Gaming is a major global community today. Over 3 billion people worldwide are estimated to be active gamers – a testament to the rising popularity of online gaming as both a hobby and an industry. Gaming at the professional level is also growing fast – last year, the market for competitive gaming, known as “esports”, was forecast to reach 3.2 billion US dollars.

Whether at professional or hobbyist level, gaming is an activity that brings excitement, entertainment, and relaxation to its passionate players. And in terms of personal growth, it can stimulate critical thinking, encourage strategy and creative skills, and foster teamwork.

At the same time, gaming often requires many focused, sedentary hours spent in front of a screen. Without balance, this can negatively impact the health of gamers – and erode the great aspects of the gaming experience. That’s something we want to help address.

At Novo Nordisk, we’re passionate about supporting people’s health and empowering everyone to lead richer, fuller lives - and supporting the societies and communities in promoting heathy living.

Our vision for a future with fewer people who live with obesity and type 2 diabetes drives our commitment to not only develop treatments - but also invest in primary prevention and health promotion. This comes alive through partnerships and initiatives which focus on reducing disease risk factors in populations at risk, and by supporting the development of healthier communities.  

To promote healthier lifestyles for gamers worldwide, we’ve teamed up with global esports tournament organiser and media platform BLAST on a new campaign.

Away from Keyboard (AFK) is a content and documentary series that aims to inspire gamers worldwide to be conscious of their health and to spend time away from the keyboard or screen, taking care of their body and mind.

The AFK campaign was launched during the final weekend of the Paris Major 2023 - a major championship centred on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive multiplayer online game 

Preventing chronic disease is critical to protecting human health and reducing the strain on health systems worldwide.

With the AFK campaign, we aim to tap into an entirely new community for Novo Nordisk to drive change and inspire millions of gamers across the globe to live healthier lifestyles which in turn, elevates their gaming experience. 

The pilot episode of AFK follows former pro gamer Jacob Winneche – also known by his gamer name ‘Pimp’. Jacob opens up about his past struggles with health and weight that happened behind-the-scenes of his public gaming success.  

While Jacob’s career was at a high point, his offline experience was characterised by limited physical activity, unhealthy eating habits and lack of sleep – major drivers of poor health. Indeed, this lifestyle took a toll on his physical and mental health, leading him to shy away from the spotlight that comes with pro gamer status. Then he decided it was time for a change.

The episode leads us to the present day, where Jacob enjoys a healthy balance between physical movement and gaming - applying the same dedication and drive to activities like running, swimming and team sports that saw him succeed as a gamer.

And the benefits are huge, he says, citing improved mental health, relationships and confidence. All of which have helped Jacob continue to thrive in the esports world.

By sharing his story and that of other leading gamers, the series presents physical activity as an opportunity to unplug and improve both mental and physical health - ultimately enhancing gaming skills and esports performance.

“You have to feel good to play good,” as Jacob says.