A new Occasional Paper has been posted:
Paper 40: July 2017
Mark Johnson. "Comparing the Professionalization of Pro Gamblers and Pro Video Game Players"
ABSTRACT: This paper explores the lives and practices of professional gamblers and professional video game players. Although both sets of individuals earn their incomes through games and other broadly “playful” practices, the work identifies four significant differences in their careers and what the “everyday” of these individuals looks like. Firstly, in terms of the nature of “skill” required to progress in these careers, and how these players reflect on and understand their own skill; secondly, the role of money and “money management” in their lives, and the different rhythms of financial gain, and potentially loss; thirdly, the observation that whereas almost all professional video game players pursue a single game to a high level, professional gamblers generally pursue many games, a reflection of the different economic superstructures surrounding the two practices; and fourthly, differences in working hours and freedom, where professional gamblers live a life of flexibility and variation, whilst those of eSports players are regimented and highly structured. It shows that although both are professional game-players, there is wide divergence in this experiences, caused by the entanglement of external factors such as skill, luck, risk, legality, and technology, in this practices. The paper concludes by recommending future research into these elements and how they intersect with gameplay, in order to future understand the lives of these most skilled game-playing individuals.
View the paper here (pdf)