ESports and the New Gaming Culture Reviews

ESports and the New Gaming Culture: ISBN 978-1-68282-925-7 / eBook: 978-1-68282-926-4
Booklist, September 1, 2020

Here, Steffens chronicles the meteoric rise of esports (electronic sports), “the national pastime of a new generation,” with four chapters making a convincing case for the value of competitive gaming. The first chapter, “tA Global Phenomenon,” offers a general introduction to the most popular gaming genres, drawing readers in with dramatic accounts of esports competitions and giving specific numbers to the massive amount of interest—especially financial—in the field. Chapter two, “Inside the World of Pro Gamers,” details the lives of individuals on competitive teams as well as “tlifestyle gamers,” who stream their playing onlineā€”an area further explored in “tBuilding Esports Teams,” the third section. Chapter four, “Esports in Education” argues for the practical value of esports in high school and college, linking video games to increased student engagement and giving suggestions on tying esports to curriculum. While the text is sometimes dense—with its abundance of detailed information on viewership and revenue&mdashl;this makes it an excellent resource for young researchers and, maybe more importantly, a necessary read for skeptical teachers and parents.
—Ronny Khuri

ESports and the New Gaming Culture: ISBN 978-1-68282-925-7 / eBook: 978-1-68282-926-4
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2020

A brief survey of professional video gaming.
This overview split into five sections offers an uneven introduction to the contemporary gaming scene. A timeline runs from the first amateur tournaments to the professionalized present. The introduction pairs an anecdote from an e-sports tournament with commentary on competitive gaming's allure to investors and educators. Chapter 1 defines eight professional gaming genres. Though the main focus is cutthroat, typically team-based e-sports, Chapter 2 also considers lifestyle gaming-personality-based, commentary-driven broadcasts often pursued by those who eschew the precarious nature of competitive gaming. The text largely ignores the astronomical odds against success in favor of starry-eyed preoccupation with elite players' skills, status, and incomes. However, this section admirably highlights professional gamers of varied identities, including “Myth,” a male lifestyle gamer of Syrian and African American descent, and “Brolylegs,” a male Street Fightergrandmaster with arthrogryposis. In addition, the book addresses sexism in the portrayal of female game characters and hostile environments for women gamers. Chapter 3 examines the upsides and challenges of building e-sports teams and leagues and gaming's fusion of athletics and traditional entertainment. Chapter 4 lays out common defenses of gaming (for example, players learn life lessons), provides practical advice on starting a sanctioned school-level e-sports program, and addresses college-level e-sports. Text boxes mostly consisting of quotes do little to enhance the text, and the stock photos feel stagnant.
A jumping-off point for interested readers. (source notes, further research, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)