Is playing video games a childish waste of time? Despite what your mother may have told you, the answer is no. In fact, it has become serious business. With universities offering athletic scholarships to top-ranked gamers and payouts at big-name gaming competitions reaching seven figures, Esports has become a legitimate profession. As a result, the focus on nutrition as a means of improving performance in the gaming community has grown. This article explores the opportunities for the natural-products industry to cater to the nutritional needs of gamers.
The Rise of Esports
Esports has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, with estimates putting the number of gamers worldwide at 2.5 billion. The industry generated over $120 billion in 2019 and is on track to reach a value of $300 billion by 2025. It’s not just young gamers either; 39% of gamers are older adults, including Gen Xers and baby boomers. Additionally, women account for about 46% of gamers in the US. With such a large and diverse audience, the natural-products industry has a significant opportunity to tap into the spending power of the gaming community.
The Physical and Mental Demands of Gaming
Competitive gaming requires mental prowess. However, hours spent staring at screens can lead to mental fatigue, which impairs focus and processing speed. Quick decision-making is crucial in gaming, and any hindrance to cognitive abilities can affect a player’s performance. Furthermore, physical challenges, such as repetitive use of controllers and keyboards, can lead to joint pain and decreased motor skills. Excessive exposure to blue light from screens can also have a negative impact on vision. The pressure and stress of gameplay can cause emotional strain, affecting players’ overall well-being.
The Need for Specialized Nutrition
Gamers require nutrition that supports both their physical and mental performance. While traditional athletes focus on energy, gamers need more than just a boost. They require qualities like endurance, quick reaction time, and problem-solving abilities. After intense gameplay, they also need support for muscle recovery and the reduction of eye strain caused by blue light exposure. Additionally, gamers need to manage fatigue, distraction, and stress during gameplay, as these factors can significantly impact their performance.
The Role of Nootropics
Research into herbal and botanical ingredients that enhance cognitive function-nootropics-has shown promising results. Bacopa monnieri, for example, has demonstrated mood and emotional well-being benefits by supporting antioxidant activity, acetylcholine mediation, and serotonin modulation. Improved memory, cognitive acuity, and reduced mental fatigue are some of the positive effects of B. monnieri extracts like Bacognize. Curcumin and adaptogenic herbs like tulsi have also shown potential benefits for gamers, including reducing fatigue and stress.
Supporting Focus and Mental Energy
Spearmint extract has been found to enhance physical and cognitive performance related to multitasking, focus, and choice reaction performance. Sage, another herbal ingredient, has cognitive-health applications and supports better mental clarity and cognitive energy. Citrus flavonoids such as hesperidin and eriocitrin improve energy, focus, and cognitive processing speed. They also help manage blood glucose levels, ensuring gamers avoid sugar crashes and maintain optimal attention and energy levels.
Boosting Performance with Supplements
Gamers are increasingly turning to supplements to enhance their performance. Pre-workout supplements, like inositol-enhanced arginine silicate, provide a boost of energy and focus. Clinical studies have shown that these supplements improve visual attention, reaction time, and motor speed, while also reducing errors. Citicoline has been shown to support focus, attention, mental energy, and memory in gamers. Lutein, a key ingredient for vision support, improves visual processing speed, promotes sharper vision, and protects against blue light damage.
Delivery and Formulation
The delivery and formulation of nutritional supplements for gamers are crucial. Convenience is a key factor, with various options such as pills, powders, beverages, bars, and even meal replacements available. The industry is shifting towards sugar-free alternatives that provide sustained energy and cognitive sharpness. Time-released formulations that provide nutrients over an extended period could be beneficial for gamers. Additionally, unique delivery forms like snackable gummies or shots are gaining popularity.
As the gaming industry continues to grow, there is a unique opportunity for the natural-products industry to cater to the nutritional needs of gamers. With the right combination of ingredients and specialized formulations, gamers can enhance their mental and physical performance, reduce fatigue, and support overall well-being. By tapping into this market, brands can provide gamers with the competitive edge they seek and contribute to the evolving wellness space within the gaming community.