In recent years expert computer game competitors– eSports– has taken off in appeal around the globe, with numerous countless dollars being given out in prize money from tournaments that offer out some of the world’s biggest arenas. Many scholars, myself consisted of, have focused on the measurements of work and labour in the practice, and how play and leisure are transformed when they turn into one’s primary source of financial security.
However, playing video games for a living is, of course, not a brand-new phenomenon. Professional gamblers, card-players and hustlers have actually been doing this for far longer than professional players. However each exists in really various ecosystems of competitions and casual games, legality and illegality, online and offline play, regional and global geography, and across extremely various neighborhoods and demographics. What are the commonalities, what are the differences, and what can these teach us about the act of working at play?
I have been analyzing 2 bodies of literature to answer these concerns. In the very first case, I’ve been taking a look at autobiographies and biographies of expert gamblers, commentaries on their lives and interviews with them. These speak volumes about the lives and battles of these people, from the skills needed to make a living in such a competitive and unpredictable domain, to how these stress have been navigated by the couple of who have actually braved those fires and emerged out the other end.
In the second case I have studied a variety of secondary literature including handbooks on the best ways to gamble expertly: the best ways to beat gambling establishment games, ways to play skilled poker, and the like. Much of these are brimming with passing remarks or observations that reveal much about the lives of those who do discover long-term profit in these domains. All this I am then integrating with a year’s worth of ethnographic and interview research I have actually been doing in the world of professional video game players.
My task reveals that there are four main axes on which the lives and practices of pro-gamblers and pro-gamers differ. First, the abilities of the trade are very various. The video games played themselves need different capabilities to be mastered, and the wider communities of play require extremely different sets of social and supervisory abilities on the parts of the gamers.
Second is the role of loan and becoming professional. Professional players have their money been available in on a more routine schedule, handled in part through teams and sponsors. Expert gamblers have a deeply irregular schedule of revenue, and regularly discover themselves losing back through games of luck what was won in games of skill. It’s something that’s a major obstacle for lots of.
Third, the diversity of play. Professional gamblers have the tendency to master a wide range of video games, while expert players master only one, showing the difference in relative and absolute ability being the determinant of profit.
The final axis is working hours and freedom. Where professional players train with the intensity of standard sports athletes, professional bettors live a reasonable more fluid, flexible, carefree existence– one which effects and shapes their practices and experiences in multiple methods. My paper and talk will unload these 4 components in higher detail, and consider what they teach us about the entanglements of other aspects– skill, luck, technology, legality, danger– in the various types of playing video games for a living.