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esports Matrix: Structuring the esports Research Agenda

Cranmer, Eleanor, Han, Dai-In, van Gisbergen, Marnix and Jung, Timothy ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8594-6641 (2020) esports Matrix: Structuring the esports Research Agenda. Computers in Human Behavior, 117. p. 106671. ISSN 0747-5632

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The popularity of Electronic Sports (esports) have grown tremendously in the last few years, becoming one of the most popular forms of digital entertainment. Despite continued growth, definitions and classifications of esports remain elusive, and the industry is still considered by many to be in its infancy. Understanding of esports originate from diverse, sometimes conflicting fields, which has created fragmented interpretations of its definition, positioning and core components. This has hindered esports from embracing opportunities afforded by emerging digital technologies and progressing as a distinct field. The purpose of this conceptual paper is threefold, to redefine esports, propose a unified framework to capitalise on esports business potential, and inspire a more structured future esports research agenda. The proposed esports Matrix, presents four distinct realms that distinguish esports; esports as a representation of current physical sports (sports digitalisation), esports as traditional (multi-player) game experience (competitive multiplayer computer games), esports that modify existing sports, player rules and setups through digital augmentations (digitally enhanced sports), and new types of esports involving emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (immersive reality sports). The esports Matrix was developed incorporating industry expertise thus verifying its suitability and relevance to advance conceptual and empirical understanding, and importantly, facilitating a more structured approach, to enable businesses to realise the potential of esports.

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