The world of e-sports is making its mark in Ireland with 22pc of Irish adults watching or participating in competitive video-gaming.

A study of 1,000 adults by Censuswide on behalf of Pure Telecom found that the Fortnite and League of Legends bug of online tournaments has bitten and, in some counties, a third of the adult population is hooked on e-sports.

At 33pc of the county’s adult population, Laois residents are the biggest streamers of e-sports in the country, followed by Dublin (29pc) and Limerick (27pc).

Men are more likely to follow e-sports than women, with 34pc streaming esports weekly compared to only 16pc of women.

The survey also looked into the wider growth of online gaming in Ireland. More than one-third (36pc) of Irish adults say they play video games that rely on internet connectivity. When it comes to time spent playing video games online, the average gamer spends six hours per week playing online, rising to 10 hours for Gen Z gamers (aged 16 – 22).

In it to win it

Man in blue jacket with arms folded.

Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom

Pure Telecom’s research found that the majority of gamers use two or more devices for gaming and watching esports, with multi-device streaming demanding significant bandwidth.

Fast upload and download speeds, as well as large amounts of data, are all required for online gaming, and 46pc of online gamers indicated they would – or already do – pay more for their internet service to enable more effective online gaming.

“The e-sports community is huge in Ireland and the survey has helped to show the extent of this,” said Paul Connell, CEO of Pure Telecom.

“The results also show the growing popularity of online gaming and e-sports amongst younger generations, pointing to this becoming one of the leading forms of entertainment in the near-future.

“Clearly the growth of competitive e-sports is a significant contributor to the demand for high speed broadband. We know that people who have faster broadband enjoy a significant advantage over those with slow speeds, especially in the highly popular first-person shooter genre.”

A big bet on tomorrow

Two men and a woman playing video games.

Pictured at the Lero E-sports Science Research Lab are, from left, software lead Prof Conor Ryan, postgraduate researcher Yueying Gong, and lab director Dr Mark Campbell. Image: Diarmuid Greene, True Media

In recent months it emerged that Ireland’s first e-sports research lab at Science Foundation’s Lero software research centre in Limerick had opened its doors.

The idea of the centre is to grow the visibility of Ireland to the rapidly expanding multi-billion-dollar e-sports industry.

“This is a massive growth sector,” said Dr Mark Campbell, director of the new Lero e-sports research lab at the time.

“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,” he explained.

“Our research lab will combine health science and computing to identify what makes a great player. For example, we will work on psychometric software incorporating eye tracking and brain imaging to measure the neural, cognitive and physical attributes of the most effective players.”

Main image of gamers: Anthony Brolin on Unsplash

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 18 October, 2019

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