Home Esports The Dark Side of Esports: Risks and Challenges in Competitive Gaming

The Dark Side of Esports: Risks and Challenges in Competitive Gaming

by David Manyun
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League of Legends Championship

The esports sector has experienced tremendous expansion. The size of tournaments has increased. There is an increasing focus on prize money, and a growing audience is tuning in to major events on which they can wager at the best esports betting sites. Due to the game’s immense popularity, many individuals aspire to become professionals and pursue it as a profession.

Understanding the potential drawbacks of entering the industry is more difficult than one might expect. A gamer aspires to become a professional player. Still, they must be cognizant of the negative side of esports before committing to the level of effort required to pursue an esports career.

In today’s article, we’re taking a deeper dive into the dark side of esports, including topics around doping, cheating, health, and game fixing.

Cheaters Exist

There are various classifications of cheating (Ghoshal 2019). Software scams may exhibit a variety of qualities. For instance, cheat programs may guarantee the player the ability to traverse barriers or program a weapon to target and discharge upon the opponent instantly. Additionally, cheat codes are available for entry into video games. Cheating players who enter these codes also acquire unjust advantages, including supplementary resources in bullion or other in-game currencies.

Furthermore, online gaming is susceptible to “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) assaults. These deliberately bombard the online connection of the opposing participant with superfluous traffic. Desperate and lagging, the video game is the consequence.

Publishers, organizers, and other esports stakeholders are perpetually formulating strategies to deter and counteract deception. This applies to anti-cheating software, for instance (Czegledy 2021).

Additional forms of deception exist in addition to those listed above. For instance, eBiker Cameron Jeffers cheated during the esports championships of British cycling by utilizing a manipulated and enhanced virtual cycle.

Doping Isn’t Just for Physical Sports

Presently, esports is a multibillion-dollar sector of entertainment that is expanding at an astounding rate; by 2030, it is anticipated to generate close to $5 billion. That is more money than La Liga or the National Hockey League.

The earning potential attached to that amount of money increases the strain to succeed. This pressure to succeed is accompanied by an increase in drug use, which has been observed in other sports as well.

For instance, the substance Adderall is utilized to deceive in esports. To treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, this medication is administered.

Esports’ fragmentation among numerous leagues is a significant factor contributing to the absence of anti-doping enforcement, in contrast to major league sports that operate under a centralized regulating authority. These organizations lack the authority and determination to regulate themselves in this matter. Numerous regulatory organizations aspire to establish dominance in this domain; however, their nascent stages render them powerless to persuade major game publishers to affix their signatures.

Match Fixing in Esports

Lee "Life" Seung Hyun

Various regulatory bodies diligently oversee traditional sports to ensure no integrity issues arise. However, match-fixing is a distinct possibility in the nascent industry of esports.

Match manipulation is pervasive, according to Ian Smith, an integrity commissioner for the Esports Integrity Commission and an attorney based in the United Kingdom. Certain participants perceive a chance to manipulate the results and place substantial bets against themselves.

Organized activities, wherein wagering syndicates bribe participants, are even more perilous. There are also instances of this occurring on a smaller scale, such as in battle royales, where participants collude beforehand even though the event is intended to be free-for-all.

Lee Seung-Hyun, widely regarded as one of the greatest StarCraft II players of all time, was found guilty of tossing two matches in South Korea in 2016. In addition to a life prohibition from esports, he was penalised 70 million local currency and given an 18-month prison sentence.

According to a 2019 report by Bloomberg, six professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players were detained in Australia by police for unlawfully betting on their defeats and causing at least five tournament matches to be lost on purpose.

The extent of the harm inflicted by a match-fixing case is considerably greater than initially perceived. It deceives sponsors, supporters, innocent organizations, players, and organizations from what we originally agreed to. It’s just a competition. Consider the number of esports participants who would abandon the scene if there was no way to verify that matches are not manipulated.

Health Concerns in Esports

Regrettably, gaming is associated with considerable health hazards. I must emphasize, nevertheless, that competition does not pertain to health. To maintain your health, avoid repetitive competition.

Engaging in the pursuit of attaining perfection in any endeavor carries inherent dangers. Powerlifters may injure their backs, baseball pitchers may injure their shoulders, and marathon runners may hurt their knees.

Players should not, however, passively embrace the danger and remain unchallenged.


Typically, 10% of a community becomes dependent on something that can be addictive. Thus, approximately 10% of individuals residing in societies where alcohol is widely consumed will develop an alcohol addiction.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that excessive gaming can result in a condition known as ‘gaming disorder.’ Therefore, it is detrimental for the gaming community to ignore the negative effects when pointed out by outsiders.

In fact, a gamer passed away in an internet café in 2011 after engaging in nonstop gaming for three days, and 2014 saw the demise of an infant whose parents neglected it because of their gaming addiction.

No Union

Athletic player unions are organized associations whose mission is to advocate for athletes’ rights and interests while protecting them.

This is not present in esports at this time. This means that no regulations or statutes govern how organizations should regard their players.

Unions encourage members to have a voice. Currently, the most influence over esports decisions resides with organizations, team proprietors, and tournament/league organizers. In principle, a union in esports would defend participants from exploitation and commodity-like treatment.

It’s Time for Regulation

Despite its evident negative aspects, esports continues to exist. The following phase is to regulate it more consistently and effectively.

Already, several measures have been implemented. Certain tournament organizers and the Esports Integrity Coalition actively try to prevent match manipulation. The Advertising Standards Authority is attempting to regulate youth-oriented esports advertisements.

author avatar
David Manyun
Hailing from the West Midlands, David is a freelance sports journalist with a focus on both written and visual sports content. Building a reputation for precise pre-fight predictions, he gains recognition for his thorough fight analysis and extensive knowledge of contenders and fight history in his rapidly evolving field.

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