Understanding players through Esports data

Your skill in esports games correlates with your intelligence. We can therefore potentially use visuospatial IQ tests to find gifted esports players from a young age, even before they play the games.

Most professional esports players spend hours playing their respective videogames in a competitive game mode which pits them against other players, and Ranks them higher or lower based on whether they win or not. If they keep winning they get matched with better opponents which helps them hone their craft whereas if they lose their official Rank drops down and consequently they get matched with less skilled opponents. Needless to say, Pro Players are usually in the top 2 % of the player base that plays this mode since they kept winning their matches with amazing plays which helped them rise to the top Rankings.

Due to the competitiveness of these games players are required to not only come up with new strategies but also to overcome the strategies of their opponents. Some examples would be predicting an opponent’s location when they are hidden or performing mental arithmetic and trying to identify patterns on how or when the opponent will attack.

These are mentally taxing tasks that require a lot of pattern recognition so we wondered whether IQ tests could be linked to one’s videogame Rank in the videogame League of Legends (LoL). Indeed, they could and there was a moderate correlation between the two, with smarter individuals achieving a higher Rank. Although correlation is not causation (it could be that playing the game makes you smarter), past research using an arcade style game has shown that IQ measured prior to playing the game can be predictive of the scores one will achieve. In conclusion, if we manage to refine this relationship and find more tests that predict videogame Rank/Expertise we could “scout” for potential Esports talented players from a younger age before they even commit thousands of hours to a specific game.

Contact: Athanasios Kokkinakis

This is a PhD project as part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI)