into a platform designed for optimizing gamer performance.

And that’s exactly what we’re making to share with the rest of the world.