Pretty Boys and Muscle Shirts: The Group Dynamics of Professional Gaming Teams

First presented at CGSA 2016 Calgary on June 3rd 2016.

I’m going to be talking about the proliferation and boyband-ification of all-male professional gaming, or, esports teams. And in the sentiment of our keynote this week, I am not going to bother explaining why people who play video games professionally or the esports industry is worth studying.  I will be speaking not only from the research of esports scholars but also my own personal experience in the esports industry as a player.

Firstly, I’d like to make it clear that there is a huge challenge when discussing esports teams when thinking about what we consider to be an “average” or “textbook” example what an esports team looks or behaves like. While there can be some generalizations that can be made about particular scenes based on genre, teams and even more so, individual players are surprisingly diverse (minus gender of course).

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South Korea Series: K-pop sells, but who’s buying?

The fascination for Korean pop culture has spread across the world, currently being dubbed, the hallyu wave. Being an avid listener of Korean pop music (K-pop), watcher of Korean soap operas (K-dramas) and films, I was on the lookout for all things hallyu during my trip, but ended up leaving quite disappointed. Korean media is less about the content it produces and more about selling a very particular look, seemingly attainable through participation in Korean consumer culture.

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South Korea Series: I attended a live Starcraft 2 match

During the next few weeks I will be writing special posts on my two week trip to South Korea. It was not only an amazing experience, but also invaluable for my research in e-sports, East Asian culture and education.

I have been following several professional Starcraft circuits ever since the height of the Brood War expansion craze as a player and an organizer. I have also started a local University club, managed my own team and volunteered for two prominent e-sports organizations: The Collegiate Star League and E-sports Canada. Professional gaming in South Korea is huge, so much so, they have their own television channel dedicated to broadcasting games and other gaming related shows.

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The #selfie in South Korea

Response: Smith and Watson and #selfie in South Korea.

via Response: Smith and Watson and #selfie in South Korea.

Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson’s characteristics of the “autobiographical subject” can be applied to the use of selfies in photo sharing apps such as Instagram to construct a narrative bound in cultural beauty standards. Recent news has stated that 70.14% or 35,000,000 people of the South Korean population owns a smartphone. Continue reading