Designing Esports Streams for the Novice Viewer

Understanding how visual overlays on esports streams can increase knowledge and enhance the experience for new viewers

Overview

The Problem

600 million consumers globally will watch esports in 2023, up 79% from 2017. Because of this rise in esports, there is a need to accomodate a more broad audience as it becomes more available on different channels, and as more and more people get invested. The best way to understand an esport currently is to play the video game for oneself, and esports streams do not currently try to help a wider audience understand the game.

The Solution

By understanding novice viewer motivations and needs when it comes to watching traditional sports and esports, I will create a framework for enhancing the esports viewing experience through enhancing understanding of the game. By creating optional visual overlays on top of an existing stream, my solution will not lessen the viewing experience for seasoned viewers, and give the option for new viewers gain visual assistance to create a better understanding and appreciation of the game.

My Roles

• UX Designer

• Researcher

My Team

• Me

• Researchers in the IMTC Lab at Georgia Tech

• Industry Professionals from Turner and Riot Games

Methods Used

• Interviews

• Obversations

• Affinity Mapping

• Comparative Analysis

• Participatory Design Workshop

• To be continued...

Research

Interviews

7Participants

First, I had to understand general motivations and reasonings for why people watch or play sports. I could use this information to translate general motivations from traditional sports into a foundation for esports.


“We've grown up with all these other sports being on TV or like paid spectator sports. So like that, those just kind of feel like, well duh, you know?”



Takeaways


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Strong family and friend influence

Most participants learned the sports that they enjoy through their family and friends.

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Strong emphasis on stories and players

When participants talked about their favorite sports, they focused a lot on how the stories of their favorite teams and players shaped the game.

Observations (Watch Party)

8Participants

3Hour Game

Based on my interviews, I came to learn how all participants learned sports they enjoy through friends and family. I wanted to replicate that experience for esports. I wanted to understand what new viewers' opinions are on the esports game as they watch it, and how I (a domain expert) can interact with new viewers. This would allow me to understand the nuances of a person's journey to enjoy and learn a sport (an esport in this case), since I did not get these detailed findings from my interviews.


“I think it's hilarious how I'm seeing these people and it's giving me nothing.”



Takeaways


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Did not need full knowledge of game to enjoy viewing

Even though the game did not help the viewers understand the rules of the game, viewers still enjoyed looking at all the chaos and following players.

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Knowledge of players and basic rules enhanced viewing experience

Viewers appreciated the game more when they understood the player's roles and the rules of the game. Viewers were able to call out plays and associate players with their characters as the game went on, enabling them to learn and enjoy the game more.

Affinity Map

300+Notes

Next, I created an affinity map to understand the major themes of novice viewing that I gained from my research. This way, I could use these themes to influence my designs.




4 Main Themes:


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Gameplay

Rules are important to understand the implications of plays in the game.

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Knowledge

Understanding aspects of a game originate from playing the game or friends and family teaching it. Viewers have lots of questions about the game, and not everyone has the knowledge to explain it.

*

Stories

Learning about the history of teams and their players enhances the dynamics of the matchup.

*

Interactions

Seeing reactions from fans, commentators, players, and friends or family enhances the viewing experience.

Participatory Design Workshop

6Participants

5Participants from the Watch Party

I was able to inform designs for the Interactions and Stories themes from my previous research. However, I needed some more nuanced information for the Gameplay and Knowledge categories in order to inform my designs properly. With this codesign workshop, I was able to understand what viewers were confused about, if they were interested in learning more, and how they would prefer to learn about this information in the game.




Currently understanding the results...

Design

To be continued...