Esports series 7: Downsides of the industry
When it comes to esports, it’s easy to only see the positive sides to it all. Fame, epic plays and ridiculous prize money, thousands of viewers and fans and the newest gear… with all of that, it’s easy to ignore that the esports world also has its issues. These shouldn’t necessarily deter you from wanting to become an Overwatch pro, but it is something to keep in mind when seriously pursuing your dream.
Often lamented by parents, video game addiction is actually very rare. Nevertheless, it does happen, and it’s actually not the only kind of addiction you may come across. Doping is unfortunately also relatively common in the field, and sadly a very popular technique for unscrupulous trainers and esports athletes.
Pressure and stress can also lead to other kinds of substance abuse – in that regard, esports is no different from other sports and spotlight-careers. Steering clear of these issues is of course well possible, but these things do happen, so awareness is a must.
This issue is less of a concern to pro players themselves and more to sponsors and organisers, but corruption does occur and it is more widespread than you may think. From fixed matches to outright sabotage, some people are willing to go the extra mile to profiteer. Individual players may or may not be involved in these scams as well – after all, streamers and the like have previously been found to participate in scams and the like.
In cases where a player discovers this kind of going-on, they should always report it to the relevant body of authority, or ideally even more than one. Whether it’s a friend or even a coach, reporting this to ensure fairness is the only way to make sure that everyone gets to play to the best of their ability rather than encountering a foregone conclusion.
This particular issue is still running absolutely rampant in the esports and Overwatch community. In a regular game, it’s not unusual to encounter one or two extremely unpleasant and racist or sexist people, but this is an issue at a much larger scale.
It’s not uncommon to hear that another player or streamer made sexist or racist remarks, and that is beside an even bigger point: there isn’t all that much variety in esports pros. The Overwatch League for example, across all of its teams, only has one single female player. There are plenty of skilled young women out there, however, they don’t always receive the chances they should.
The same goes for those with little or no disposable income – even the most skilled of players would struggle to make it without financial support if they didn’t simply have the cash to travel to tournaments and the like.
Similarly, there is only one openly LGBT player in the League at the moment, and he has seen more than his fair share of hate for it. It takes good people to change the situation for the better, but those who want to be those people should be aware of issues before they climb to the top – being disillusioned then means it’s a little too late already.