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    Is public investment in E-Sports a good idea?

    Malaysia seems about to embark on creating a new industry centered around playing video games. Such an industry would make Malaysia unique as one of the few countries that seem to be embracing an activity that encourages a sedentary lifestyle and asocial behavior but the idea seems to have growing support from the government. Think of the long-term consequences of such an industry. Is this a good idea?

    It depends on who you ask. Winners would include the few top gamers who emerge to capture whatever purse is available in the various tournaments, sponsors who support (financially) large gaming tournaments, and software developers (the people who actually write the games). But are there losers in such an industry? Yes, unfortunately there are and they would include any youth who believe that a life of professional gaming is a viable career choice.

    Over the past year or so the evolution of E-Sports, the market friendly term for video gaming, has been getting a lot of attention in the Malaysian press. This comes at a time when excessive video gaming is on the verge of being classified as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization and when many parents lament the time spent by their children in this time-wasting, health destroying pastime.

    During the 1980s when video games were confined to large consoles found only in gaming centers, authorities prevented these centers from opening, raided them frequently, or actively discouraged youth from going to them. Thirty years later it's a different story, gaming is now OK, and if the press reports are right, encouraged by the government who now seems intent on creating a video gaming or E-Sports industry.

    There are two problems with this initiative. First is its association with sports. While there may be competition between players in video games no rational person would classify it as sport. The traditional idea of sport involves some kind of physical activity. This is part of the reason countries embrace sport; it helps people stay healthy. E-Sports are the exact opposite of the kind of this concept.

    It's true that video gaming is very popular and kids love to play them but that is not a reason for public promotion. Popular they may be, but so is smoking and other unhealthy activities.

    The second problem is directly related to long-term health of those who overdo it with video games. Lack of physical activity, low or no interaction with others, poor diet, etc. are all part of becoming a video gaming celebrity. Just as any other endeavor, it takes a long time to reach a level of proficiency in these games to actually be successful. But at what cost?

    To become a professional gamer will require one to be immersed in the games leading to possible addiction, unhealthy lifestyle, violent and aggressive behavior, an unsocial and isolated life, a possible increase in depression and anxiety, and not to mention the big four lifestyle diseases of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, which are all associated with low physical activity levels.

    Parents may use video games as a way to occupy youngsters for short periods, at first, but if Junior gets drawn to the dark side and starts spending all his free time staring at the gaming screen parents get alarmed and begin looking for healthier alternatives. Adding to this problem are parents themselves that get sucked into black hole of gaming. This is not just a kid thing. Adults as well can become addicted to what starts as a pastime and then takes over their life.

    Video games can be great entertainment and this article is not an attack on video games themselves but rather the misguided notion that video gaming is a possible career. If E-Sports can make it on their own then so be it but this is not an industry that should be supported with public funds.

    --------
    Bill Price (price@ussa-my.com) is the Chief Information Officer at USSA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

    All articles

    Efficiency tips for coaches: What can you do to work more efficiently? (Part 1) - 19 February 2018


    What kind of fun do you have in sport? - 05 February 2018


    Is public investment in E-Sports a good idea? - 29 January 2018


    LTAD: Training to compete - 22 January 2018


    Sport clubs are the lifeblood of national sport development. They need help from sport associations to do their job. - 15 January 2018


    YES! Malaysia is starting to talk about sport structure! - 08 January 2018


    Why are there no local coaches to take Zhuliang's place? - 25 December 2017


    Sometimes taking risks is the only way to improve: Take a chance! - 18 December 2017


    How we calculate age can have benefits, and consequences, in youth sports - 11 December 2017


    What is bio-banding? Can it help reduce the relative age effect in sport? - 04 December 2017


    Three problems facing Malaysian sport - 27 November 2017


    Understanding the role that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play in the athlete development process - 20 November 2017


    Great expectations: Expect more, get more! What we learn from raising the bar in sport performance - 14 November 2017


    Malaysia's sibutramine incident offers a glimpse into the complexity of the drugs in sport issue - 06 November 2017


    Want to lose weight? Try the USSA Malaysia 1-month, 'Choose Water' challenge - 30 October 2017


    Swimming disputes in Sarawak highlight governance, development, and data issues - 23 October 2017


    You're out! BAM eliminates players from Super Series and Grand Prix Gold tournaments unless they join BAM program - 10 October 2017


    Is American football about to meet its Waterloo? - 02 October 2017


    Why process is far more important than outcome in a learning environment - 25 September 2017


    Sport associations are embracing physical literacy training - 18 September 2017


    Creating a true sport development system in Malaysia - 11 September 2017


    Who won the SEA Games? - 04 September 2017


    KL2017: Reporting individual sport results deserved better planning - 29 August 2017


