LoL is more than just a game it’s a community

My research aims throughout this study have been to gain a better understanding of the online gaming culture across eastern and western platforms, through analysing League of Legends (LoL). In order to achieve this I have explored different elements of the gaming culture such as, the idea of celebrity, interacting with the game through personal experience, analysing competition and exploring different motifs reflected within the culture.

Through my research I have come to realise that online gaming culture strives on two very important elements; competition and teamwork, both of which I consider to be two extremely social and interactive constructs.

Online video game culture allows the users to use two different faces – one being a virtual avatar and the other being a physical space. (Hung, 2007) Physical space is important to this video game culture as it can be experienced and accessed in many different varying from at home in ones bedroom to an internet café. The idea of space is so important to understanding how different gamers interact with one another. Twitch TV is an example of this, through providing a platform for gamers to watch other gamers in their own private space interacting online essentially transforming their bedroom into a public sphere. This blurs the lines in the gaming world between online and offline expression of identity. (Hung, 2007)

One of the most fascinating parts of this research has been that of Esports (The Electronic Sports League), which is a youth culture that is not only experienced online but also offline. (Weiss, 2013)

This whole competitive and interactive culture behind online gaming creates a interesting social network and presents something I always assumed was a leisurely activity as a well marketed sub-culture that is internationally recognized.

One thing that I found to be most interesting about LoL as an online community was that this culture function as a collective and have through this ‘team spirit’ been able to achieve philanthropic action. For example, in 2011 League of Legends players formed together to raise over $162, 000 for victims of the Tsunami that had destroyed Japan earlier that year. (News RX, 2011)

All of the research I have discovered and through my own personal experiences gained, it has been brought to my attention that online gaming culture and games such as LoL are not merely a way to kill time, they are a lifestyle, a career, a leisure activity and a sense of community and freedom for so many young people across multiple cultural platforms.

References:

Hung, Chia-Yuan, 2007, ‘Video games in context: An ethnographic study of situated meaning-making practices of Asian immigrant adolescents in New York City’, Teachers College, Columbia University, Authors and Digital Games Research Association, pp248-253

NewsRX, 20/04/2011, ‘Riot Games; Video Game Players Raise over $160, 000 for the Red Cross to support earthquake and Tsunami victims in Japan through League of Legends.’ Electronics Buisness Journal, ProQuest, <http://ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/861693151?accountid=15112&gt; Date Accessed: 20/10/2014

Weiss Thomas, Schiele Sabrina, 2013, ‘Virtual worlds in competitive contexts: Analyzing eSports consumer needs’ Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen < <http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/620/art%253A10.1007%252Fs12525-013-0127-5.pdf?auth66=1414062967_bda624ea852cada00322933d3be1e4c5&ext=.pdf > Date Accessed: 20/10/2014

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