Finding Diversity in Esports
10/09/20, 2:00PM - 3:00PM PT
About the Presentation
Working with a colleague, I have built a hypothesis and research plan that I hope will help the field to locate and showcase diversity. We know that there are diverse players in most competitive esports titles at the casual level, and we know that when we get to the professional or highly-competitive collegiate (varsity) level most of that diversity disappears. What we don't know, though, are three key elements: (1) when does the audience/player-base change? Are diverse players not entering competitive spaces, or is the issue more like what was witnessed in the NBA 2K League where diversity still existed going into the ""combine"" level just below the pro draft only to see nearly all the diverse players fail to make the draft pool? (2) why are diverse players not moving deeper into competitive spaces? and (3) how do we correct whatever block is in place (or how do we explain the difference between the full group of a game's players and the ""elite"" players that are the highest ranked/most decorated in competition).
My research to this point consists of a series of ten case studies that trace the activities of diverse players in order to answer the questions above. These case studies are triangulated with a widely-circulated survey and an overview of key collegiate and professional rosters for the games League of Legends, Overwatch and Hearthstone. The results, to this point, indicate that there are five major issues that impact how diverse players are filtered out of competition: (1) a traumatic experience (or series of experiences) with the game community and/or at a competition, (2) less desire to play at an ultra-competitive level, (3) a lack of previous life experiences with competition (e.g. having played sports or competed in early-life events) (4) lack of access to high-end equipment and/or network connectivity and (5) lack of time and/or the access to a peer group that would allow the player to hone skills.
There will be a paper, though I am envisioning this more as a presentation/talk with key points, as the research continues, and while I believe I have useful, compelling data and results already, I am far from finished with this investigation (I am working on a book manuscript on the topic).