E-Sports: Does it Impact Game Communities?

E-Sports: Does it Impact Game Communities?

The e-sports scene on consoles is on the rise, and people seem to be happy with that. But does e-sports have an impact on the state of online gaming? Does it have an impact on the communities of various online games?

There’s a trend that has slowly been on the rise that carries with it the light of positivity and the black of negativity. The competitive gamer is a strange beast; it take various forms which can range from the delightful to the horrid. This type of gamer can greatly affect a game’s community in both a positive and negative way. The former can bind a community together and result in some great things, with the social side leading to people increasing their player base within their chosen game. It can also lead to a group of people having a good time with a competitive edge.

The negative side, however, is when people get too serious, which is always a risk when things become competitive. Egos begin to emerge, frustration surfaces, and people begin to argue and clash. This has a knock-on effect on the community. Things can become fractured quickly, resulting in people refusing to play together. This, of course, destroys the whole purpose of competitive–and multiplayer–gaming. What’s the point in playing if there’s no one to play with?

The majority of the things mentioned in the negatives only tend to happen in tight groups. The likes of clans and leagues will often see division between their respective player bases. The ideology of fun seems to get lost in the process of playing purely to win.

To further expand: the positive nature of e-sports comes in the shape of creativity. People who enjoy their e-sports are more inclined to try their hand at creating sites, logos, or videos for their teams. Any creativity within a community is a good thing. It creates discussion as well as feedback, allowing a person to improve their work. Players streaming and shout-casting are also positive side-effects of e-sports improving video game communities. Players talking between themselves about events in ‘the scene’ can also have benefits on the state of things, as long as things are kept civil of course. And better yet, the e-sports scene still has plenty of room to grow.

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There is, however, a simple issue that comes with the impact of e-sports. The negative side of things tends to effect people who aren’t interested in ‘the scene’. Cases of this can be seen in a number of lobbies for various games such as Halo (3, Reach, and of course 4), and Call of Duty. The competitive attitude can result in frustration when a player is met with defeat. People react differently to disappointment and defeat, and as such this can lead to verbal abuse being flung around. While this isn’t the case with every competitive gamer, there is an increasing amount of the aforementioned behavior.

The key to it all is balance–keeping the competitive side in balance with the respectful side. Be gracious in defeat and humble in victory. Trash-talk can be fun but only when in moderation. The long-term impact of the console e-sports scene still has plenty of time to grow and mature, and hopefully the majority of players can too.

Sean Halliday


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