Seminar on e-Sports, Exergaming, and Fantasy Leagues

November 22nd–23rd, 2018, Jyväskylä

Arranged by the Center of Excellence in Game Culture Studies, in collaboration with the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences

Competitive playing of digital games has rapidly increased in popularity. There are thousands of professional players and millions of amateurs around the globe. Professional leagues and tournaments attract big audiences both in the big arenas, but especially around the online streams. The biggest tournaments are held around a relatively small set of games, but there is competitive gaming taking place in almost all possible games. e-Sports has been recognized in many ways as an alternative and competitor to traditional sports, be it in relation to players, audience or sponsorship. Being a professional digital game player has become a viable career option, and in Finland as in many other countries, new study programs have been established around e-sports.

Fantasy Leagues and virtual sports are another form of sports hobby supported by digital media. They are tightly connected to traditional sports and series such as Premier League, but they have also features comparable to e-Sports. Fantasy Leagues have a long tradition of their own, and they provide an important point of comparison to e-Sports. They also open up perspectives to the increasingly mediated sports spectatorship.

Exergames are digital games, which require and support physical movement. Movement may serve as an interface with the game, the games may motivate physical exercise as in many gamified rehabilitation applications, or they may be entertainment games employed to increase physical activity of the players. Exergames may also include completely new forms of playing, or they can extend traditional sports and games. Console games requiring physical movement (played e.g. by Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox Kinect) seem to have lost their greatest popularity in entertainment use, but the augmented reality game Pokémon GO rose as one of the most played games ever, and according to recent studies, seems to have managed to increase the physical activity of its players significantly. Also, there are interesting new virtual reality games, where physical movement is an integral part of the gameplay.

Both e-Sports and exergames expand the fields of more traditional sports and physical exercise. There has not been too much of contact between the researchers in these separate fields. e-Sports, however, possess many characteristics common with traditional sports and exercise, and e-Sports training recognizes the importance of both physical and mental competence. Exergames, on the other hand, take advantage of the digital game qualities, and in order to function as intended, they have to provide attractive enough experiences. There should be significant synergy between these research fields, and this seminar is intended as a common forum where researchers in these diverse fields of study may showcase their work and learn about each other.

We are inviting presentations, which may deal either with e-Sports, Fantasy Leagues, or exergames, but we specifically encourage such proposals, which provide perspectives combining these fields. The presentations may also discuss research-in-progress projects. Possible topics include, but are not restricted to, the ones listed here:

  • e-Sports training and exercise
  • e-Sports physiology and psychology
  • team dynamics in e-Sports
  • e-Sports streaming and spectatorship online
  • e-Sports management, marketing, and sponsoring
  • e-Sports as social and cultural activity
  • Fantasy Leagues and Virtual Sports
  • various game genres and their significance in e-Sports
  • Exergaming interfaces
  • Exergaming in physical recovery
  • Physical load and impact of exergames
  • Gamification of sports and physical exercise
  • Use contexts for exergames
  • Experience of exergames
  • Move-to-play solutions
  • Impact of e-Sports and exergames on physical activity

Extended abstracts (max. 600 words + Bibliography) should be submitted by June 15th 2018 [Submit here]. Abstract should include the affiliations of the authors, a short bio of the lead author, and contact information.

Decisions on the proposals will be made by the end June. There are plans to produce a publication, either a journal theme issues or an edited volume, based on selected seminar presentations.

There will be a small e-Sports tournament arranged during the seminar, and exergaming demonstrations showcased. If you wish to present your own demo, please, contact the seminar organizers by the end of August 2018.

The keynote lecturers will be announced later.

The seminar date: November 22nd-23rd, 2018