Esports is a rapidly growing industry that has been making waves in the sports world in recent years. With the emergence of professional gaming tournaments and the rise of online gaming communities, esports has become a popular pastime for people of all ages and backgrounds. In Queensland, one company is taking the world of esports to the next level. Valor Esports is a Queensland-based training platform that applies athletic training principles to gaming. In a recent interview with Lachlan Wills at the first Playbk Queensland Government SportX Connect Series for 2023. Sam Ward, the co-founder of Valor, shared some insights into the world of esports and the benefits it offers.
Inclusivity in Esports
One of the most significant advantages of esports is that it offers inclusivity to people from all walks of life. Ward shares a story about a physically disabled year 12 captain who was able to compete on the same level as his athletic classmate’s thanks to the esports program at his school. Ward believes that gaming has the power to bring people together and provide opportunities for everyone to excel in something they dream about. However, he also acknowledges the need to ensure that the space is safe and healthy and that education is vital in shaping how people behave online.
Balancing Humanity and Esports
There is often concern that the rise of technology and esports will lead to the loss of humanity. Ward acknowledges that this is a concern, but he also sees the potential for gaming to strengthen traditional sports. He notes that people are fans of multiple bands and hobbies these days. Integrating gaming into the journey of sports can help build stronger social connections beyond the playing field. Additionally, he points out that gaming can be used as a team collaboration tool and has been used for team-building exercises during COVID when physical spaces were not an option.
Ensuring a Safe and Healthy Environment
As esports continues to grow, there is a need for a safe and healthy environment for people to participate in. Ward emphasizes the importance of creating boundaries and managing the direction of learning in a healthy way. He believes that schools and government organizations are starting to integrate esports, and they will help bring in the necessary upgrades in technology and investment to ensure a safe and healthy environment. Additionally, education also plays a significant role in teaching people how to behave as human beings online.
Esports and Traditional Sports
The integration of esports into traditional sports is an ongoing conversation. Ward believes that esports can be used to leverage traditional sports rather than hurt them. He notes that Rick Burton’s (Playbk CEO) talk validated the direction that he believes esports is heading. According to Ward, it’s crucial to invest in and educate on integrating esports into the sports journey in a healthy manner.
Valor Esports is Isolating Skills and Understanding Progression
One of the key aspects of Valor’s platform is the focus on isolating skills and understanding progression. Ward explains that they have taken how athletes train and turned it into a platform for gamers. Secondly, instead of spending hours playing games to improve, Valor aims to help gamers improve their skills in just 90 minutes a day. Ward states that Valor focuses on a gamer’s journey progression, similar to the order in which skill-dominant sports are learned. A lot of research has gone into figuring out the right order for gamers to learn skills to maximize their time.
Esports is a new era of sports tech that offers inclusivity, teamwork, and the opportunity for equality within the competition. Valor’s platform focuses on player development by applying athletic training principles to gaming and emphasizing atomic skills. Ward sees the need for healthy integration of esports into traditional sports, with education and investment as critical factors. As esports expands and evolves, it’s exciting to watch its impact on sports in Queensland and beyond