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From the first public arcade machines to the massive online worlds and professional gaming contests of today, a central part of the history of video games has been that of performance: a demonstration – often public – of mastery over a digital challenge. When we consider the notion of public performance, something often overlooked in video game research, we might also suggest the audience to play an important part of the gaming experience. Just as athletes might shine or choke when playing in front of a crowd, eSports feature gamers succeeding or failing in front of gathered crowds. Emerging research suggests the drive theory of social facilitation to provide a robust explanation of how the mere presence of an audience an affect one’s performance at a video game, and the following paper suggests how this research can be extended to better understand the interaction between gamer and audience in the eSports arena.
Citation: Bowman, N. D. (2013, October). One shining (virtual) moment: The social facilitation hypothesis extended to video game performance. Paper presented at Association of Internet Researchers 14, Denver October 24-27.