Garmin follows its Instincts in esports to produce fitness watch for pro gamers

GPS manufacturer Garmin has introduced a new smartwatch as part of its Instinct product lineup: the Instinct Esports Edition. At $299, the new esports-focused watch is designed to appeal to aspiring and professional streamers and esports pros alike, as it actively monitors heart rate and stress levels during intense gameplay or competition. For streamers who believe that their audience would find the information entertaining, Garmin also offers a new PC streaming tool, STR3AMUP!, for the creation of overlays that let viewers know their heart rate, stress, and “body battery” level in real-time.

While biometric data might seem gimmicky to the average viewer or gamer, as with traditional sports, esports athletes must train for many hours per day and understand how to gain an edge in competition where possible. Instant feedback and long-term data trends on an esports athlete’s body response can allow that player to make necessary changes to ensure that they are competing at the highest level possible during competition.

On its official blog, Garmin pointed out over the summer that esports players can endure over 50 different stress factors during competition and that this contributes to burnout for the esports pro whose career lasts barely more than three years on average. “By tracking, analyzing and making necessary adjustments in their lifestyles based on data provided by their Instinct or fēnix smartwatches, these athletes can shape how their bodies react to the physical and mental pressures of their sports,” the company said.

Health-based technology and performance analytics is likely to be a growth area within the burgeoning esports industry. Garmin is smart to capitalize on this trend, especially if it’s able to position its brand alongside esports ahead of competitors like Apple, Fitbit, and others. Garmin recently partnered with Astralis Group for its new Instinct Esports Edition, and earlier this year sponsored Polish esports organization x-kom AGO. Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that nearly two-thirds of the Garmin smartwatch userbase already plays games, but just 8% regularly follows esports, so there’s clear room for esports growth among Garmin’s audience.