In addition to my own words on the subject – Raising the Stakes (MIT Press, 2012) and Watch Me Play (Princeton, 2018) – there is a growing body of scholarly research dedicated to exploring esports and competitive gaming. Given the tremendous growth of scholarship now on this topic I am no longer able to update this list. The following is offered as a jumping off point for those looking for academic lit on the subject, particularly around early work on the topic. Beyond this, use the usual library and online reference sources to find more contemporary pieces.
5th Annual Sports Law Symposium (University of Pennsylvania) bibliography lists a number of legal articles on esports. (http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=symposia)
Adamus, Tanja. 2012. “Playing computer games as electronic sport: In search of a theoretical framing for a new research field.” In Computer Games and New Media Cultures: A Handbook of Digital Game Studies, J. Fromme & Unger, A. (Eds.),pp. 477-490, Berlin: Springer.
Ash, James. 2012. “Technology, technicity, and emerging practices of temporal sensitivity in videogames.” Environment and Planning A 44(1) 187 – 203.
Borowy, Michael and Dal Yong Jin. 2013. “Pioneering eSport: The experience economy and the marketing of early 1980s arcade gaming contests.” International Journal of Communication, v. 7.
Bosc, G., M. Kaytoue, C. Raïssi, J-F. Boulicaut, and P. Tan. 2014. “Mining balanced patterns in real-time strategy games.” LIRIS Research Report. (Extended version of paper presented at European Conference on Artificial Intelligence – ECAI 2014.)
Bowman, Nick. 2013. “Facilitating game play: How others affect performance at and enjoyment of video games.” Media Psychology, 16(1): 39-64.
Brock, Tom. 2017. “Roger Caillois and e-sports: On the problems of treating play as work.” Games and Culture, 12 (4): 321-329.
Burk, Dan. 2013. “Owning e-Sports: Proprietary Rights in Professional Computer Gaming.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol 161, pp-1535-1578.
Carter, Marcus and Martin Gibbs. 2013. “eSports in EVE Online: Skullduggery, Fair Play and Acceptability in an Unbounded Competition.” Foundations of Digital Games Conference, 14-17 May, Chania, Greece.
Chee, Florence and Richard K. Smith. 2005. “Online gamers and the ambiguity of community: Korean definitions of togetherness for a new generation.” Internet Research Annual, volume 4. New York: Peter Lang.
Chen Christensen, Natasha. 2006. “Geeks at play: Doing masculinity in an online gaming site.” Reconstruction 6.1 (Winter).
Cheung, Gifford and Jeff Huang. 2011. “Starcraft from the stands: Understanding the game spectator.” CHI ’11 Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, 763-772.
Comerford, Sean. 2012. “Note: International intellectual property rights and the future of global ‘e-sports.'” Brooklyn Journal of International Law, 37, 623.
Consalvo, Mia, Konstantin Mitgutsch, and Abe Stein (Eds.) 2013. Sports Videogames. New York: Routledge.
Conway, Steven. 2010. “‘It’s in the game’ and above the game.” Convergence 16 (3): 334- 354.
Crawford, Garry. 2005. “Digital gaming, sport, and gender.” Leisure Studies 24 (3): 259–270.
Crawford, Garry, and Victoria K. Gosling. 2009. “More Than a game: Sports-themed video games and player narratives.” Sociology of Sport Journal 26: 50–66.
Faust, Kyle, Joseph Meyer, and Mark Griffiths. 2013. “Competitive and Professional Gaming: Discussing Potential Benefits of Scientific Study.” International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 3(1), 67-77, January-March.
Ferrari, Simon. 2013. “Esport and the human body: Foundations for a popular aesthetics.” Proceedings of DiGRA 2013: Defragging Game Studies, Atlanta, GA.
Gommesen, Niels. 2012. “The affective audience in professional e-sport: An exploration of spectators, and their impact on video game playing.” MsC thesis, IT University of Copenhagen.
Guorui, Zhang. 2012. “Bibliometric analysis on e-sports in China.” Advances in Computer Science and Engineering, AISC 141, 111-118.
Hamilton, William, Oliver Garretson, and Andruid Kerne. 2014. “Streaming on Twitch: Fostering Participatory Communities of Play within Live Mixed Media.” CHI 2014, April 26–May 1, 2014, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Harry, Drew. 2012. Designing Complementary Communication Systems. PhD dissertation, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA.
Harper, Todd. 2014. The Culture of Digital Fighting Games: Performance and Practice. New York: Routledge.
Hebbel-Seeger, Andreas. 2012. “The relationship between real sports and digital adaptation in e-sport gaming.” International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, 13:2, 43 – 54.
Hinnant, Neal. 2013. “Practicing work, perfecting play: League of Legends and the sentimental education of e-sports” MA thesis, Georgia State University, Dept. of Communication.
Hollist, Katherine E. 2015. “Time to be grown-ups about video gaming: The rising esports industry and the need for regulation.” Arizona Law Review 57:823-847.
Holt, Jason. 2016. “Virtual domains for sports and games.” Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 10:1, 5-13.
