Irish research lab to focus on esport ‘athletes’
Researchers aim to improve performance of Irish gamers
Pictured at the Lero Esports Science research lab are (from left) postgraduate researcher Jessica Mangione, research assistant Niall Ramsbottom, programme manager Dr Adam Toth, postgraduate researcher Yueying Gong and lab Director Dr Mark Campbell. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/True Media
Software research centre Lero has opened Ireland’s first esports research lab as it tries to identify the traits that make the best gamers.
The lab, at University of Limerick, will carry out studies aimed at improving the performance of both amateur and professional players in the growing esports scene, examining things such as mouse grip, peripheral vision and aural range.
One potential application is in psychometric software, using eye tracking and brain imaging to measure the neural, cognitive and physical attributes of the most effective players.
“This is a massive growth sector. Top professional players can earn millions of dollars per annum. However, unlike other professional sports, there has been very little application of sports science to the participants to date,” said Dr Mark Campbell, director of the Lero esports research lab. “Our research lab will combine health science and computing to identify what makes a great player.”
Last month’s Fortnite World Cup in New York saw US teenager Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf take home $3 million (€2.7 million). Ireland’s top esports player is Jordan Crowley, who earned almost $250,000 in 2018 according to figures compiled by the esports earnings website.
“Esports represent a rapidly growing billion-dollar global industry which is using innovation to push the boundaries of technology,” said Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland.
“This new Lero SFI Research Centre lab will help bring about greater levels of international visibility to the games industry, solidifying expertise across Irish third level institutions and industry.”
This is not Lero’s first attempt at analysing esports; the centre has already analysed players at international tournaments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends.