The spike in popularity of eSports – almost like a “gold rush” some say – may lead to a prevalence in addiction-related problems in the country.
“There have been numerous individuals who have experienced various mental health disorders as a result of their gaming, such as a dependency for the games – withdrawal from them can result in numerous negative reactions not unlike that experienced by those suffering from a gambling addiction,” said clinical psychologist Joel Low of The Mind Psychological Services and Training.
Former gaming addict turned motivational speaker Cam Adair fears that problems will escalate soon.
“With the influx of revenue into eSports, and with college eSports and high school leagues, there’s little doubt that eSports is set to explode. I see it as an exasperating issue because now kids will be able to justify their excessive gaming habits as a potential career choice, or in view of a college scholarship, or to be the next eSports star,” said Adair, who shared his own gaming addiction story with The Star.
Indeed, many a Malaysian youth is going to be enticed by the earnings of players like Jian Wei “xNova” Yap (from team PSG.LGD) who has been competing in Dota 2 since 2013, and made it to the “Top 10 highest-earning eSports athletes” by Fox Sports Asia, with total winnings of US$1.09mil (RM4.3mil) last year.
There is little doubt also that eSports is on the rise in Malaysia, especially with the RM10mil budget allocation for eSports, and the backing of tournaments such as the Dota 2 Kuala Lumpur Major by the Youth and Sports Ministry and the National Sports Council of Malaysia last year.