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Esports genre: First-person shooter (FPS)
The gambling industry continues to deepen its involvement with esports and like sports there are a vast number of games and they vary in the types and amount of physical effort, learned motor skills, cognitive abilities, coordination, and the part chance plays.

People new to esports may think they all very similar but there is no decathlon of esports, its very much a linear life for any top player. So its important to know how its various games and genres differ

First person shooters (FPS)

The first-person shooter, or FPS, is one of the oldest genres in competitive video games and is still extremely popular today. Its origins can go back to vehicle simulations with vector or line-based 3D graphics used by military trainers and flight simulators. In the 1980s, we had arcade games like Battlezone that featured a first-person viewpoint.

With increased computing power game designers had the ability to take the player out-of-the-box of a vehicle and into the game. The first successful commercial FPS title was Wolfenstein 3D, which itself evolved from a much older game, Castle Wolfenstein, where you played a character trying to escape a Nazi stronghold. The game involved the first instance of what is now the normal view of your character’s hands, holding your weapon in front of you, and a strange gait, which can be turned off.

Whilst early games used arrow keys and the space bar, modern FPS games brought in the use of mouse and keyboard control mechanics, typically called WASD keyboard controls, in which the W, A, S, and D keys are bound to the directions up, left, right, and down.

In the 1990s Doom changed the world of esports where it dropped the Nazi theme for alien creatures and introduced multiplayer support and created the Deathmatch, dropping ten players into a map and the last player standing wins.

Fast forward to today and FPS games continue to dominate the video game market and the top games in esports. Counter-Strike keeps its popularity as one of the key esports titles in its latest incarnation, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO.

On screen, the basics include the game world from the first-person perspective with the player’s currently selected weapon visible in hand, a mini-map displaying an overhead view of the immediate area around the player, a targeting crosshair, and a variety of status like health, ammo and game timer. In terms of gameplay, two teams, typically of 5 players each, compete in a series of fixed thematic arenas, each with a fixed win-objective.

Games separate themselves to a degree by introducing gameplay elements that allow and often encourage players and teams to develop strategies and techniques to utilize the game mechanics to gain an advantage. This is commonly referred to as the Metagame or meta for short. In FPS games, meta can include weapon combinations, team positioning and formation, and in some games, character selection choices.

Main FPS game
  • Counter-Strike:Global Offensive (CS:GO) [PC] – 5 vs 5
  • Call of Duty (COD) [PC / PlayStation] – 4 vs 4
  • Rainbow 6 (R6) [PC] – 5 vs 5
  • Overwatch [PC] – 6 vs 6
  • Valorant [PC] – 5 vs 5
  • Gears of War (Gears) [XBox] – 5 vs 5
  • CrossFire [PC] – 5 vs 5
FPS games have a multitude of game modes, maps, characters, and objectives, mainstream tournaments are often “standardized” to a small subset of the modes, maps, and rules.

Almost all mainstream CS:GO tournaments use only one game mode which is “Demolition”.

In Overwatch, a tournament will feature two or more game modes that are predetermined before a match begins, consisting of Escort—defending team has to protect a payload through multiple checkpoints to a goal; Control—both teams fight over a capture point and hold it for a minimum amount of time; Assault—attacking team try to take two capture points before time runs out; Hybrid—a combination of Assault and Escort

Teams typically have a strategy where they will pool and manage resources by having better performing players acquire weapons for a player which may have gotten taken out prematurely. Teams can also strategically ration their budget by using the initial rounds as loss-leaders to build up a budget for more specialized weapons. All of these choices allow each player to specialize into a role for the team even in games where there are no functional or performance differences between characters.

To keep things interesting, some games like Overwatch have presented a situation where certain characters are “banned” during a tournament or season, forcing players to adapt to a greater variety of play styles.

Extreme FPS skills

FPS games in esports pit player against player in a fixed arena. There are no random events or chance elements that can affect the outcome of a game, making the genre one that is purely dependent on the athlete’s skills at the controls. Incidentally, this is one key factor that differentiates Battle Royale games from FPS: most Battle Royale games today, equipment availability is a random factor and that can substantially affect a player’s performance.

Situational awareness, like in real combat, is an important skill to have. As with position and orientation, this is also much more difficult as you do not have all your physical senses available to you. Knowing where you are, how you may be visible to an enemy, and where your enemy may appear, are all factors that can make the difference between getting a kill to becoming one..

The ability to spot a target, identify if it is friend or foe (some games allow friendly fire), decide if you will fire (you may not want to give away your position), and hit the target if you do fire, are all elements of pure physical and visual coordination.

While visual acuity and reaction time are key, many skilled players also have the ability to predict target movement like many skilled soldiers in-real-life (IRL). This allows them to hit a target before they even have a chance to see them. Clearly, being able to read a moving target goes without saying.

Weapon familiarity.

All FPS games simulate weapons fire to include some or all ballistic characteristics of penetration, damage, and accuracy. They also simulate how recoil will affect accuracy, and how automatic fire affects that accuracy. Most FPS games also provide two accuracy models, hip fired or aiming down sights (ADS), with the latter being more accurate at the cost of movement speed.

Each weapon will have unique characteristics that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. For example, a .50 calibre Desert Eagle may have serious stopping power, but it is loud, has serious recoil affecting the accuracy of repeated shots, and only 7 rounds per magazine, compared to a silenced K&M .45 Tactical, where nobody may hear you shoot, but you’ll need a headshot, though you do have low recoil and 12 rounds to get it right before you need to reload.

Most FPS titles also offer a knife by default. Why bring a knife to a gunfight? You can move a lot faster when you have the knife equipped, it doesn’t run out of ammo, and it is the ultimate silent weapon.

Skilled players with fine motor control skills enable them to not just aim with pinpoint precision, but also compensate for weapon recoil by accurately countering the simulated weapon recoil with a mouse movement in the opposite direction. A skilled player in-game can achieve similar performance outcomes as a sharpshooter in real-life, albeit with different muscles.

All the above are just the basics. Each game may also have unique characteristics that are overlaid upon those basics. These may include unique character skills like Specials and Ults which dictates strategy and their use.


Similar to traditional sports athletes, often the keyboard, mouse, and mouse mat are dictated by the athlete’s or team’s sponsor, but unlike those of us that have to buy our kit from retail outlets, the top professional athletes do get to custom spec their stuff straight from the factory.

Top tournaments have strict rules about the type of keyboards and mice that are allowed, often banning the use of equipment with macro or shortcut keys that enable a user to program a sequence of events to happen at one keypress. In addition, to prevent tampering of equipment, most top tournament operators will only accept custom equipment shipped to them directly from the team’s sponsoring manufacturer instead of the team itself.

Customized controllers are available to console FPS players that provide levers or additional buttons positioned to facilitate access to more buttons simultaneously when compared to standard controllers. However, most tournaments will similarly limit the use of controllers that possess programmable macro or shortcut features.

With these differences, it’s probably no surprise that PC players often refer to themselves as the PC Master Race, exerting their superiority over those that may play on consoles or mobile devices . Likewise, PlayStation players will look poorly upon Xbox players, and you will often find console players scoffing at mobile players asking them to grow up and play a real game—the competitive nature of esports athletes never stop at the screen.

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