Long practiced away from the spotlights, esports (electronic sports) has reached a new dimension in 2020. These video game competitions, bringing together individual players or teams from around the world, are expected to attract nearly 495 million spectators this year (mainly on Twitch and Youtube), and generate nearly 1.1 billion dollars in revenue.
From local competitions in Switzerland to the next Olympic Games in Tokyo, from one’s living room to crowded stadiums, from casual players to professional players under sponsorship contracts, we are witnessing a true revolution that is as much sporting as it is digital, cultural and societal.
While the best players in Switzerland were challenging each other on the game Hearthstone during the first ello cup organized at the Maladière Stadium in Neuchâtel on 1 November as part of the Swiss Digital Days 2020, our five guests gave an hour-long insight (in French) on the rise and practices of esports, of its impact on gaming and on sports in general. It was also (and foremost) an opportunity to outline the possible futures of esports as a sport, a media and a culture as a whole.
This online panel was organized by the Academy of Journalism and Media (AJM) of the University of Neuchâtel and Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), with support from the IMI, and brought together approximately 35 people who were able to interact with the speakers.
Video of the event
Watch on YouTube
Nicolas Besombes is an associate professor in sport sciences (STAPS) at the University of Paris. For the past ten years, his research work has focused on the sociology of esports. He is also the vice-president of the France Esports association, which brings together all the associative and economic stakeholders of esports on the French territory.
Noëlle “PsychoHugger” Desjeux
A video game and esport enthusiast, Noëlle Desjeux was formerly in charge of communication at the Swiss Esports Federation. She now hosts the weekly show Whisp Her on RTS eSport, and supports the communication and events departments of the Lausanne-Sport Esports association.
Maxime Forrer is the president of Neuchâtel Xamax Esports since July 2019. The association aims to develop the practice of video games in a broad sense, whether through public events or specifically for esports players, by supporting different teams on several esports licenses.
Nina “Naatya” Graifemberg
Passionate about video games and active in the Swiss esports scene for the past 3 years, Nina Graifemberg is a referee and is also a member of the Swiss Esports Federation as well as the Swiss Made Games League.
Stéphane Laurenceau is a multi-talented host, journalist and producer with a passion for video games at Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS). Above all, he is a long-time advocate of the gaming and digital culture in French-speaking Switzerland, where he has been producing the weekly show Point Barre on Couleur 3 since 2013. He is also the editor-in-chief of RTS eSport.
Marie Rumignani is a doctoral assistant at the Academy of Journalism and Media (AJM) of the University of Neuchâtel and a scientific collaborator at Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS). Her research focuses on the emergence of innovation in the media sector as well as on new digital practices. She is also an avid gamer.