Performance-enhancing drugs have made their way to the eSports arena.
Electronic Sports League, the professional eSports organization, will start testing gamers for drugs in the wake of players admitting that they used Adderall during a tournament to help improve their focus and skills, Motherboard reported.
Earlier this month, Kotaku noted how a professional Counter-Strike player said “we were all on Adderall” during an ESL event in March.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the ESL won’t punish the players who admitted to taking Adderall, but going forward the league will randomly-test players at its tournaments for drugs prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Rahul Sood, founder and CEO of Seattle-based eSports betting platform Unikrn, told GeekWire that drug testing in eSports is necessary, just as it is with other sports.
“This move is great for the industry,” he said. “eSports is becoming more mainstream by the day, and these players are revered — they’re like rockstars.”
Sood added that that the twitch response required to play some games at a high level “is absolutely insane” given that players must make quick decisions almost instantly.
“Most of the pro gamers I know take good care of themselves physically and mentally, but the pressure to perform at any given time is extremely high,” he said.
If anything, the drug testing is a clear signal of eSports’ massive growth and popularity. eSports is fast becoming one of the largest sports globally, attracting viewer numbers and prize dollars that are on par with traditional sports such as football and basketball. ESPN noted that 205 million people watched or played eSports in 2014.