torsdag 16 februari 2017

eSports and professional game play (article)

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Me and a Daniel Svensson wrote and presented a paper, "21st century sports: Movements without movements" at a smaller, local cultural studies conference in Sweden a few years ago. The paper was the result of a side project and while we both really liked the paper, none of us have given enough time and attention to getting it published afterwards. I for one decided that the MULTI.PLAYER 2 games conference in Münster two and a half years ago was my last computer games conference and the other Daniel was busy writing his ph.d. thesis at the department of History of Science, Technology and Environment at the KTH School of Architecture and the Built Environment). He presented it just before Christmas and it's called “Scientizing performance in endurance sports: The emergence of ‘rational training’ in cross-country skiing, 1930-1980” (pdf available here).

So while we both liked the paper and thought it had potential, nothing came out of our wish to publish it either at a computer games conference/journal or at a sports venue (we were at one point for example looking at the European College of Sport Science conference and journal).

Until now, that is. I recently saw an invitation to a special issue that fit our paper perfectly. While I had not heard about the journal before, the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS) is, according to "the Norwegian list" an OK journal. Here's (parts of) the Call for Papers (bold text fits us especially well):

CFP:  eSports and professional game play

The purpose of this second special issue is to investigate the rise of eSports.

Much has happened in the area of professional gaming since the Space Invaders Championship of 1980. We have seen live Internet streaming eclipse televised eSports events, such as on the American show Starcade.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts that
· Examine the emergence of eSports
· The uses of streaming technology
· Traditions of games that support professional players – chess, go, bridge, poker, league of legends, Dota 2, Starcraft
· Fan perspectives
· Professional player perspectives
· Market analysis
· Meta-analyses of existing research on eSports
· Answer specific questions such as:
How should game user research examine the emergence of eSports? 
Should we differentiate pragmatic and hedonic aspects of the game? 
What are the methodologies for conducting research on the elderly identity, and the uses and design of games for the elderly?

[...]

Mission – IJGCMS is a peer-reviewed, international journal devoted to the theoretical and empirical understanding of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations. IJGCMS publishes research articles, theoretical critiques, and book reviews related to the development and evaluation of games and computer-mediated simulations. One main goal of this peer-reviewed, international journal is to promote a deep conceptual and empirical understanding of the roles of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations across multiple disciplines. A second goal is to help build a significant bridge between research and practice on electronic gaming and simulations, supporting the work of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

We have made only minimal changes to our paper and felt compelled to write a note explaining that none of the authors have followed the games research scene during the last few years but were more than willing to to follow any suggestions from the reviewers about texts/papers they think we should read up on. For more information, please see this earlier blog post about the paper as well as the just-written abstract:

21st century sports: Movements without movements 

Modern sports have gone through a process of “sportification”, moving from loosely regulated games and play towards becoming progressively more managed and regulated. Computer games have correspondingly gone from being a leisure activity for kids and teenagers to becoming a competitive activity, “esports”, with international competitions and professional players. We argue that there is a tight connections between the sportification of traditional (physical) sports and modernity just as it is possible to see the emergence of “21st century sports” such as esports as portending a post-modern society. There are naturally many differences, but also significant similarities between traditional sports and 21st century sports as both move towards standardized, rationalized, medialized and commercialized competitive arenas. In this article we explore both the similarities and the differences through the lens of sportification.
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