Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming

Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming

by T. L. Taylor

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

How a form of play becomes a sport: players, agents, referees, leagues, tournaments, sponsorships, and spectators, and the culture of professional computer game play.

Competitive video and computer game play is nothing new: the documentary King of Kong memorably portrays a Donkey Kong player's attempts to achieve the all-time highest score; the television show Starcade (1982–1984) featured competitions among arcade game players; and first-person shooter games of the 1990s became multiplayer through network play. A new development in the world of digital gaming, however, is the emergence of professional computer game play, complete with star players, team owners, tournaments, sponsorships, and spectators. In Raising the Stakes , T. L. Taylor explores the emerging scene of professional computer gaming and the accompanying efforts to make a sport out of this form of play.

In the course of her explorations, Taylor travels to tournaments, including the World Cyber Games Grand Finals (which considers itself the computer gaming equivalent of the Olympics), and interviews participants from players to broadcasters. She examines pro-gaming, with its highly paid players, play-by-play broadcasts, and mass audience; discusses whether or not e-sports should even be considered sports; traces the player's path from amateur to professional (and how a hobby becomes work); and describes the importance of leagues, teams, owners, organizers, referees, sponsors, and fans in shaping the structure and culture of pro-gaming.

Taylor connects professional computer gaming to broader issues: our notions of play, work, and sport; the nature of spectatorship; the influence of money on sports. And she examines the ongoing struggle over the gendered construction of play through the lens of male-dominated pro-gaming. Ultimately, the evolution of professional computer gaming illuminates the contemporary struggle to convert playful passions into serious play.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262527583
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 01/30/2015
Series: The MIT Press
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,171,900
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 2.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

T. L. Taylor is Associate Professor in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. She is the author of Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

1 Playing for Keeps 1

2 Computer Games as Professional Sport 35

3 Professionalizing Players 85

4 Growing an Industry 135

5 Spectatorship and Fandom 181

6 Conclusion 239

Appendix: Standard Player Contract without Insurance Provision 251

Notes 263

Bibliography 277

Index 299

What People are Saying About This

Bart Simon

This book is about much more than the e-sports scene. T.L. Taylor uses e-sports as a lens for looking at the confluence of social, cultural and technological practices that are reshaping human interaction as digital culture at both the local everyday level and at the broader level of global techno-politics.

Toby Miller

T.L. Taylor has been among the best analysts of the media we have had over the past decade. Now she turns her exacting but always entertaining scrutiny to e-sports, with all the power we have come to expect of a participant observer of the highest order.

Marcus "djWHEAT" Graham

The recent explosion in the popularity of competitive gaming lacks a sufficient amount of documented history for people to truly appreciate just how far professional video gaming has come. Finally, T.L. Taylor provides an amazing perspective on eSports that will educate fans about a period of competitive play that's nearly been forgotten. Forget what history you may know, this book gives you the history you should know.

Endorsement

This book is about much more than the e-sports scene. T.L. Taylor uses e-sports as a lens for looking at the confluence of social, cultural and technological practices that are reshaping human interaction as digital culture at both the local everyday level and at the broader level of global techno-politics.

Bart Simon, Director of the Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games, Concordia University, Montreal

From the Publisher

The recent explosion in the popularity of competitive gaming lacks a sufficient amount of documented history for people to truly appreciate just how far professional video gaming has come. Finally, T. L. Taylor provides an amazing perspective on eSports that will educate fans about a period of competitive play that's nearly been forgotten. Forget what history you may know, this book gives you the history you should know.

Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham , Host and Executive Producer, OneMoreGame. tv

T. L. Taylor has been among the best analysts of the media we have had over the past decade. Now she turns her exacting but always entertaining scrutiny to e-sports, with all the power we have come to expect of a participant observer of the highest order.

Toby Miller , author of Makeover Nation

In Raising the Stakes , T. L. Taylor does exactly what the title promises by giving us the first serious academic take on the world of competitive e-sports. She touches on every aspect of the new cyberathleticism, always carefully balancing enthusiasm and skepticism.

Henry Lowood , Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections, Stanford University

This book is about much more than the e-sports scene. T. L. Taylor uses e-sports as a lens for looking at the confluence of social, cultural and technological practices that are reshaping human interaction as digital culture at both the local everyday level and at the broader level of global techno-politics.

Bart Simon , Director of the Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games, Concordia University, Montreal

Henry Lowood

In Raising the Stakes, T. L. Taylor does exactly what the title promises by giving us the first serious academic take on the world of competitive e-sports. She touches on every aspect of the new cyberathleticism, always carefully balancing enthusiasm and skepticism.

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