Ellis et al defines autoethnography as “the approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience”, with this in mind I will look back at my first evaluation of State of Play (found here) and analyze my experiences and understanding through academic research.
Beginning with Frederich Schiller’s quote, “Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays”, State of play deals with the contrast of E-Sports and cultural family traditions in South Korea. The impact of professional gamers challenges the perceptions of what it means to be successful and fulfilled. Seo details the changing characteristics of people who enter into professional gaming and also the audience who participates. The impact of something seen as a leisure (playing video games) to a job (professional gaming) adds value to the individual – their character and behaviour. The transition from once a consumer to a creator changes the ability of engagement on a more social and professional level.
I mention the emotional implications that I see when introducing money into gaming. The value of enjoying a game changes to a drive and expectation to succeed forced upon by the individual, the team (if a part of one) and management. There is a struggle of experience and relevance when it comes to wanting to be a professional gamer and even while being a professional gamer. The window to be a professional gamer has not been critically evaluated by can be estimated from 14 to 26 years old. Twenty-six is seen to be where cognitive function starts to fade and so the individual becomes slower and less valuable. Though to make it all that way is unlikely – as with entering into professional gaming you are a tool to be used for the benefit of the industry and you have little say on what the industry will do with you. When people of such a young age like Park Yo Han in State of Play try to enter Esports they are inexperienced and uneducated about contract negotiation and there is little to no job security. There is just fierce competition based on the game you are playing. The individuals need to look after themselves but also the group. If an individual does not maintain the capabilities that are replaced with hesitation, if a group does not perform then that are all let go. If a once highly sought team fails that get placed to a challenger tournament where they compete with up-and-coming teams to take their place (Hollist, 2015).
In State of Play – I noticed Park Yo Hans’ parents question the capabilities of his commitment to become professional. With limiting job security and a short time frame of being a professional gamer it is a justifiable cause. Kim et al mentions that South Koreans highly value togetherness and inter-dependency in families with a clear hierarchical role among family members. The visual showing of Park Yo Hans family sitting around the table talking about the future of Park’s career and what his parents hope for him shows that he needs to challenge the expectation from his parents and prove that what he really wants to do is something that he can dedicate himself to – unlike his studies.
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E. & Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no.1
Hollist, K.E. 2015, ‘Time to be grown ups about video gaming:the rising eports industry and the need for regulation’, Arizona Law Review, vol. 57, issue. 3, pp 823 – 847
Kim, H., Prouty, A., Smith, D., Ko, M., Wetchler, J. & Oh, J. 2014, ‘Differentiation of Self and its Relationship with Family Functioning in South Koreans’, American Journal of Family Therapy, vol. 42, no. 3, pp 257 – 265
Seo, Y 2016, Professional consumption and identity transformations in the field of esports, Journal of business research, vol. 69, no. 1, pp 264 – 272