Hutchins, Brett. 2008. “Signs of meta-change in second modernity: The growth of e-sport and the World Cyber Games.” New Media and Society 10 (6): 851–869.
Hutchins, Brett and David Rowe. 2012. Sport Beyond Television: The Internet, Digital Media and the Rise of Networked Media Sport. London: Routledge.
Jenny, Seth, R. Douglas Manning, Margaret C. Keiper, and Tracy W. Olrich. 2016. “Virtual(ly) athletes: Where eSports fit within the definition of ‘sport.'” Quest, 11 March.
Jenny, Seth and David P. Schary. 2016. “Virtual and “real-life” wall/rock climbing: motor movement comparisons and video gaming pedagogical perceptions.” Sports Technology, 11 January.
Jin, Dal Yong. 2010. Korea’s Online Gaming Empire. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Jin, Dal Yong, and Florence Chee. 2009. “The politics of online gaming.” In Gaming Cultures and Place in Asia- Pacific, ed. Larissa Hjorth and Dean Chan, 19–38. New York: Routledge.
Jonasson, Kalle. 2016. “Broadband and circuits: the place of public gaming in the history of sport.” Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 10:1, 5-13.
Jonasson, Kalle and Jesper Thiborg. 2010. “Electronic sport and its impact on future sport.” Sport in Society 13 (2): 287–299.
Kajastila, Raine and Perttu Hamalainen. 2015. “Motion games in real sports environments.” Interactions, March-April.
Kaytoue, Mehdi and Chedy Raïssi. 2012. “Watch me playing, I am a professional.” WWW 2012 Companion. April 16–20, 2012, Lyon, France.
Kow, Yong Ming and Timothy Young. 2013. “Media technologies and learning in the StarCraft eSport community.” CSCW ’13, San Antonio, Texas.
Kow, Yong Ming, Timothy Young, and Katie Salen Tekinbas. 2014. Crafting the metagame: Connected learning in the StarCraft 2 community. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.
Leonard, David. 2008. “To the white extreme in the mainstream: Manhood and white youth culture in a virtual sports world.” In Youth Culture and Sport, ed. Michael D. Giardina and Michele K. Donnelly, 91–112. New York: Routledge.
Low-Kam, C., C. Raïssi, M. Kaytoue, and J. Pei. 2013. “Mining statistically significant sequential patterns,” ICDM 2013.
Lowood, Henry. 2007. “‘It’s not easy being green’: Real-time game performance in Warcraft.” In Videogame/Player/Text, ed. Barry Atkins and Tanya Krzywinska, 83–100. Manchester: Palgrave.
Lowood, Henry. Forthcoming. “‘Beyond the game’: The Olympic ideal and competitive e-sports.” In Play and Politics: Games, Civic Engagement, and Social Activism, ed. Douglas Thomas and Joshua Fouts.
Ma, Hu, Yinbo Wu and Xinyu Wu. 2013. “Research on essential difference of E-sport and Online Game.” Informatics and Management Science V, Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering 208.
McCrea, Christian. 2009. “Watching Starcraft, strategy and South Korea.” In Gaming Cultures and Place in Asia-Pacific, ed. Larissa Hjorth and Dean Chan, 179–193. New York: Routledge.
Moeller, Ryan M., Bruce Esplin, and Steven Conway. 2009. “Cheesers, pullers, and glitchers: The rhetoric of sportsmanship and the discourse of online sports gamers.” Game Studies, 9 (2).
Mora, Philippe and Stéphane Héas. 2005. “From videogamer to e-sportsman : Toward a growing professionalism of world-class players?.” In Doom: Giocare in Prima Persona, Matteo Bittanti and Sue Morris, Eds. Milano: Costa & Nolan. [Originally published in French in Consommations et Sociétés, special videogames issue, coordinated by Mélanie Roustan. Translated to Italian for Doom book and English version available online.]
Pereira, R., Wilwert, M. L., & Takase, E. 2016. “Contributions of Sport Psychology to the Competitive Gaming: An Experience Report with a Professional Team of League of Legends,” International Journal of Applied Psychology, 6(2), 27-30.
Rambusch, Jana. 2011. Mind Games Extended: Understanding Gameplay as Situated Activity. PhD disseration, Linköping Studies in Science and Technology.
Rambusch, Jana, Peter Jakobsson, and Daniel Pargman. 2007. “Exploring e-sports: A case study of gameplay in Counter-Strike.” In Situated Play: Proceedings of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) Conference 2007, ed. Akira Baba. Tokyo: University of Tokyo.
Reeves, Stuart, Barry Brown, and Eric Laurier. 2009. “Experts at play: Understanding skilled expertise.” Games and Culture 4 (3): 205–227.
Rothman, Jennifer. 2013. “E-sports as a prism for the role of evolving technology in intellectual property.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online 116: 317-329.
Scholz, Tobias and Volker Stein. 2017. “Going beyond ambidexterity in the media industry: Esports as pioneer of ultradexterity.” Int’l Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 9(2): 47-62.
