MAS GamerTech – Esports study confirms gamers’ biggest nightmare is hand health

  • Research signals 68% of gamers suffer wrist pain, with no fix in-sight
  • Big names across many industries are recently looking to solve for gamer health: from Ikea with their ergonomic furniture to Victoria’s Secret’s largest manufacturer MAS, with its GamerTech apparel line

Gamer health is rapidly becoming a growing concern for many. Those involved in esports with long hours of gameplay, tend to suffer from repetitive strain injuries and other similar health problems over time. This applies to lifestyle gamers as well, who spend several hours every day on their gaming hobby. Evaluating and mitigating potentially serious gamer health, and performance issues is a new area in the industry that is evolving rapidly.

Interestingly, there has been a recent push to offer solutions that address posture-related issues focusing on ergonomic principles. Companies like Ikea have led the charge here, making significant inroads into the gaming peripheral market that was estimated at USD 2.7 billion in revenues in 2018 alone. A recent example is Ikea’s Ubik ergonomic chair, and it’s Uppkoppla gamer accessories line, that comprised products like “Keycaps” and “Mouse Bungees” to name a few.

There are more than 2 billion gamers worldwide and over 67% of the US population is into gaming. Therefore, addressing a gamer’s biggest nightmare; poor hand health, has been the subject of industry-wide speculation. Gamers themselves believe that hand health is the key to sustaining longevity and consistency of gaming performance, and there is plenty of data to back this up. The data confirms that more than any other issue, gamers fear that they will lose their competitive edge if their hands suffer an injury.

Few areas have more research and scrutiny than repetitive stress injuries. This is because of their potential to seriously and significantly impede performance, and even significantly impact the long-term health of gaming superstars. In several cases, ending highly lucrative careers.

The MAS GamerTech team, part of the innovations arm of the MAS Group, has understood the severity of this growing health concern and further narrowed down its focus to wrist and forearm pain, which is the main source of concern for both professional and lifestyle gamers. The MAS GamerTech team interviewed 491 gamers and found that on average those interviewed played more than 2 hours at a time. And importantly, a total of 68% of the lifestyle gamers suffer from mild to moderate wrist and forearm pains.

Issues related to hand health, in particular, can often follow the players throughout their gaming career, unlike eye fatigue, which is listed as a gamer’s second-biggest nightmare. The latter has often been addressed and alleviated with periodic screen breaks. Hand health, on the other hand, is considered more impactful by serious lifestyle gamers, known to play up to 4 to 8 hours at a time. Long periods of repetitive movements associated with gameplay cause several well-documented health conditions including tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and inflammations.

The study also indicated that 86% of respondents were open to wearing products during or after gaming, particularly if this resulted in improvement in comfort and/or performance. Unfortunately, despite this overwhelming interest expressed by the study’s participants, many felt that the most effective solution available to them was massaging and/or icing their hands due to the lack of a better solution.

The additional research conducted by the MAS GamerTech team focused on a group of 60 gamers suffering from wrist pain (from the initial screener surveys). This has helped the team to hone in on two probable solutions around heating and cooling which it is looking to release shortly in the market. The study reported that the heating and cooling solutions tested on these gamers have shown a high level of effectiveness in reducing wrist pain/discomfort, by up to 65% and 52% respectively.

Most gamers prefer lightweight, next to skin solutions that can be worn like a glove, to help them improve their in-game performance. “The solution would need to not only enhance functionality but also not interfere with natural movement”, said one of the gamers.

For MAS, this primary research has shown that there is significant interest in the global marketplace for gamer health solutions aimed at professional and lifestyle gamers, especially if true efficacy can be proven.

“The focus of the MAS GamerTech team is ensuring every solution we work on is health-positive and comfort-oriented,” said Head of MAS GamerTech, Amila Pathirana. “This is the true path to a permanent solution for acute and chronic wrist and forearm pain, which is currently being experienced on a massive scale. The solutions that MAS GamerTech have in mind will not only capture the imagination of gamers and the world but, also surprise people as a result of their dynamism, fluidity, and affordability”

MAS GamerTech is currently on the path to exploring new developments in apparel and soft goods as potential solutions that can be applied to products in this sphere. This has helped, along with, MAS’s 30+ years of R&D expertise, which encompasses next-generation applications in active heating, active compression, haptics, and other apparel technologies to develop first to the world solutions in recent history. It has also enlisted the aid of leading global experts including a Los Angeles-based Physical Therapist and Strength Conditioning Specialist.

“MAS is motivated to help solve the issue of wrist pain, which someday may have applications that go far beyond gaming and esports. MAS has a track record of working in collaboration with expert partners to develop truly meaningful and effective solutions. It is hoped that this wrist and forearm solution will be achieved in the same manner, via partnerships and collaborations with reputed companies. Partners who share MAS’s enthusiasm for developing a range of solutions that are well-designed, effective and are differentiated via disruptive technologies (that MAS is famous for) will be considered the right fit. So, if this is an area of interest to you, get in touch with the MAS GamerTech Team, to define the undefined, and create the future of gamer health and experience.”