Macquarie University
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eSport, work, sport and play: relationships and pathways to a new continuum model

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posted on 2022-03-28, 14:41 authored by Christopher McCutcheon
eSports are an emerging topic of study and interest both to the academy and the wider world given the rapid growth in both interest and funding of eSports competitions and teams that has been seen over the past few years. There are many definitional approaches proposed for eSports, however these tend to be essentialistic and do not properly account for differences eSports and traditional sport, and how eSports participants engage with and interact with eSports, and the degree of interaction. This thesis examines categories of eSports engagement and introduces an updated and re-imagined version of the play-games-sport continuum using play, leisure and work as non-binary or non-opposed factors. This updated model, which bypasses the strictures of a stipulated and essentialistic definitional approach, will assist in the understanding of how those who participate in eSports do so, from a non-essentialistic point of view. A new theoretical concept, termed the proximity to professionalism is explored. Proximity to professionalism, whilst requiring further developmental work, at its core suggests that eSports at all levels of activity display a greater proximity to professional behaviour than other forms of sport.


Table of Contents

1. eSports, a social construct -- 2. Foundational concepts for understanding engagement with eSports -- 3. Play, sport and eSports, and their relationship -- 4. eSports as work and labour; connection to the digital economy -- 5. The nexus of sport and eSports: definitions and approaches -- 6. eSports and the play-leisure-work continuum -- 7. Conclusion -- 8. Thank you -- 9. References.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 55-64

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Computing

Department, Centre or School

Department of Computing

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Michael Hitchens


Copyright Christopher McCutcheon 2019. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (64 pages)

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