I’ve done my fair share of speaking about esports, but never in a class setting before. When I found out that my alma matter had an esports class (not just like, one week of study), I jumped at the chance to email the prof and see if they could put my experience to use.
Literally, that’s what I did — emailed them and said “hey, this is what I’ve done: can I do anything to help?” The video below is the final result — I put together a lecture titled “Online Communities: Streaming, Chat and Discord” for Ryerson University’s RTA 840 class.
Going into the actual lecture I was a bit nervous because I know that non-essential classes means there were going to be people who were there just because they thought the class was easy. While I could tell that not everyone was there because they were super interested and passionate about esports, there were a few where I could kind of look and say “yeah, you’re just as online as I am, and we’re paying attention to the same things.”
Surprisingly, the class seemed more aware of mainstream sports esports, rather than the fantasy games like Dota or League of Legends, but I’ll chalk that up to the crossover from sports media, a program that has this esports class in its syllabus. I had some questions after the lecture about Madden, FIFA and F1 games, and why they might not have as big audiences, and the answer was a good re-centering of what esports is: a marketing expense.
Simply put, most games that already reach a large audience (or are incredibly niche) don’t really benefit from esports as much as you’d think, and the expense of producing them (especially from the developers) needs to be offset by the potential benefit.
This was a fun experience, though; I’m not uncomfortable speaking in front of the audience, but getting this thing together raised my confidence in terms of being able to organize my thoughts and make things coherent for people who aren’t as involved in esports as I am.
I hope to do more like this in the future, especially if I can refine the speech. I think that esports needs more free resources/courses/lectures, especially as conferences lock certain talks behind multiple-thousand-dollar tickets. Things like this could be the difference-maker in getting the next generation of smart thinkers involved in the space.
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