NUS students’ papers on eSports bag top prizes at inaugural APRU competition

First-year NUS Life Sciences major student, Rosarita Ridhwan De Cruz has clinched the top prize (health and wellness category) at the inaugural Association of Pacific-Rim Universities (APRU) Student Esports Paper Competition and Awards 2021.

Perseverance paid off. Swamped with a heavy workload and examination preparations ahead of the competition submission deadline, Rosarita had initially resigned herself to giving the competition a miss. Then came a fortuitous deadline extension that revived her hopes, spurring her to research on various articles; and completing her paper -- in just three days.

Co-organised by APRU and Cyberport Hong Kong, the Esports Paper Competition recognises outstanding papers in the field of eSports and supports the industry as an academic area of study. The categories for submissions are Business Models for the eSports industry, eSports for social good, and Health and Wellness in eSports.

Rosarita’s paper, “The Psychological Impacts of eSports Gaming: A Detriment or a Lifeline in Disguise?” explores the positive and negative psychological impacts that eSports can have on players. It examines stressors players may face that could lead to various psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, burnout, aggression, and addiction.

“While eSports may lead to mental health issues, acknowledgement of distress, coupled with proper guidance and coping strategies from coaches and psychologists can allow players to have a successful and meaningful career in eSports,” explained Rosarita, an avid member of the NUS EGaming Club.

The paper also elaborates on the benefits of eSports, such as enhanced memory capabilities, improved information processing skills, concentration skills, problem-solving abilities, and forging of social relations.

Trio also put in a winning paper

NUS’ excellent showing at the competition was further bolstered by a team of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences students, Liaw Yan Xin, James Mah and Seah Kia Luck, who won the runner-up prize in the same category with their paper ‘E-Sports: Motivations and Life Goals’. Their paper focuses on the prominent role of eSports in bridging the increasing disconnect between people and the fulfilment of their life goals, especially in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic which has brought about unprecedented social restrictions and isolation.

In the week taken to finalise their paper, the trio pored over the latest academic literature to gain a deeper understanding of the psychological research surrounding eSports -- a topic they were unfamiliar with. They found that many eSports players are primarily motivated by the need for sociability and interpersonal interaction, which is intricately linked to two pillars of life goal fulfilment, the basic needs for affiliation and diversion.

Winning papers to be published

Rosarita and the NUS team were invited to present their papers virtually at the 2nd eSports MetaGame Conference on 11 Dec last year. They also bagged US$3,000 and US$1,000 scholarship prizes respectively for their winning submissions which will be published in the International Journal of eSports.

“It felt so surreal to see my name, picture, and the title of my essay on the screen, with my family cheering behind me. Through this competition, I ventured out of my comfort zone and was glad to have learnt something new,” recounted Rosarita, adding that the prize scholarship would come in useful.

The trio were ecstatic when they received news of qualifying for the final round and gave their all in preparing for the final presentation.

“We gained new experience from our debut at the competition and we’re already looking forward to taking part in next year's edition!” they said.

NUS is a founding member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). As a network of leading universities linking the Americas, Asia and Australasia, APRU brings together thought leaders, researchers, and policymakers to exchange ideas and collaborate on effective solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.


By the NUS Global Relations Office