Esports organizers to clamp down on performance-enhancing drug use

Esports organizers to clamp do...
Gamers will be subjected to skin tests for PEDs at a major esports tournament next month
Gamers will be subjected to skin tests for PEDs at a major esports tournament next month
View 1 Image
Gamers will be subjected to skin tests for PEDs at a major esports tournament next month
Gamers will be subjected to skin tests for PEDs at a major esports tournament next month

Its competitors might not be faced with the exhausting mountain climbs of the Tour de France or the rigors of Major League Baseball, but that doesn't mean professional video gaming is free from the grip of doping in sports. The world's largest esports organization ESL, which hosts a US$250,000 Counter-Strike tournament in Germany next month, is partnering with anti-doping authorities to clamp down on gamers resorting to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to gain an edge.

The initiative is a first for the world of esports, but that doesn't mean drug use was exactly permitted before. The ESL (Electronic Sports League) rulebook states that "to play a match, be it online or offline, under the influence of any drugs, alcohol, or other performance enhancers is strictly prohibited, and may be punished with exclusion from the ESL One."

ESL One is a series of major tournaments with big money involved, drawing players from all over the world to battle it out in the wildly popular virtual worlds of Dota 2, Counter Strike and Battlefield 4. As competitive gaming has grown and attracted more dedicated professionals, sponsors, broadcasting deals and global audiences, so too has the pressure to perform.

Adderall, the apparent drug of choice for elite video gamers is a far cry from anabolic steroids or human growth hormones found in more physical sports, but has come to be indispensable for some all the same. This stimulant is normally prescribed for people with narcolepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but is also used as means of boosting concentration. The properties and those of similar medications like Ritalin have seen them labeled "study drugs", for their attractiveness to college students pulling all nighters ahead of exams.

Things boiled over when an off-the-cuff comment from a prolific Counter-Strike player earlier this month painted a picture of rampant Adderall use among the esport's elite. During an interview, Kory Friesen was speaking about his team's chaotic communications during a recent competition when he said, "I don't even care, we were all on Adderall, I don't even give a f*ck, like it's pretty obvious."

This has set the wheels in motion for a clampdown on drug use in ESL competitions. The organization has teamed up with Germany's anti-doping agency Nationale Anti-Doping Agentur (NADA) to draw up an PED policy that "is fair, reasonable and conclusive while also respecting the privacy of players." This will mean that players attending next month's Counter-Strike tournament will be subjected to PED skin tests in an effort to sniff out those playing outside the rules.

The ESL will then consult the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which is based in Montreal, Canada, to roll out similar approaches for other regions around the world.

Source: ESL

Asy long as you can make money with sports that stuff will happen. In my eyes all professional sports, including e-sport, is a cancer for our society that instigates and promotes substance abuse and criminal or fraudulent behaviour.
I have to assume they will not make exceptions for people with prescriptions for adderall because nearly everyone would just go out and have a doctor to write them a valid prescription.
On a more positive note I'm kind of hyped that the Dota 2 International is next week. In 2013 the prize pool for winners was ~3 million, it was 11 million in 2014, and it's up to about $17.5 million so far for 2015. Even the 12th place finishers this year will receive over $200k and last place is over $50k.
I'm pretty sure it's the biggest prize pool in esports and I've enjoyed watching the tournament over the last couple years.
Original cyberpunk author William Gibson predicted just this eventuality in gamer competition in the '80s, IIRC - cool story.
"Dogfight" - it was in Omni magazine in 1985.
What about online tournaments? How will they regulate those?