It’s not just traditional sports that have to worry about performance-enhancing drugs. In the wake of an ongoing controversy surrounding the abuse of Adderall by e-sports players, the Electronic Sports League has said that it will introduce policies to keep drugs out of virtual sports. Adderall is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, but also has the side effect of making people more alert and improving reaction times, making it ideal for e-sports like Counter-Strike, where split-second reactions can mean the difference between winning and losing. While use of performance-enhancing drugs in e-sports has long been speculated – a lengthy Eurogamer report in August suggested that it was widespread – few players openly admitted to it before Friesen. While it’s not clear what kind of punishments the ESL might enforce for those caught using such drugs, the group says that the enforcement won’t be retroactive – so Friesen and his teammates won’t be punished for the admission.
The world’s most famous e-sports tournament, The International, will be kicking off on August 3rd with a record-breaking $17.2 million prize pool. In order to maintain the spirit of fair play within e-sports, ESL has partnered with NADA to help create an anti-PED policy that is fair, feasible, and conclusive while also respecting the privacy of players. ESL will also be meeting with WADA so they can be actively involved in the making, enforcing, and dissemination of this policy to additional regions such as the US, Asia, and Australia.
Are We About to Witness the Death of Microtransactions?
Microtransactions have never been a bigger or more important part of the video game world. Each day brings news of a new game adding them, or the announcement of how they’ll work in the next big AAA release. At the same time, we’re starting to see how gamers are reacting. For a more modern take, just look at a game like Pokemon Go, which allows players to buy items, but doesn’t force them on the player. It’s admittedly tough to come up with more and better examples, because microtransactions have been used so poorly by most developers, but the idea isn’t necessarily bad.
It has, for the most part, been used poorly within video games though. The real problem with microtransactions is how these things incentivize poor game design. These incidents have made gamers, especially those in the mainstream, much more aware of microtransactions and how they impact the games that they play. If gamers want to be a part of the death of microtransactions, then maybe it’s up to them to close their wallets. Players often exploit the game’s systems to earn as many crates or keys as possible in order to earn the most amount of money.
These systems are only getting more and more popular, and the controversy surrounding them is still rather tepid, unless you run in the more hardcore gaming circles. Gamers are mostly tired of all the microtransactions, to the point that even the simple ones are viewed as an anathema. It’s gotten to the point where the announcement that a game won’t have them is cause for celebration.