Spontaneous, Yet Studious: Esports Commentators' Live Performance and Self-Presentation Practices
How do esports commentators prepare for their performances before the game?
How do esports commentators manage and present information during the game?
What aspects are important to esports commentators’ self-presentation online?
Esports commentating, the practice of reporting, explaining, and elaborating live competitive gameplay to spectators, is a centerpiece of esports as a rapidly growing spectator sport and an essential component of today's growing gaming/live streaming ecosystem. In particular, esports commentators face three unique challenges: the preparation for conducting real time commentating on highly dynamic esports games; the complexity of in-the-moment decisions during the game's broadcast; and the balance between personal self-presentation and professional content presentation. Yet this emerging and novel sociotechnical practice and how these challenges affect esports commentators' live performance and self-presentation practices has received relatively little research attention in human-computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW).
In this project, we endeavor to address these limitations by empirically analyzing 19 esports commentators' sociotechnical practices. Our findings highlight the complex interaction dynamics involved in esports commentating as well as the importance of professionalism and social presence in esports commentators' self-presentation. In order to execute seamless and spontaneous commentary, commentators must be studious and engage in much prior research and have a clear sense of self.
We contribute to the growing CSCW literature on esports commentating practices by revealing esports commentators' unique decision making process presenting information and their self-image.