    Is the SEA Games event program too big? - 21 August 2017


    Bicycling safety tips - 14 August 2017


    Can we please forget about ways to identify talent and just work on getting more athletes? - 07 August 2017


    The difference between sport and energy drinks - 31 July 2017


    Using the team selection process to boost motivation and increase athlete participation - 24 July 2017


    Physical education is not the same thing as physical activity - 17 July 2017


    LTAD: The Train to Train stage - 10 July 2017


    Training for performance vs. exercising for weight loss. Yes, there's a difference! - 03 July 2017


    LTAD: The Learn-to-Train stage - 26 June 2017


    When it comes to fitness, ROUTINE is the magic word - 19 June 2017


    Athletic training for youngsters - 12 June 2017


    Visualization and imagery in sports - 05 June 2017


    Young, single-sport athletes suffer more injuries and do not reach their full potential - 29 May 2017


    Transformational vs. transactional coaching - 23 May 2017


    Happy Teacher's Day! - 16 May 2017


    Footballing in Pyongyang? - 15 May 2017


    Will they come back tomorrow? The most important KPI for youth sport coaches - 08 May 2017


    Advice to parents of young athletes - 01 May 2017


    Need to lose weight? Stop drinking sugar - 26 April 2017


    Some thoughts on the National Football Development Plan - 18 April 2017


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    Is VIP leadership of sport associations a good idea? - 22 March 2017


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    Malaysian schoolchildren study illustrates relative age effect - 13 February 2017


    What is the anaerobic threshold? - 06 February 2017


    "Naturalization is the key to sport success." Really? - 30 January 2017


    Knowing the difference between a sports program and a sports team is the difference between high performance and poor performance - 23 January 2017


    "Where do athletes come from?" A paper presented at the Kuching sport psychology conference - 16 January 2017


    Understanding sport talent pathways - 09 January 2017


    Make 2017 the year of the growth mindset - 02 January 2017


    Individualism vs. collectivism in sport - 26 December 2016


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    Teaching physical literacy skills in youth sport practices - 12 December 2016


    Developing sport from the ground up: How does the process really work? - 05 December 2016


    A focus on professional events and Hollywood production values can hinder real sport development - 28 November 2016


    Pay for what you want: Why less government funding may be the best strategy for sport development - 21 November 2016


    The 10,000 hour rule: "Not for the faint of heart nor for the impatient" - 14 November 2016


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    Physical literacy or physical education: Which is it? - 31 October 2016


    How to do the measurements for determining peak height velocity (PHV) - 24 October 2016


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    Tips on creating an effective coaching environment - 10 October 2016


    What is a therapeutic use exemption and is it cheating? - 03 October 2016


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    The attrition and transformation models of sport development - 05 September 2016


    Solve for <X> - 29 August 2016


    Parental support is vital to sport success - 22 August 2016


    Artificial elimination of athletes from training and competition hinders sport development in Malaysia - 15 August 2016


    A sport development system vs. just being lucky - 08 August 2016


    Time is the most important factor in talent development - 01 August 2016


    The IOC is wrong: Russia should have been banned from Rio - 28 July 2016


    Building pyramids: A lesson in goal setting - 20 June 2016


    What if opportunity never knocks? - 13 June 2016


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    Early sport specialization is not a good development strategy - 30 May 2016


    It's time to stop talking about BMI - 24 May 2016


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    What does a declining population mean for sport? - 2 February 2016


    McClung launches Healthy Lifestyle book at convocation ceremony - 01 January 2016


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    LTAD: The Learn-to-Train stage - 26 June 2017


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    Athletic training for youngsters - 12 June 2017


    Visualization and imagery in sports - 05 June 2017


    Young, single-sport athletes suffer more injuries and do not reach their full potential - 29 May 2017


    Transformational vs. transactional coaching - 23 May 2017


    Happy Teacher's Day! - 16 May 2017


    Footballing in Pyongyang? - 15 May 2017


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    Advice to parents of young athletes - 01 May 2017


    Need to lose weight? Stop drinking sugar - 26 April 2017


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    Talk, Show, and GO! Long descriptions in PE class hinder learning - 03 April 2017


    Is VIP leadership of sport associations a good idea? - 22 March 2017


    PLKN Training of Trainers completed in Malaka - 13 March 2017


    Pre- and post-testing for 6 fitness elements in PLKN camps - 06 March 2017


    What happens after an athlete's initial introduction to sport? - 27 February 2017


    Every Student, Every Day: Let's make physical education part of every student's school day - 20 February 2017


    Malaysian schoolchildren study illustrates relative age effect - 13 February 2017


    What is the anaerobic threshold? - 06 February 2017


    "Naturalization is the key to sport success." Really? - 30 January 2017


    Knowing the difference between a sports program and a sports team is the difference between high performance and poor performance - 23 January 2017


