Doping in eSports: an overview

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Anti-doping policies have been established in traditional sports to prevent athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs or methods. This ensures a level playing field for all the athletes.

Similarly, in recent years, anti-doping policies have been introduced in eSports to ensure fair play and protect the integrity of the sport.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has included esports in its list of monitored sports, and some esports organizations have adopted anti-doping policies in compliance with WADA’s rules.

Stimulants, anabolic agents, hormone and metabolic modulators, and masking agents are some of the prohibited substances under WADA’s list of banned substances.

Enforcement of anti-doping policies in esports is often challenging due to the lack of established protocols and regulations for testing and punishment. Further, there is no widely recognised governing body.  Joining and submitting to oversight of a eSports governing body is optional to many players.

However, several eSports organisations are taking proactive measures to combat doping in eSports, including educating players and implementing strict penalties for violations. ESports athletes in marquee events are often subject to both in-competition and out-of-competition testing under WADA requirements.

ESports competitions often take place online, making it more difficult to conduct in-person drug testing. WADA has responded to this challenge by developing remote testing procedures and working with esports organizations to implement these procedures.

Overall, WADA’s involvement in esports represents a significant step in the recognition of esports as a legitimate sport. WADA has been discussing these issues with International Olympic Committee, the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), and several esports organizations.

The development of anti-doping policies in esports is a collaborative effort between WADA, esports organizations, and industry experts, with the goal of creating a fair and competitive environment for esports athletes and ensuring that the sport remains free from doping and other forms of cheating.

Besides doping in normal sense, eSports are also prone to e-doping, also known as virtual doping or technological doping, refers to the use of technology to enhance one’s performance in e-sports or online gaming competitions. This can include the use of software, hardware, or other technological devices to gain an unfair advantage over other players.

Examples of e-doping include the use of aimbots, which are programs that automatically aim and shoot at opponents in first-person shooter games, and macros, which automate complex sequences of actions in games.

Many e-sports events use anti-cheat software to detect and prevent e-doping. Penalties for e-doping can include disqualification, suspension, and even legal action in some cases. However, lack of a widely recognised oversight body has impacted the strict implementation of anti-doping measures in this field of sports.