Art Education in eSports: How to Incorporate Aesthetics Into the eSport Marketing Curriculum

Art Education in eSports: How to Incorporate Aesthetics Into the eSport Marketing Curriculum

Jhih-yin Diane Lee, Wen-hao Winston Chou
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7300-6.ch011
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Compared to marketers in traditional sports settings, eSports marketing professionals are expected to be better equipped with visual aesthetic sensitivity and creativity. Therefore, aesthetics and creativity should be included in eSports marketing curricula. When developing courses and instructing students, contemporary theories and practices for enhancing visual aesthetic sensitivity and creativity should be taken into consideration along with the different curricular and professional needs of individual students who are interested at working in the eSports industry. This chapter explains and demonstrates how to best integrate some pedagogical techniques in art education into teaching practices in eSports marketing courses.
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Electronic sports (eSports), or competitive online video gaming, has experienced incredible growth in popularity in recent years (Cranmer et al. 2021). In 2020, eSports became a popular alternative to traditional sporting events when many of the latter were canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic (Ke & Wagner, 2020), and watching or playing gaming content during lockdown was especially prevalent in younger generations (Dredge, 2020). It is reasonable to expect that for years to come after the pandemic, eSports will continue to be one of the most promising branches in the sport business.

A systematic literature review identified spectator motivations as one of the main research topics in the psychology of eSports (Bányai et al., 2019). Although scholars have found that fan consumption motivations in eSports and traditional sports are similar (Pizzo et al., 2018), game aesthetics stands out as a unique motivation for consuming eSports (Xiao, 2020). The aesthetic features of video games, such as graphics and sound, are essential to game players (Wood et al., 2004). Experiencing the beauty of well-designed graphics in eSports games can also attract viewership by satisfying spectators’ need for aesthetics (Xiao, 2020). Given the importance of aesthetics in eSports, educators and developers of sport management curricula should incorporate relevant material into their sport marketing courses to better prepare students for their careers in the business of eSports.

This book chapter is directed to faculty within eSports-related disciplines, such as marketing, sport management, and art education who aim to improve their teaching outcomes throughout the process of course design, implementation, and evaluation. By including aesthetics pedagogy in eSports marketing courses, students could be exposed to more experiential learning and better career preparation. The authors of this chapter come from academic backgrounds in sport management and art education. This collaboration seeks a better way of preparing students in sport management programs for their future jobs in the eSports industry through the integration of both authors’ knowledge. Currently, sport management students demonstrate great enthusiasm for the field of eSports, but they are often unaware of how best to prepare themselves for future employment in the industry. Based on suggestions from the related literature and teaching techniques borrowed from the field of art education, the authors have developed an alternative to current study that can provide students with a competitive advantage on the eSports job market by increasing their creativity and aesthetic sensitivity.

Scholars of marketing have suggested the benefits of integrating lessons on creativity and aesthetic sensitivity in marketing curricula (Petkus et al., 2011; Ramocki, 2014). The impact of course design on marketing students’ performance also has been noted (Black et al., 2014). For example, marketing outputs like advertising and product design are used as objects to teach marketing students how to interpret and evaluate these outputs in classrooms (Petkus et al., 2011). Given sport marketing’s position as a branch of marketing (Smith & Stewart, 2014) and eSports marketers’ eagerness to develop viable strategies and practices for this emerging industry (Pizzo et al., 2018), it is imperative that we begin to explore teaching creativity and aesthetic sensitivity in eSports marketing classroom. In this chapter, after reviewing related literature, the authors designed an example course addressing the lack of aesthetics-focus education in the current curriculum.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Esports: Organized video game competitions and their related activities.

Aesthetics: A set of principles concerned with the nature and sense of beauty when individuals perceive and evaluate objects.

Influencer: An individual has influence over other people’s opinions and decision related to consumption.

Fandom: A subculture composed of people who share a passion about a common focal entity.

Experiential Learning: A process of learning through experience. Learners need to reflect on that experience of what they did during learning to receive desired learning outcomes.

Arts: The various productions of human creative skills.

Visual Aesthetic Sensitivity: The capability to perceive, appreciate, and evaluate visual beautifulness of objects.

Net Generation: The cohort of people who were born after the 1980s and are constantly exposed to computer-based technology during growing up.

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