The rise of eSports: TUT partners with Mind Sports SA on research collaboration

9 May 2023

Dr Rosa Naudé-Potgieter, Lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Tourism Management has joined hands with Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) to embark on an exciting journey that will provide knowledge on eSports and research opportunities that capitalise on the expanding gaming industry.

Dr Rosa Naudé-Potgieter, Lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Tourism Management.

eSports, short for electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games. eSports often takes the form of organised, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. Although organised competitions have long been a part of video game culture, these were largely between amateurs until the late 2000s. 

Participation by professional gamers and spectatorship in these events through live streaming saw a large surge in popularity after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unpacking details on the envisaged research and collaboration, Dr Naudé-Potgieter said eSports has been identified as a platform that can significantly contribute to the South African tourism industry, especially with opportunities of participants from the African market.

She further mentioned that in the field of tourism, many destinations are familiar with receiving visitors motivated to travel for traditional sport events. But working in eSports is another world entirely, since it combines the competitiveness of sport with entertainment. It is from these particularities that tourism destinations that want to host this type of event must learn the basics of how to navigate the esports ecosystem and where to start when their city seeks to organise eSports events. 

“Although eSports have roots based on digital consumption, their transfer from virtual space to physical space occurs more frequently through the celebration of increasingly crowded competitive events with greater international repercussion. As such it is imperative that as an industry, we better grasp through research, the concept of eSports, its participants, motivations and travel behaviour,” said Dr Naudé-Potgieter.

Some of the sub-research topics will include the motivation and needs of eSports players, the motivation and needs of eSports spectators and the travel behaviours and economic spending of eSports participants.

“We are truly looking forward to the results of these unique studies as they can guide the tourism industry on what improvements can be made, to hopefully capture the market and reap the economic benefits” Dr Naudé-Potgieter stated. The research project is registered at the faculty of Management Sciences as a non-degree purpose study and went through a rigorous process to be issued an ethical clearance certificate by the university.The initiative is also one of the Department of Tourism Management's drive to have a footprint in gaming research in South Africa, in preparation for the implementation of the new Diploma Casino Resort Management qualification which involves the element of gaming.

Image supplied by Mind Sports SA (2022).

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