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Predicting catastrophic behaviour changes that occur during prolonged video game playing
January 2023 - May 2023
Arizona State University
Casual and competitive video game playing has become one of the fastest-growing human activities. While the debate of whether eSports should be included in the realm of sports or entertainment is still ongoing, millions of people are involved in eSports competitions, and thousands of people make a living out of it. Additionally, hundreds of millions of casual players around the globe spend a few hours a week competing with their peers in various forms of video gaming.
Winning or losing in eSports competitions comes down to a few essential items that are virtually indistinguishable from the items that crown winners in traditional sports: training, readiness, and talent. While training in traditional sports has been optimized over thousands of years, eSports training is still guided by ad-hoc and gut-feel principles with little or no scientific basis. Furthermore, due to some fundamentally different particularities of eSports, most of the training and performance-oriented techniques developed for traditional sports can not be immediately extrapolated and/or translated to eSports. Two performance concepts stand out when talking about eSports performance: ‘Tilt’ and ‘Flow.’ They are both rooted in several anecdotal observations (players, coaches, viewers) that can fundamentally be summarized as ‘winning streaks’ and ‘losing streaks’ that have some unknown root causes but seem to occur frequently during a game. Needless to say, even the basic (statistical) concept has not been fully defined and/or proven scientifically, and there is virtually no information about what causes these winning/losing streaks to occur. In the absence of any reliable scientific information, they are little more than a ‘hot-hand’ fallacy.
In this context, I endeavor to study the fundamentals of these two concepts through proven scientific methods related to human physiology, neuro-motor control, and emotional/cognitive behaviors.