While professional e-sports has enjoyed tremendous success in recent years, fuelled by the rise of live-streaming platforms like Twitch.tv as well as the global popularity of competitive games such as League of Legends, it remains a male-dominated industry. This project looks to build on feminist research currently underway in the rich yet relatively undocumented terrain of ‘mid-level’ competition — collegiate e-sports clubs, LAN tournaments, amateur online leagues — as these are sites of relatively new but intensifying experimentation for an e-sports industry looking to grow its audiences. This presents a vital opportunity for scholars to not only document, but help shape this emergent terrain in a way that promotes diversity — both in terms of subjectivities and skill levels.
Our aim with this group-based, multi-sited ethnography is to comprehensively document forms of female and genderqueer participation in elite, mid-level, and amateur competitive play in one of the biggest public gaming events in the world, DreamHack. Through a collective ethnography, a deep exploration of player, organizational and institutional practices produced across competitive gaming can be realized, making visible forms of female participation that are understood to be present, but are routinely obscured by journalistic, promotional and academic forms of reporting.
T. L. Taylor