Conventions within eSports: Exploring Similarities in Design


DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG
Dundee, Scotland: Digital Games Research Association and Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games, August, 2016
Number: 1
Volume: 13
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666

Among the thousands of competitive games, only a few have emerged as the eSports sensations that they are. To understand the cause of this phenomenon, this paper applies the notion that successful eSports share design characteristics which ordinary competitive games do not possess. Drawing from the MDA framework (Hunicke et al. 2004), these similarities are explored by conducting a comparative interface study (Consalvo and Dutton 2006) on two leading eSports – League of Legends (Riot Games 2009) and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (Valve Corporation 2012) – in order to understand how they may be similar in design despite the contrast in genre. As a result, this paper identifies five design characteristics – Match Based Structure, Player Evaluation System, Explicit UI, Player Performance Feedback and Game Client – that are shared explicitly between these eSports and elaborates them in detail with discussions on the potential reasons behind their implementations. In doing so, this paper argues for the consideration of implementing these design characteristics in the construction of any competitive game that seeks success within eSports.