    "Where do athletes come from?" A paper presented at the Kuching sport psychology conference - 16 January 2017


    Understanding sport talent pathways - 09 January 2017


    Make 2017 the year of the growth mindset - 02 January 2017


    Individualism vs. collectivism in sport - 26 December 2016


    Performance Data Project releases percentile tables for International Physical Performance Test - 19 December 2016


    Teaching physical literacy skills in youth sport practices - 12 December 2016


    Developing sport from the ground up: How does the process really work? - 05 December 2016


    A focus on professional events and Hollywood production values can hinder real sport development - 28 November 2016


    Pay for what you want: Why less government funding may be the best strategy for sport development - 21 November 2016


    The 10,000 hour rule: "Not for the faint of heart nor for the impatient" - 14 November 2016


    Parent involvement in their child's sport participation sometimes backfires - 07 November 2016


    Physical literacy or physical education: Which is it? - 31 October 2016


    How to do the measurements for determining peak height velocity (PHV) - 24 October 2016


    A foreign coach is not always the answer - 17 October 2016


    Tips on creating an effective coaching environment - 10 October 2016


    What is a therapeutic use exemption and is it cheating? - 03 October 2016


    Peak height velocity and aerobic development: Using simple measurement data to inform training decisions - 26 September 2016


    Early sport specialization is still not a good idea - 19 September 2016


    What kind of data do we need to develop sports? - 12 September 2016


    The attrition and transformation models of sport development - 05 September 2016


    Solve for <X> - 29 August 2016


    Parental support is vital to sport success - 22 August 2016


    Artificial elimination of athletes from training and competition hinders sport development in Malaysia - 15 August 2016


    A sport development system vs. just being lucky - 08 August 2016


    Time is the most important factor in talent development - 01 August 2016


    The IOC is wrong: Russia should have been banned from Rio - 28 July 2016


    Building pyramids: A lesson in goal setting - 20 June 2016


    What if opportunity never knocks? - 13 June 2016


    The long-term athlete development framework offers youngsters a chance at sport success and an active and healthy life - 06 June 2016


    Early sport specialization is not a good development strategy - 30 May 2016


    It's time to stop talking about BMI - 24 May 2016


    Happy Teachers' Day! - 16 May 2016


    USSA Malaysia at official Khidmat Negara 2.0 launch - 27 April 2016


    Changing the SEA Games event list ignores key sport development principles - 16 April 2016


    Welcome PLKN trainers! - 25 March 2016


    Malaysian youth are not overweight, but they're not active either - 15 February 2016


    Cycling coach hits the nail on the head - 5 February 2016


    What does a declining population mean for sport? - 2 February 2016


    McClung launches Healthy Lifestyle book at convocation ceremony - 01 January 2016


    Almost 500 graduates attend convocation at the Institut Latihan DBKL - 09 December 2015


    REMINDER: Deadline to register for convocation is 27 November! - 25 November 2015


    Convocation registration is now open! - 20 November 2015


    Coaching 'flow' - 11 November 2015


    The coach's role in creating a deliberate practice environment - 02 November 2015


    USSA Malaysia teaching Fit4Life module in Khidmat Negara pilot - 26 October 2015


    IDPESC convocation set for Thursday, 3 December - 29 September 2015


    When should athletes specialize in a single sport? - 11 September 2015


    Physical literacy: The Holy Grail of health, wellness, and sport development - 1 September 2015


    Selamat Hari Merdeka! - 31 August 2015


    IDPESC '14 grades are available in student portals - 29 August 2015


    IDPESC students should verify their personal information in the student portal - 26 August 2015


    Convocation lists for IDPESC 2014 are being finalized - 22 August 2015


    Ten minutes to aerobic fitness - 17 August 2015


    Revisiting the 10,000 hour rule: Practical thoughts on talent and practice - 10 August 2015


    The one-minute exercise program - 01 August 2015


    The power of 'not yet' - 20 July 2015


    20 things a physical education teacher knows that you don’t (part 2) - 13 July 2015


    20 things a physical education teacher knows that you don’t - 06 July 2015


    Playing football in class is not physical education - 29 June 2015


    Why is there no grade for the CEE 526 data submission? - 28 June 2015


    Let's stop trying to identify sport talent and start developing it - 22 June 2015


    Account recovery process streamlined - 19 June 2015


    Seeing and listening use different parts of the brain - 15 June 2015


    All IDPESC assignments and performance data is due by 30 June - 12 June 2015


    Ban the sit-up - 09 June 2015


    Assignments highlighted in red need to be resubmitted - 30 May 2015


    Age and sex of performance testing subjects are determined by their IC number - 23 May 2015


    Happy Teacher's Day! - 16 May 2015


    30 May deadline for second batch of IDPESC assignments - 12 May 2015


    USSA-MY gets new look - 11 May 2015