Hamari, J., Sjoblom, M., (2016) What is eSports and why do people watch it? (Alexander)

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Article: What is eSports and why do people watch it? Authors: Hamari, Juho. Sjoblom, Max

This article is a research paper with the goal of understanding the reasons for why people spectate eSports and discusses research undertaken by means of an online survey to prove several hypotheses. Hamari and Sjoblom begin this paper by defining eSports as a new genre of sports and a product of new digital media before comparing it to traditional sports while making references to other literature regarding this topic. This introduction and background serves to make sure the reader understands the concept that the article is dealing with before moving on to explain the rationale for the author’s research hypotheses. The authors explain what they believe to be the motivations for people to watch eSports while listing their 10 different research hypotheses as well as their decision to use uses and gratifications theory as well as the motivations scale for sport consumption with many appropriate references to past research literature. The authors then move on to explain their empirical study as an online survey administered among spectators of eSports which had asked questions regarding the frequency of their spectatorship as well as factors regarding each of their hypotheses such as the aggression exhibited in eSports competitions and the physical attractiveness of eSports players. The article also briefly argues for the validity of the study which seems to be well thought out. In their discussion of their results, Hamari and Sjoblom conclude that people watch eSports to escape from reality, gain knowledge, and to watch the aggression displayed among players; furthermore, the enjoyment of the aesthetic qualities of the video game being played is negatively associated with spectatorship and no other factors exhibited significant results in being related to eSports viewership. Hamari and Sjoblom then give their thoughts on the results regarding each of their hypotheses and why their data had reached these conclusions before discussing the body of academic literature regarding eSports and the lack thereof. The article ends by discussing the practicality of this research and its worth as well as its limitations and directions for further research, in this section, the article acknowledges the limitations of online surveys such as the inability to provide actual usage data and the potential bias of participants to be more active viewers of eSports than other people. For future research, Hamari and Sjoblom propose combining their research data with usage data and proper experiments as well as looking into how results differ based on the platforms which people use to spectate eSports and if the viewer being present in the same space as the players makes a difference. This article offers a starting point to conduct valuable research on eSports and make discoveries regarding its viewership, however, the article is not without spelling and grammar errors and fails to acknowledge how its data might differ based on the genre of game being played as well as the country which the viewer resides in.

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