It was exciting to get to attend TwitchCon again this year and I wrote up some reflections on our AnyKey initiative there this year and what esports can learn from variety streaming.
It’s been a busy semester since we announced the launch of AnyKey!
We’ve released a number of whitepapers on subjects such as community management and moderation, patterns of participation at esports events, and major critical issues. Learning how to produce short overview pieces like this has been a whole new challenge and I’m looking forward to getting better and better at it. Now if I could just amp up my design skills to make them look stylish!
We’ve also held several live-streamed broadcasts introducing the work of the organization and on the theme of “competition for all.” It’s been really great to get these conversations out in more popular venues. It’s been cool to see these events also get picked up on and then spun out into pieces at various websites as well.
There are big challenges facing the esports industry when it comes to issues of inclusion and diversity but I’m encouraged by the growing attention and, most importantly, initiatives to make change. Here’s hoping that trend only continues!
I’m so excited to be a part of a AnyKey, a new partnership between ESL and Intel to support and grow inclusivity in e-sports.
This initiative has been in the works for a few months now and while we just announced, we’ve already been at work bringing in industry stakeholders as well as undertaking research at live events. We’re also helping support the women’s tournament at the Intel Challenge CSGO tournament, including sponsoring an AnyKey lounge there.
Those of you who already know my work on e-sports (for example, my book Raising The Stakes or a paper about DreamHack I wrote with the terrific Emma Witkowski) know that I’ve been thinking about the gender & diversity angle to the scene for awhile. It’s pretty cool to now to get partner up with amazing folks like Morgan Romine (founder of the FragDolls), Michal “Carmac” Blicharz (ESL), Jesse Sell (ESL), and Lee Machen (Intel) to see how to move the conversation and scene forward with a combo of research and action.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to get to run several e-sports workshops that have brought in key folks in the scene to discuss critical issues. The first, called E-sports and Cyberathleticism (I know I know, forgive that “cyber” bit!) was co-run in 2009 at Stanford (while I was on sabbatical there) with the fantastic historian and archivist Henry Lowood and artist and scholar Matteo Bittanti. I’d been working on researching the scene since 2003 and this was the first time I got to be a bit more pro-active and structure and event around some of the amazing people I had met… or wanted to ;) You can see from the program we had a fantastic line-up and though the audio had been lost in my archives all these years, I finally dug it up and have now put it on YouTube for those who really want a bit of a blast from the past.
The second of these events (the “European Edition” in 2010) was held at the IT University in Copenhagen (where I used to be a professor) and we co-organized with one of the smartest e-sports researchers around, Emma Witkowski. It was held in tandem with a PhD course we were running on the subject and once again we were able to get together some fantastic people to join us for an amazing day of conversation. Those videos were up for many years via an ITU hosted page then poofed. I’ve now also put them back online, this time at YouTube, so everyone can get a chance to see that discussion.
I’m increasingly interested in making sure e-sports history isn’t lost, especially given how much folks seem to think these days that the scene only appeared post LoL and Twitch ;)
Visit my YouTube page to check out the audio and video from two fantastic events with some real industry founders.
I was quoted in a short piece at the Chronicle of Higher Ed on the emerging collegiate e-sports scene. I found it interesting that what I think of as the newspaper for academics was taking this up.
One clarification from the piece, I do actually think gaming in college spaces is growing, my point to the reporter was more wanting to highlight that playing computer games on campus has long been a part of student life and we’re now seeing that get formalized (something Jesse Sell and I also discussed in our GDC lecture on the subject last year).