måndag 19 december 2011

E-sports/professional computer gaming

Computer gaming is not just a leisure activity, but has been "sportified", professionalized and commercialized during the previous decade. There are nowadays leagues and computer gaming/e-sport competitions as well a some professional computer gamers and many hopeful wannabes.

I was the advisor of no less than two bachelor's theses about different aspects of the commercialization of computer gaming last spring; Croona and Bleichner's "Starcraft: A spectator sport for a wider audience?" and Kjellnäs and Virtala's "The economy around professional e-sport players, with a focus on Counter-Strike".

I also did a study of my own some years ago. It resulted in a 2007 paper called "Exploring E-sports: A case study of gameplay in Counter-Strike" (pdf file).

I will also attend a workshop on sports and games/e-sports in the spring, although my own presentation will not be about competitive computer gaming per se, but rather about competitive computer programming and programming competitions (students who are interested in writing about this topic are of course also welcome to get in touch with me!).
Students who are interested in e-sports can have a look at the list of almost 20 examples of topics of interest in the workshop invitation. Do note that the topic of this specific workshop happens to be computer games + sports. By altering that formula, other topics could also be possible to explore, e.g. computer games + hacking = (game) mods and modding culture, lan parties (like Dreamhack) and hack days, programming competitions (ICPC, TopCoder, Google Code Jam) etc.

If you are interested in computer games there are many possible topics that could be explored in this area. I will personally have more ideas and suggestions after having attended the workshop in mid-february 2012.

I might complement this online thesis proposal with a literature list at a later point. Do start by having a look at my paper and at Croona and Bleichner's 2011 bachelor's thesis (linked above). Also keep your eyes open for T.L. Taylor's forthcoming book "Raising the stakes: E-sports and the professionalization of gaming" which is slated to be published in March 2012.

Here is a reading list on e-sports that T.L. has put together.

This is a Finnish Ph.D. student's blog about e-sports, "Mind games: Exploring the mental edge in e-sports". Do note the collection of links at the bottom of the page.

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