Lero teams up with Nvidia to help gamers win $540m e-sports prize share

29 Mar 2022

From left: Prof Conor Ryan, postgraduate researcher Yueying Gong and Dr Mark Campbell at Lero’s Esports Science Research Lab. Image: Diarmuid Greene/True Media

The team is looking for volunteers to help them analyse the human and computer factors in e-sports to optimise gamer performance.

Researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for software, have teamed up with Nvidia to help gamers improve their chances of winning e-sports prize money.

The research is being led by Dr Mark Campbell and Dr Adam Toth of Lero’s Esports Science Research Lab, based at the University of Limerick (UL), who will look into the human and computer factors in e-sport performance.

Campbell said that e-sports is “big business” and the amount of prize money to be earned from e-sports is expected to reach more than $540m globally next year. The global gaming market was valued at more than $173bn last year and is expected to reach $314bn by 2027.

“The e-sports prize pool is expected to reach over $543m worldwide by 2023,” Campbell said. “The top earner, Johan Sundstein, who plays Dota2, has earned more than $7m. Ireland’s Jordan Crowley has won more than $270,000 to date.”

The research will look at both the human and computer factors in e-sports competitions, to see how these interact to optimise gaming performance. The team is looking for both gamer and non-gamer volunteers to participate in research at the UL e-sports lab.

“We will need between 80 and 120 volunteers, who will have their gaming skills assessed using specially designed Nvidia software, and we will give the participants feedback on their performance,” Toth said.

“It will take about an hour of their time, so people can travel from anywhere in the country to take part.”

Lero said this is the first time that Nvidia has partnered with a European institution for scientific research into e-sports.

“We believe that the Lero team will deliver world-class research that could benefit gamers around the world and potentially enable Nvidia to improve our products,” Nvidia VP of graphics research Dr David Luebke said.

Campbell expects the research to take around one year to complete before the results are published in peer-reviewed journals. Any volunteers who wish to apply can contact the team through email (esports.sciencelab@gmail.com).

Lero opened the country’s first e-sports research lab in 2019, located at its base in UL. The aim of the lab is to enable researchers to conduct studies designed to boost the performance of amateur and professional e-sports players around the world.

A study by Lero researchers last year suggested that gamers can significantly improve their skills by training for 10 minutes a day, with potential benefits to motor performance.

E-sports is a growing business in Ireland. Last October, League of Legends maker Riot Games shared its plans to open an e-sports broadcast centre in Dublin.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic