3 min read

The Average Gamer and Stress

The Average Gamer and Stress
Merry Christmas, everyone.

Over the past two weeks, we explored stress and stressors of professional Esports athletes. This week we’ll conclude (for now) the section of stress by expanding the view, including the average gamer. What causes stress for the average gamer? How do they fit in with the stressors identified in previous articles?

📜 The Study

The following study was published in 2021 in the International Journal of Esports (yes, there are actually two scientific journals that focus on Esports) by Poulus and colleagues.

In the rapidly evolving Esports industry, gamers – particularly professional ones – seek to improve their performance. Similar to traditional sports athletes, Esports athletes experience stressors of various kinds. Due to the similarities, it is expected that progamers (and gamers in general) experience stress from a multitude of sources.

The aim of the study was to identify stressors experienced by competitive Esports athletes. The authors surveyed 270 gamers from the top five team-based Esports in the top 40% (based on the in-game rank). “Esports athletes” in their study does not mean that gamers are professional (progamer), but rather gamers who play Esports titles DotA2, LoL, Overwatch, CS:GO, LoL, and Rainbow 6: Siege. However, 37 (13.7%) of the participants said they competed as professionals.

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😨 Stressors in Esports and Traditional Sports

The table below shows the first- and second-order stressors categories found, including the frequency and percentages.

First-order stressors were performance, teammates, external individuals, balancing life commitments, and technical issues. Interestingly, “teammates” was the number one mentioned stressor. In that category, anti-social behavior, communication, as well as general problems (teammates that do not handle failures well) were named most frequently. Second place took general performance (poor team performance) and outcome in the performance stressor. This echoes the findings of other studies we’ve looked at the weeks before.

“Balancing life commitments refers to participants who reported that a stressor in relation to their gaming was a difficulty balancing gaming with the rest of their lives (e.g., “Due to university work, playing any video games, esports included, I feel stressed that I could/should be working more).” - Poulus et al., 2021

In the table below, you can see the higher-order stressors, frequency, and percentage for the six Esports titles.

Gamers in the top 40 to 99% reported teammate stressors most of the time. Interestingly, only the group of gamers (assumedly amateur, semi-, or professional athletes) in the top 1% “reported more performance-related stressors than teammate stressors.”

🕹️ For the Average Gamer

For us, the average gamer, teammates appear to be the biggest source of stress when playing. Particularly, anti-social behavior a.k.a. toxic behavior is apparent. In addition, putting pressure on oneself (or teammates) by expecting high performance is a major source of stress, too. In order to not feel (as) stressed when playing, consider playing with friends instead of queuing up solo, muting toxic teammates, and not hitting the play button with the goal in mind to necessarily win – recreational gaming is about having fun. Let's keep it that way.

Hope you all have a great Christmas and holidays. 🎅 Cheers,

Christian 🌝
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