On this page you can download the discussion paper that was submitted for publication in the Journal for Media Linguistics. The blogstract summarises the submission in a comprehensible manner. You can comment on the discussion paper and the blogstract below this post. Please use your real name for this purpose. For detailed comments on the discussion paper please refer to the line numbering of the PDF.
This submission is a contribution to the special issue “Co-constructing presence between players and non-players in videogame interactions”.
Doing participation: non-players participating in video gaming
by Heike Baldauf-Quilliatre & Isabel Colón de Carvajal
This paper investigates the role of non-players/spectators in videogame sessions. Much research has been conducted on gaming interactions and players’ activities in the last two decades. Yet, less attention has been devoted to other co-present participants and their activities related to the gaming (but see Tekin/Reeves 2017 inter alia). In many situations, other people – non-players – are physically present and participate in the interaction and the gaming in different ways.
Based on audiovisual data of French videogame sessions, the paper shows that non-players become spectators and ratified participants in the gaming interaction. We demonstrate that spectatorship is neither a predefined nor a passive role, but achieved through different forms of participation. We also highlight that participants do spectatorship while simultaneously enacting social relationships. To this end, we use the methodological paradigm of multimodal conversation analysis, which makes it possible to focus on the organization of interaction by drawing on ethno-methods, i.e. practices developed by the participants to mutually display their understanding of what they are doing. By looking more closely at what the non-players do and how these different actions are related to the gaming, we aim to explore what spectating means in this case.
We approach the data from two different angles. Firstly, we focus on the different configurations of the three gaming interactions with regard to the participation practices of the non-players, and we analyse the interrelation of the development of the game, watching, commenting, gaze and body movements of players and non-players as well as the configuration of the spatial environment. The paper describes three different “ways of spectating”: doing being a couple, doing being friends and doing being a supporter. On the one hand, these “ways of spectating” correspond to specific realities, such as the number of participants (players and non-players) as well as their relationships prior to the interaction, the type of game, the spatial configuration of the room, etc. On the other hand, they are practices which are locally accomplished and interactionally negotiated.
Secondly, we present the detailed sequential analysis of certain moments of these interactions, in order to show their fine-tuned temporal organisation and to detail how these “ways of spectating” are achieved. We highlight different embodied practices connected/related to the local multimodal accomplishment of participation:
- how players and non-players co-construct the alternation between a non-player’s engagement and disengagement in the gaming;
- how players and non-players co-construct different jocular mockery;
- how players and non-players co-construct non-players’ coaching activities.
These practices show that spectating is co-constructed by players and non-players and that a larger repertoire of multimodal resources is used to accomplish different activities simultaneously.
Through these analyses, our paper argues that being a spectator cannot be defined as an assigned role. It is a complex and local achievement, co-constructed by all participants and related to the ecological context in a way that is complex and far from straightforward.
Empirical data referred to in the discussion paper as