It’s becoming more and more of a real thing: eSports. It may seem like video games have not much to do with sports, but the reality seems to be quite the contrary. Yet recently, there have been reports of performance enhancing drugs used by video gamers at important tournaments.
This does not bode well for the already shady reputation of video gamers as actual competitors in sporting competitions. The world has come a long way in accepting that playing StarCraft can be a professional occupation, or that not only prepubescent pimple covered weirdos play Counter-Strike. Or that Dota2 has such a big tournament with 17 million dollars in prize money.
This recent drug scandal does not help. Anything. It brings up the question: how can substance-abusers win such grand prizes? This does not necessarily move eSports away from actual sports, since substance abusers have been a constant presence, sadly, in typical sports as well.
The current matter has been analyzed by the Electronic Sports League, which is a big part of many major tournaments, including the upcoming Dota2 event in August.
This is how the story goes: a few weeks ago, one ESL registered player, Kory Friesen, has spoken about participating in an older tournament while being under the influence, or doped, to use the actual sporting term. He and his former Counter-Strike team participated in an event boasting a prize of no less than $250,000. With such a prize involved, it is no wonder that the guys at the ESL want to really delve into this issue.
The team’s behavior has been described as hectic by the ESL commentators. Subsequently, in a video after the event, Friesen and another team member admitted to using the drug Adderall to enhance their performance. What is worse is it seems that they were perfectly okay with using it, and said that “tons of people” are also doing the same.
Friesen has since left his former team, and is now playing for Nihilum and are expected to go to a further event in August called the ESL One Cologne. The prize there will be just as big as the previous. There, the ELS states that it will begin implementing skin tests designed to detect drugs in players.
The Electronic Sports League, the biggest of all such leagues, has 5 million players registered. This could be a major move that could signal the growing of eSports into something increasingly serious. Alcohol and drugs were already banned from all such events, yet this will be the first attempt to test the gamers.
To test them, the ESL plans to work together with both the World Anti-Doping Agency as well as the local German agency that deals with such matters.