Published 12 February 2018

Esports Personalities Debate the Future at University of York

York, 12th of February 2018

Top esports professionals, commentators and celebrities joined experts at the University of York in a panel debate to discuss current trends and the future of esports.

Paul “Redeye” Chaloner, Ted “PyrionFlax” Forsyth, Vincent “Deathsie” Chu, Owen “ODPixel” Davies, Toby “TopiWan” Dawson, Tabitha “Artifakes” Lyons, Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner and WehSing “SingSing” Yuen joined University of York esports expert Florian Block to discuss esports and the future, with an emphasis on career-building, data and new technologies.

The panel shared rare, personal insights into the history of esports, their role in it and critically reflected on ongoing challenges in one of the fastest growing forms of mainstream entertainment, including the increasing role of research innovation in esports. The panel also discussed how to build a career in esports, whether as a broadcaster, commentator or player. The panel talked about the history of esports, how the industry has matured, current trends and future potential. A key focus was the rapid adoption of new technologies in esports and the increasing interest in data and tools for harnessing these for commentators, streamers, players, teams and beyond.

The public debate can be viewed here.

The panel was hosted by Digital Creativity Labs (DC Labs), in collaboration with the Department of Theatre, Film and Television and

Dr Florian Block, from DC Labs, a world-leading group in esports research, said: “It is no secret that the esports industry is booming. Games are played competitively by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and the industry is generating incredible media attention.” And continues: “At DC labs we attract interest from the esports community due to our direct collaboration between researchers and esports stakeholders”.

DC Labs research includes training AIs that can predict match outcomes, building tools for esports broadcasting and data-informed storytelling, using esports data to make the fiendishly complex games understandable to newcomers, predicting skill (podcast here), and even correlating how good you are at playing esports with intelligence, recommender systems for training players, blockchain technologies and beyond, the DC Labs has garnered international media attention and community awareness.

The Department of Theatre, Film and Television offers leading programmes in Interactive Media as well as Film and TV Production, both of which offer 3rd year specialisation options in esports. Furthermore, the IGGI centre for doctorial training, provides fully funded PhD studentships in games research, welcoming applications in esports.