Doping isn’t just for athletes anymore. On Wednesday, the Electronic Sports League (ESL) announced that it will start screening professional video game players for performance-enhancing drugs at a competition this August. The move comes after prominent gamer Kory Friesen let slip, in a recent interview, that his team had taken Adderall at an ESL competition.
“We were all on Adderall. . . . Tons of people do it,” Friesen said in a YouTube video of the interview. The ESL has had antidoping rules in place for some time, but they were loosely enforced and did not call out specific drugs. Now, the organization is working with the National Anti-Doping Agency of Germany to hammer out a new policy, and it will look to the World Anti-Doping Agency to help mandate those rules.
One of the biggest issues with regulating gaming is that many tournaments–particularly early rounds–may take place online, so it’s impossible to detect if a player is taking drugs. The ESL noted that the best course of action may be to nix the concept of online competitions altogether, if it means keeping tabs on gamers.
“We want to create a level playing field for all competitors and maintain the integrity of the sport,” James Lampkin, ESL’s VP of professional gaming, told The New York Times. The ESL’s decision, which essentially gives e-sports the same treatment as traditional sports, makes clear that professional gaming is here to stay: This year alone, the business is projected to bring in more than $250 million in revenue globally.
[via The New York Times]