Research Nugget #6: Growth

Abstract: Hutchins argues that sports and esports both evolved in the same manner, through media and technology. He analyzes the effect of technology and the effect of initiatives such as the World Cyber Games among others which help promote the idea of esports.


 

The culture of digital games and gaming is characterized by ‘speed and acceleration, which presents a significant challenge for those attempting to study them. The rapid growth of the gaming industry, the pace of development in computing processor power and memory storage capacity and the capricious tastes, fervid devotion and varying experiences of gamers mean that ‘[w]hat is published [about games] in paper today has already been debated to death online yesterday’

 

This is metaphorical for both the expansion of technology and gaming as an esport as well as discussion. The idea of gaming has always been fast paced, its to ensure both efficiency as well as excitement. But in this new age of technology, information spreads incredibly fast and can be swept away in the blink of an eye. Sure they can be uncovered again, but it takes some sleuthing around. Fast paced tactics, fast paced forum discussions. Information is both analyzed and compiled incredibly fast. It is this idea of fast media and discussion that contributes to esports growth.

 

There is no suggestion here that an event such as the WCG means the obsolescence of what is popularly understood about the media and sport. Such a notion is ridiculous and would deny the effort and energy devoted to coverage of and participation in football, baseball, basketball and the like. Rather, the WCG and the activities of cyber-athletes signal the advent of a qualitatively distinct phenomenon: e-sport.This term has been coined and entered into (semi-)popular usage because competitive organized gaming represents both continuity and marked discontinuity with the established relationship between broadcast media and sport.

 

Contrary to Seeger’s idea that esports may act as competition towards actual sporting in terms of stealing audience. Hutchins proposes that they are two completely separate entities. What they do share in common in is how they both came into being as well as formatting. Neither esports or regular sporting is going anywhere and they both represent a distinctive field. The rise of events such as the World Cyber Games is solely the birth of a well founded esports community and should not be confused as competition for sports media. It’s just that when modern sports came about there wasn’t another institution already in place like what esports is currently dealing with.


HUTCHINS, B. (2008). Signs of meta-change in second modernity: the growth of e-sport and the World Cyber Games. New Media & Society, 10(6), 851-869.

2 thoughts on “Research Nugget #6: Growth”

  1. I like how you compare Seeger and Hutchins — one feels that esports threatens to steal “real” sports’ audience, and the other does not share this fear. As you research — look to see how other writers/scholars weigh in on this debate.
    What did the writer say about World Cyber games? Have any of your other sources discussed these games — and do all share the same assumptions, concerns, etc?

  2. Never thought of technology’s direct effect on both sports and Esports, but now thinking about it it makes perfect sense. Networks like ESPN and NFL network have made football the most popular sport in our Country, just as the G4 network helps to promote video games and other digital works. Your comparisons on the similarities of both types of sports definitely helped to convince me!

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