Virtue(al) games—real drugs

John T. Holden, Anastasios Kaburakis, Joanna Wall Tweedie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The growth of esports as a recognized, organized, competitive activity in North America and Europe has evolved steadily from one of the most prominent sport industries in several Asian countries. Esports, which is still pursuing a widely accepted governance structure, has struggled to control the factors that typically act as a breeding ground for sport corruption. Within the esports industry, there is alleged widespread use of both prescription and off-label use of stimulants, such as modafinil, methylphenidate, and dextroamphetamine. Anti-doping policy implementation in this environment may result in either the abuse of the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) system or excluding too many competitors who have a legitimate need for these medications. In this paper, we contextualize esports and substance use within this emerging industry. Subsequently, we outline the specific challenges faced by esports organizations in crafting policies to address PEDs—one of the industry’s most pressing issues. Further, we provide the application of MacIntyre’s virtue ethics conceptual framework to highlight ethical tensions within the industry. This lens elucidates the direction forward for esports should be one determined to foster virtue in the practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalSport, Ethics and Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


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