Esports Skills are People Skills

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Esports is the fastest growing sports industry globally, and esports research is becoming more prevalent. However, there is a lack of research on what 21st century skills esports players develop. This study examines the experiences of nine young CS:GO players and their coach enrolled in an esports program at a sports college in the greater Copenhagen area. Through observation and group interviews we try to identify the pedagogical goals of the coach and how these are understood and experienced by the players. Based on Gee’s notion of affinity space and Dialogical Self Theory, we explore how the players position themselves in relation to their esports activities as well as their perception of what it takes to be a competent player. The preliminary findings show that both the players and their coach emphasize healthy culture (‘sund spilkultur’) as a key aspect of the esports activities. Thus, players believe that being able to communicate well and in a respectful tone is a core competency on par with technical skills and understanding of the game. In summary, players report that their experience of better communication skills is an ongoing concern both inside and outside of the game. In addition, the players describe how their ‘people skills’ transfer to friends, family and school work as a result of esports training.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th European Conference on Games-Based Learning (ECGBL-2019)
EditorsLars Elbæk, Gunver Majgaard, Andrea Valente, Saifuddin Khalid
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication date3 Oct 2019
ISBN (Electronic)1-912764-37-7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019
Event13th European Conference on Game-based Learning - University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Duration: 3 Oct 20194 Oct 2019
Conference number: 13


Conference13th European Conference on Game-based Learning
LocationUniversity of Southern Denmark


  • Counter-Strike
  • esports
  • 21st century skills
  • communication
  • affinity space


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