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ItemSmurfs, Silvers & CS:GO: Understanding Smurfing as Prosumers( 2023-01-03)Esports games can be seen as platform based prosumption experiences as players co-produce their media experiences through play. This can be viewed as peer-to-peer prosumption where users create value between themselves for emotional and social outcomes. Smurfing represents a form of play where higher skilled users compete with lower skilled players through an alternative account that ensures a mismatch in skill abilities. Through an auto-netnographic approach augmented with interviews on the CS:GO matchmaking platform, this paper provides new insights on a common practice that has received little attention to date. Three key themes were identified that illustrate that this complex phenomenon should not always be framed in a negative fashion. Smurfing should be understood as embedded within peer-to-peer prosumer platforms, driven by complex motivations and framed as cheating according to perspective. The concept has value for further study in gaming and esports with wider implications for the digital society.
ItemIntroduction to the Minitrack on Esports( 2023-01-03)
ItemToward Successful Esports Team: How Does National Diversity Affect Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Video Games( 2023-01-03)Today, esports teams in multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are often composed of players from around the world. The paper asks whether a greater national heterogeneity of professional esports teams means their higher effectiveness. Desk research data of 13 tournaments of Dota 2 game held in 2011-2018 is used to calculate the teams’ win ratio, i.e., the ratio of skirmishes (in all matches) won to the total number of skirmishes (match is a series of skirmishes). Hence, effectiveness is understood not as ranks or matches won, but as the lowest possible number of lost skirmishes. Multinational teams achieved a higher win ratio, compared to nationally homogenous teams and the analysis includes the role of coaches’ nationalities. Working groups, cognitive diversity, and similarity/attraction theories are used to signal potential reasons and consequences of diversity on team performance. This exploratory study indicates future research threads on esports teams’ national diversity.
ItemDeterminants of Esports Highlight Viewership: The Case of League of Legends Champions Korea( 2023-01-03)Studies on esports league demand via new media platforms are limited yet. This paper is the first to identify determinants of esports highlight viewership. Using set-level highlight view count from YouTube, we analyze various determinants to explain view counts. As a result, we found that the number of kills, playoff games, age of video clip, 2nd round games, and 3rd set is positively correlated to view counts. Outcome uncertainty and upset results do not affect view counts. We interpret the results that as highlight clips are released after the game is finished, viewers can know the results when making a decision. Or, relatively short highlight videos reduce opportunity costs for fans and fans do not care about game outcomes much.
ItemEsports Players’ Transition out of Esports: Is There Life After Esports?( 2023-01-03)The purpose of this study is to explore retired/retiring esports players’ experience of transitioning out of esports. To provide in-depth insights into esports players’ transition experiences that may contribute to young players being better prepared for their own transitions, a qualitative approach was applied and four retired professional esports players in South Korea were interviewed. Thematic analysis was applied, and four themes were identified: Pressure and Uncertainty; Lack of Pre-Retirement Planning; Need for Mentorship; Need for Realism about Talent. The findings highlight that esports players experience pressure and struggle with job/finance insecurity during their careers, and that this contributes significantly to their retirement decisions. Lack of pre-retirement planning causes them to be ill-prepared for their life after esports. The study provides empirical evidence which should encourage the industry and stakeholders to establish structured systems to support esports players’ transitions out of esports.
ItemGambling in Digital Games and Esports: A Scoping Review( 2023-01-03)The convergence of gaming and gambling has become increasingly prominent in recent years, most notably in the context of esports. Consequently, there has been a recent surge of literature investigating this phenomenon. This convergence is often driven by the commercial advantages it offers, yet there are concerns over the effects of mixing gambling with gaming, both in relation to the quality of experiences, and possible ethical problems. In this scoping review of the related corpus, we explore the development of work addressing the presence of gambling associated with digital games; examining methodologies, research topics, the specific gambling activities addressed, and identifying gaps present in the field. The body of literature reviewed consists of peer-reviewed, English language publications (n=132). Our findings indicate a sharp increase in yearly publications in the late 2010s, attributed partly due to rising interest in novel gambling activities, such as loot boxes. We recommend future research incorporates both qualitative and mixed methods research to provide the field with results unavailable at current time.