Esports and Material Culture: Controllers Incorporation in Fighting Video Games - Normandie Université Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2018

Esports and Material Culture: Controllers Incorporation in Fighting Video Games


Esports refers to competitive videogaming (Wagner, 2006; Taylor, 2012; Hamari & Sjöblom, 2017), and is dispersed in a wide variety of platforms (consoles, PC, mobiles), disciplines (shooting games, real time strategy games, sports video games, fighting games...), video games titles (Counter-Strike, Starcraft, FIFA, Tekken...) and therefore control devices (keyboard, mouse, arcade stick, fighting pad...). To beat their opponents, players must demonstrate fine motor skills expertise (Reeves et al., 2009; Witkowski, 2012; Hilvoorde & Pot, 2016). Control devices are therefore the object of all the players' attentions, because they are the support of inputs accuracy. In order to understand how players perform on their control devices, filmed observations focused on gamers' motor skills during eight French esports gatherings, and semi-directive interviews were conducted with four French competitive fighting games players. Our results reveal that players automatize the various combinations of accurate and rhythmed inputs on their controllers. This ability to quickly adapt motor skills on controllers according to the actions of the opponent's avatar, requires a lot of repetition during training in order to teach to the fingers where are the commands. The controller's incorporation (Warnier, 1999; Roustan, 2003) then allows players to develop "finger memory" until the actions they perform to control their virtual character become automatic. From a certain level of expertise, the player unconsciously relies on the execution of these automatic inputs, and can concentrate, not on his fingers, but on the virtual environment in which his character evolves, and therefore on the different strategies he implements. Controllers thus participate to the players' subjectification. Because they incorporate it as they practice regularly, players build their identity as fighting games players. They thus attribute a secondary symbolic and social function to their arcade stick or fighting pad (in addition to the basic utility function). Using this type of controller means for these players that they are belonging to a group that distinguishes itself from other esports disciplines by creating its own specific material culture, on which they act and vice versa.
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Dates and versions

hal-04015976 , version 1 (06-03-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04015976 , version 1


Nicolas Besombes. Esports and Material Culture: Controllers Incorporation in Fighting Video Games. International Toy Research Association (ITRA), Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, Jul 2018, Saint Denis, France. ⟨hal-04015976⟩
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