Sell, Jesse. 2015. E-Sports Broadcasting. MsC thesis, MIT, Cambridge, MA.
Seo, Yuri. 2013. “Electronic sports: A new marketing landscape of the experience economy.” Journal of Marketing Management, published online 21 August.
Stald, Gitte. 2001. “Meeting in the combat zone: Online multi-player computer games as spaces for social and cultural encounters.” In Proceedings of Association of Internet Researchers Conference, ed. Leslie Shade. Minneapolis, USA.
Stein, Volker and Tobias M. Scholz. 2016. “The intercultural challenge of building the European eSports League.” In Christoph Barmeyer and Peter Franklin (Eds.) Case Studies in Intercultural Management: Achieving Synergy from Diversity. London: Palgrave, 80-94.
Swalwell, M. L. 2009. “LAN gaming groups: Snapshots from an Australasian case study, 1999–2008.” In Gaming cultures and place in Asia-Pacific, ed. L. Hjorth and D. Chan, 117–136. Oxon, UK: Routledge.
Szablewicz, Marcella. 2011. “From addicts to athletes: Participation in the discursive construction of digital games in urban China.” In Selected Papers of Internet Research, IR 12.0 conference.
Szablewicz, Marcella. 2016. “A realm of mere representation? ‘Live’ e-sports spectacles and the crafting of China’s digital gaming image.” Games and Culture, 11(3): 256-274.
Taylor, Nicholas T. 2015. “Play to the camera: Video ethnography, spectatorship, and e-sports,” Convergence, 24 April.
Taylor, Nicholas T. 2012. “A silent team is a dead team”: Communicative norms in team-based Halo 3 play. In G. Voorhees, (Ed.), Guns, grenades and grunts: First person shooter games. New York: Continuum.
Taylor, Nicholas T. 2011. “Play globally, act locally: The standardization of pro Halo 3 gaming.” International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 3(1).
Taylor, Nicholas T. 2009. “Where the women are(n’t): Gender and a North American ‘pro-gaming’ scene.” In Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory: Proceedings of the 2009 Digital Games Research Association conference, eds. Barry Atkins, Helen Kennedy, and Tanya Krzywinska. London.
Taylor, Nicholas T. 2009. Power Play: Digital Gaming Goes Pro. PhD Dissertation, York University, Toronto.
Taylor, T.L. 2018. Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Taylor, T.L. 2012. Raising the Stakes: The Professionalization of Computer Gaming. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Taylor, T. L., and Emma Witkowski. 2010. “This is how we play it: What a mega-LAN can teach us about games.” In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Game, ed. Yusuf Pisan. Monterey, CA: ACM Press.
Van Hilvoorde, Ivo and Niek Pot. “Embodiment and fundamental motor skills in eSports.” Sports, Ethics and Philosophy, 10:1, 14-27.
Vera, José Agustín Carrillo. 2016. “From players to viewers: the construction of the media spectacle in the e-sports context.” Anàlisi, Issue 55, December [in Spanish].
Wagner, Michael. 2006. “On the scientific relevance of eSport.” In Proceedings of the 2006 International Conference on Internet Computing and Conference on Computer Game Development. Las Vegas, Nevada: CSREA Press.
Wimmer, Jeffrey. 2012. “Digital game culture(s) as prototype(s) of mediatization and commercialization of society.” In Computer Games and New Media Cultures: A Handbook of Digital Game Studies, J. Fromme & Unger, A. (Eds.), pp. 525-540, Berlin: Springer.
Witkowski, Emma. 2014. “Competition and Cooperation,” in B. Perron and M. J. Wolf, (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies. New York: Routledge.
Witkowski, Emma. 2013. “Eventful masculinities: Negotiations of hegemonic sporting masculinities at LANs,” in Mia Consalvo, Konstantin Mitgutsch, and Abe Stein (Eds.) Sports Videogames. New York: Routledge.
Witkowski, Emma. 2012. “On the Digital Playing Field: How We ‘Do Sport’ With Networked Computer Games.” Games and Culture, 7:349-374.
Witkowski, Emma. 2012. Inside the Huddle: The Sociology and Phenomenology of Team Play in Networked Computer Games. PhD dissertation, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Witkowski, Emma. 2009. “Probing the sportiness of eSports,” in J. Christophers and T. Scholz (eds.), eSports yearbook 2009, Norderstedt, Germany: Books on Demand GmbH, pp. 53 – 56.
Zolides, Andrew. 2015. “Lipstick Bullets: Labour and Gender in Professional Gamer Self-Branding,” Persona Studies, 1.2, 42-53.
Early notable non-academic/non-peer-reviewed on the subject:
Kane, Michael. 2008. Game Boys: Professional Videogaming’s Rise from the Basement to the Big Time. London: Viking/Penguin Books.
King, Brad, and John Borland. 2003. Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture From Geek to Chic. New York: McGraw-Hill. (non-academic)
Sirlin, David. 2005. Playing to Win: Becoming the Champion. Lulu.com.