Nicholas Aaron Khoo

Real Life Stories of Change

The Fine Line Between Excessive Gaming & Esports – Nicholas Aaron Khoo

The Chairman of (Singapore) Cybersports & Online Gaming Association (SCOGA) talks about excessive screen use.

Gaming in Singapore

According to Nicholas, there are two types of gamers – casual gamers and esports lovers. Casual gamers can simply be people who have access to a mobile device and play games on them. Esports lovers, on the other hand, love the competitive aspect of games and can be players or spectators.

“We estimate that there are over 2 million casual gamers and slightly over 500,000 esports lovers in Singapore. According to one study, more than 40% of esports lovers do not play the game they watch,” said Nicholas.

Esports athletes vs game addicts

Nicholas' work at SCOGA allows him to meet gamers from all over Singapore. At his esports training academy, gamers can quickly find out if they are good enough to make it in esports, and if they have traits such as discipline, tenacity, and the perseverance to succeed.

These traits also separate the truly passionate from the simply addicted.

“Few players will admit that they're addicted to gaming,” quipped Nicholas. “There is a fine line between addiction and passion – I'm not a doctor, but I'd say someone is addicted if excessive gaming has caused one to lose control over one's priorities in life.”

“One of the things we try to highlight is the importance of knowing one's priorities and the importance of control,” he added. “Top esports athletes have control of their priorities and what they do best.”

Parenting children with excessive screen time habits

As a parent of 3 young children, Nicholas recommends delaying and managing screen time usage, especially when they're young, as they will view things like books as boring once they get caught up in the engaging world of games and immersive content.

In his line of work, Nicholas has met many parents with children who appear to be gaming excessively, and said parents actually have very limited options to help.

“They (parents) can either try to wean the child off the screen, or try to be more supportive and positive,” he shared.

Tips for online gamers

For gamers who take their passion seriously, and want to compete professionally, Nicholas has these three tips to share:

  • Professional esports is not for everyone, just like professional sports is not for everyone.
  • To be successful at anything in life, a lot of discipline and sacrifice is required. Make sure you bring the right attitude to esports.
  • Be nice to one's parents – they are the most important stakeholders in anyone's esports career as one needs their endorsement and support.

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