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Better gyms and leisure surveyed over 2,000 people in the UK, including almost 1,000 gamers, on the benefits of gaming and their perceptions of what a gamer is.

  • 95% underestimate the physical activity and training regimes of pro gamers.

  • 86% of people in the UK don’t think eSports athletes deserve the same recognition and respect as traditional athletes.

  • Non-gamers get just 12 minutes more sleep per night than gamers.

  • Over a third of gamers say their attention has improved since starting gaming.

Copper Box Arena on Queen Elizabeth Park in East London celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary this year and is fast becoming the home of eSports in the UK, with a new study revealing the diverse image of gamers and eSports professionals across the country, as well as a host of positive impacts associated with gaming.

The research from Better, operators of the Copper Box Arena, found that 96% of gamers report positive impacts in their day-to-day lives, with benefits including improvements to their attention span (33%), stress relief (50%), a sense of escapism (48%), and improved mental health (30%). For many, gaming allows players to connect with others online and temporarily escape the stresses of the real world, with Copper Box Arena providing a huge platform for the gaming community to share in these benefits.

Copper Box Arena is drawing in avid eSports fans from all over the world, and Stuart Hutchison, General Manager at Copper Box Arena, said: “We’re immensely proud to be part of the emergence of eSports. Copper Box Arena is rapidly becoming the home of eSports in the UK after hosting huge tournaments such as League of Legends, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone Global Series Finals already this year.”

86% of people in the UK don’t think eSports athletes deserve the same recognition and respect as traditional athletes.

Despite the gaming industry’s rapid growth and the evident benefits of gaming, the study revealed that there is still some way to go to convince non-gamers, with many misconceptions of gaming still prevalent.

Overwhelmingly, 86% of respondents in the UK do not believe that eSports athletes deserve the same recognition and respect as traditional athletes. Furthermore, only one in five respondents viewed eSports as a legitimate form of competitive sport compared to traditional sports like football and rugby, and almost 9 in 10 Brits were unwilling to accept eSports into the Olympics.

Additionally, over half of the UK population (54%) believes gaming can cause some form of social isolation, and three in 10 feel it would encourage poor mental health. While our study showed gamers were actually spending more time outside than non-gamers, Brits still believe gaming would lead to a lack of exercise (58%), an unhealthy lifestyle (47%), and a poor diet (42%).

However, there is a glimmer of hope for eSports enthusiasts, as a quarter of Brits believe that eSports has the potential to attain the same level of popularity as traditional sports in the future, signifying potential growth amongst fans of the industry.

Commenting on the comparison, Nathan David, Head of Foundation at the College of eSports (CoEs), which offers innovative and practice-focused degrees in a range of international eSports business areas, said: “If you speak to any performance athlete, they will tell you that despite the physical aspect of sport and competition being key, the mental and psychological factors are just as important; dealing with stress and performing under pressure are two parallels often referred to.

“I think you will see an attitude change in the perception of eSports over the next 5 to 10 years or so as misconceptions and further understanding of our industry is addressed.”

Non-gamers get just 12 minutes more sleep per night than gamers.

The prevailing stereotype of gamers as isolated, sedentary individuals glued to screens has long persisted. However, the research reveals that gamers actually spend longer on average outside each day than non-gamers. With regards to sleep, over half (56%) of Brits felt gaming would encourage a lack of sleep. However, non-gamers stated they get an average of just under six and a half hours a night, compared to gamers’ six hours and 16 minutes, revealing a minuscule 12-minute difference between the two.

Nathan David said: “We always promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle that includes promoting your wellbeing socially, mentally, and physically. It is undeniable that gaming is almost entirely sedentary, but it is achievable to still be physically and mentally healthy despite playing games. Good sleep/recovery, a balanced diet, and physical activity are necessary in all forms of life, including for esports players or gamers.”

By Gaspar Incze

Gáspár Incze is the youngest member of the team. Currently a university student, he is studying management at Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. Gáspár participated in several social initiatives, having volunteered as a tour guide at the Teleki Castle in the village of Gornești and currently working at ÉRTED, a Transylvanian Hungarian student initiative committed to community work, mainly in the cultural, scientific, economic, and environmental areas.