Esports – video games that are played competitively, watched by large audiences – are a rapidly growing form of mainstream entertainment that lie at the convergence of TV, interactive media and digital games. In this module, you will acquire both a systematic theoretical understanding of the ecosystem of content creation in esports as well as hands-on, practical experience in executing an esports production, combining techniques from across Film and TV Production and Interactive Media. You will learn to understand the esports industry, including its historic roots, the socio-cultural influences and technological developments that paved the way for its rise, as well as acquire knowledge about state-of-the art industry practice borrowed from traditional TV broadcast, interactive media and game design that drives current production practice in esports. You will learn how your existing skills are situated within esports content production, and work in a multi-disciplinary team consisting of students from Film and TV Production as well as Interactive Media to plan and produce a live esports event. Taking advantage of the University of York’s partnership with ESL, the world’s biggest esports company, this module will create interfaces for students to directly engage with industry leaders in esports through a series of guest lectures.
*Students will lose 3 marks per workshop, seminar or practical missed for this module.
|A||Autumn Term 2020-21|
To achieve the stated learning outcomes, the main aim of this module is to meaningfully interweave theory and practice. Theory will be delivered through lectures, with the aim of some of the lectures being co-taught by staff and industry guests. Suggested topics for the lectures are as follows:
The lectures are complemented with seminars and practicals, which are designed to create a stimulating theoretical and practical dialogue between students from across FTP and IM. Bi-weekly seminars provide a forum for inter-disciplinary discussion of lectures and reading materials. In the seminars, we will confront the critical lenses of both programmes, examining the lecture’s topics further. In preparation for the seminars, students will read inter-disciplinary literature, observe and analyse various production across esports and traditional sports, as well as reflect on relevant material from online services such as Twitch and Youtube.
Theoretical material discussed in lectures and seminars will be complemented by a practical components. Practicals are run in a bi-weekly fashion, interweaving with the seminars. Practicals offer students of each programme to explore familiar and unfamiliar settings – allowing FTP students to venture into the capturing virtual game environments, and in return, allowing IM students to acquire a basic understanding of studio technology. This provides an opportunity for the students both venture into new territory outside their field of study, while, within their familiar setting, contextualising their existing practical skills to the requirements of an esports production. Starting from W6, students will then utilise the practicals and seminars to plan and prepare for a jointly executed esports production. Based on this planning, as well as theoretical and practical knowledge acquired through W2 – W9, students will then co-produce an esports broadcast in Week 10, which is the basis for assessment.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
1500 word essay
Practical Assessment (group)
Drawing on preparation in the practicals, the contents of the lectures as well as the discussions in seminars, students of both programmes will work in a team to execute an esports production in Week 10, Autumn term. For students of both programmes, the assessment is broken down into two parts, a practical assessment and a written assessment.
The practical assessment is based on a tournament production, in which a series of matches are covered. Each segment consists of a pre-game panel, the actual match coverage and a post-game panel. This tournament schedule segments the day into several slots with identical structure of coverage. This segmentation allows for crews to rotate, enable the IM students to execute at least one A-role in the production. During each segment, the students who are not fulfilling a A-role, will execute a B-role (commentator, camera, etc.). The following table provides an overview about the roles (* = A-role):
The group assessment will focus on how the team combined in-game footage, panel elements, graphical overlays and commentary to tell a coherent, engaging and informative story to the audience. Professionalism and communication of respective crew members will also be key drivers for the group assessments. Coordinating in-game camera work, commentary, visual overlays to capture the most important aspects of the game while not overpowering the viewer with too much information will be a criticalbalance the team needs to strike. The underlying criteria for a successful esports production will be extensively practiced and discussed across seminars and practicals.
The essay is a critical reflection of the role of interactive media in esports content production. This essay is due in Week 10, capturing and informing the tournament planning. The students will cover historic aspects of esports, discuss how their existing, programme-specific knowledge is situated within esports, and reflect on the integration of elements across TV production and Interactive Media. Students are encouraged to use the planning of the tournament as an exemplar for their theoretical considerations. Lastly, students will reflect on how novel techniques and technologies from IM may advance content production in esports.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
1500 word essay
Presentation & Viva
Students will receive written feedback by the standard university deadline.
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Hamari, J., Sjöblom, M. (2017). What is eSports and why do people watch it? Internet research, 27(2), 211-232.
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Schubert, M., Drachen, A., & Mahlmann, T. (2016). Esports Analytics Through Encounter Detection Other Sports. Proceedings of MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. (Available at: http://www.sloansportsconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/1458.pdf)
Syed, M. (2011). Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice. Fourth Estate (GB), ISBN: 978-0007350544.