Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, has opened Ireland’s first esports research lab. The new lab is located in University of Limerick, at the headquarters of Lero, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre.
Lero researchers at UL will conduct studies designed to boost performance of international amateur and professional esports players.
The earnings potential of esports was highlighted by last month’s Fortnite World Cup in New York where US teenager Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, 16, won $3m. Dublin teenager Joshua Juliano, 17, took home $50,000 from the same event. Prize money in 2018 exceeded $160m and for one event reached $25m. Ireland’s top esports player, Jordan Crowley earned almost $250,000 in 2018 according to the esports earnings website.
Revenues of global esports, or competitive video games played for spectators, will grow to $1.1 billion in 2019, a year-on-year growth of 26.7% according to analytics company Newzoo. The total global esports audience will grow to 453.8 million in 2019, a year-on-year growth of 15.0%.
Commenting on the new lab, Director of the Lero esports research lab, Dr Mark Campbell said, "This is a massive growth sector. 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. Our research lab will combine health science and computing to identify what makes a great player."
Lero researcher at UL, Prof. Conor Ryan added, "We will work with both amateur and professional players. The research will include detailed monitoring of numerous functions from mouse grip to players' peripheral vision and aural range. The findings will be of benefit to players, managers and sponsors of professional esports teams and could contribute to the design of future computer peripherals."