Games and Gaming
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ItemLaboring Artists: Art Streaming on the Videogame Platform Twitch( 2020-01-07)The relationship between labor and play is complex and multifaceted, particularly so as it relates to the playing of games. With the rise of the online streaming of games and play these platforms and activities have expanded the associated practices in ways that are highly nuanced and dictated in part by the platform itself. This paper explores the question as to whether the types of labor practices found in games hold across other non-game activities as they engage with streaming through an observational study of art streamers on Twitch. By examining art streamers and comparing their labor to that of games and game streaming, we find that not only are they similar in practice, but that that the structure of Twitch and platforms such as YouTube push this conformity. Thus, play and labor are not opposed and are in fact intermingled in these activities, in ways that are becoming highly platformized.
ItemEsports and the Color Line: Labor, Skill and the Exclusion of Black Players( 2020-01-07)This article focuses on the exclusion of black players from PC esports through constructed forms of skill and labor. While esports is one of the fastest-growing industries in America, it remains an overwhelmingly white and Asian field. Thus, this piece explores the absence of black players by examining profit, labor, and blackness to analyze the devaluing of the black body and why it has been rendered valueless in the space of PC esports. In doing so, I provide an analysis of skill and the ways in which merit helps to silence discussions on diversity, in order to provide a piece which serves as a questioning of the esports status quo. Additionally, this piece grapples with the many ways in which players come to envision themselves as both product and laborer in relation to the dearth of black PC esports players. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
ItemThe Effect of Team Choice in Ingress and Pokémon GO for Players' Social Circles and Attitudes Towards Game Slang( 2020-01-07)Player communities in the location-based games Pokémon GO and Ingress differ from most online multiplayer game communities in two major ways: (1) Interaction between players occurs mostly face-to-face and (2) teams are static, for example, currently in Pokémon GO, changing teams is possible only once a year. In addition, much of the interaction between teams is non-verbal and occurs in the game world. The current study investigates how these characteristics affect the forming of player communities and friendships, and how the team of Pokémon Go and Ingress players can be used to predict the usage and attitudes towards a slang-word “jym” i.e. gym. Five Pokémon GO chats (242852 messages) from South-Western Finland were analyzed. In addition, a questionnaire (N=178) was sent to players in the case community, asking about their opinions and attitudes towards the word “jym”. The results highlight the importance of the team in location-based games for the forming of friendships and raise an issue that the lack of verbal communication and cooperative opportunities can lead to negative attitudes and prejudice towards players on the opposing team. The study shows the influence of exclusive team chats on players’ attitudes and draws parallels to the polarization of opinions due to personalized search results and social media. Game mechanics which encourage players from different teams to cooperate with one another are proposed as a solution for the polarization.
ItemToo Legit to Rage Quit: Do Social Ties Impact Staying Power in eSports?( 2020-01-07)Sim racing, a sub-genre of eSports, is an online motorsports simulation where participants from around the world use specialized hardware to compete virtually in racing vehicles around a track. While most competitors complete the races they start, some opt to disconnect following a frustrating racing event. This is considered a "rage quit" in modern gamer slang. This research aims to identify the social factors associated with a rage quit through a binary logistic regression model populated with a unique dataset from iRacing, a major online sim racing platform, consisting of over 19,000 races over 4 racing seasons (12 months) in 2018, 300,000 individual race results, and 16,000 unique drivers. The findings suggest that social factors of past experience with competitors, racing with competitors in one's own region, and presence of other rage quitters all influence a driver's decision to rage quit.
ItemIntroduction to the Minitrack on Games and Gaming( 2020-01-07)