A4 Article in conference proceedings
"I never gave up" : engagement with playable characters and esports players of Overwatch (2019)


Välisalo, Tanja; Ruotsalainen, Maria (2019). "I never gave up" : engagement with playable characters and esports players of Overwatch. In FDG '19 : Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games. ACM, 40. DOI: 10.1145/3337722.3337769


JYU authors or editors


Publication details

All authors or editors: Välisalo, Tanja; Ruotsalainen, Maria

Parent publication: FDG '19 : Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games

Place and date of conference: San Luis Obispo, California, USA, 26.-30.8.2019

ISBN: 978-1-4503-7217-6

Publication year: 2019

Article number: 40

Publisher: ACM

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: http://doi.org/10.1145/3337722.3337769

Open Access: Publication channel is not openly available

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67440


Abstract

Esports phenomena have grown rapidly in recent years, and so has research on the topic. Some of the research has also addressed esports fandom (see e.g. Taylor 2012). Nevertheless, studies comparing and contrasting how players and fans engage with the game and the esports based on that game are scarce. This study compares and contrasts how players and fans engage with playable game characters and esports players. The paper draws on previous research in fan studies, sports fandom and esports to examine the relationships of players and fans of the videogame Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment 2016) with the fictional heroes of the game as well as with their favorite professional players in the newly started Overwatch League. We analyse how these relationships are articulated by fans and players, and pay attention to emerging similarities and differences.

The findings show that personality is deemed important for engagement with both, game characters and esports players. In addition, gender and sexual orientation emerged as important factors. By contrast, nationality was deemed important for engagement with esports players, but not with player characters. Further research should concentrate on the connections between esports and identity politics, as well as player characters and identity construction.


Keywords: game characters; game research; electronic sports; fandom; supporters; game culture; digital games; reception (comprehension); audience reception research

Free keywords: game characters; esports; esports players; fans; Overwatch


Contributing organizations


Related projects

Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies
Koskimaa, Raine
Academy of Finland
01/01/2018-31/12/2022


Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 1


Last updated on 2020-18-08 at 13:35