From the University of California, Jason G. Reitman, Maria J. Anderson-Coto, Minerva Wu, Je Seok Lee and Constance Steinkuehler review in their article “Esports Research: A Literature Review” the current state of academic research of esports. The research concentrating in the competitive gaming scene has rapidly increased at the same time as the competitive gaming scene has grown.
Reitman & co. reviewed many different fields of study from business to sociology in order to understand the current state and trends of academic research about esports. Usually these fields have not been linked in with each other but in this research, they have a common interest.
As a method, the researchers created a list of keywords, such as ‘competitive video games’ and ‘digital sports’ and searched with these keywords through academic databases, for example Google Scholar. After the search there were tens of thousands results of peer-reviewed articles. The research team ended up with one-hundred fifty articles after reviewing the abstracts of the articles and identifying those articles as esports related.
After the year 2002 there has been increasing number of esports related academic researches published. Especially in the year 2012 the ammount of academic research has doubled in size. After the year 2015 the growth has been consistent.
Every field of study has a different approach to esports research. For example, in the business literature the most common subjects are the consumers and players. The aim has been to understand the consumption of esports and the ability to design effective marketing techniques. In the field of sport studies, the interest has been about comparing esports to the more traditional sports. In media studies the examination of esports has been linked to the phenomenon of live streaming and the interaction between the streamer and audience. These are just a few examples, since the field of studies addresses many different sciences such as law, sociology, informatics and cognitive science.
The academic research field about esports is still relatively young and new, so it is still evolving in the direction that the researchers have interest in. One of the main points of the research is to understand that for example, professional players might react and behave differently depending on the environment where the playing happens. The behavior might be different when playing on a big stage for a championship or with friends in a casual match.
The limitation of Reitman & co research is the fact that they have only included articles written in English to the review. Esports study is a unique field because of its spreading across multiple fields of studies. The collaboration between the fields is important in the future to understand better about the whole phenomenon of esports.
Article: Jason G. Reitman , Maria J. Anderson-Coto , Minerva Wu , Je Seok Lee and Constance Steinkuehler. Esports Research: A Literature Review. https://journals-sagepub-com.libproxy.tuni.fi/doi/full/10.1177/1555412019840892
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