Skip to main content
  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2022

Modes of Esports Engagement in Overwatch

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Furthers understanding of esports as a form of entertainment and sport

  • Posits esports as a facilitator for communication and interaction in co-creative activities

  • 15 chapters from game cultures and esports scholars across ten different nationalities

  • Open Access publication allows for wide-reaching use

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvii
  2. Introduction

    • Maria Ruotsalainen, Maria Törhönen, Veli-Matti Karhulahti
    Pages 1-7Open Access
  3. Playing Overwatch

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 9-9
    2. Two Overwatch Player Profiles

      • Jukka Vahlo, Veli-Matti Karhulahti
      Pages 11-30Open Access
    3. Player Reception of Change and Stability in Character Mechanics

      • Tanja Välisalo, Maria Ruotsalainen
      Pages 67-86Open Access
  4. Competing in Overwatch

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 87-87
    2. A Region of Contenders: Overwatch in Brazil

      • Mayara Caetano
      Pages 113-133Open Access
    3. Gender and Toxic Meritocracy in Competitive Overwatch: Case “Ellie”

      • Usva Friman, Maria Ruotsalainen
      Pages 135-154Open Access
  5. Playing with Overwatch

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 155-155
    2. Overwatch Fandom and the Range of Corporate Responses

      • Hanna Wirman, Rhys Jones
      Pages 157-177Open Access
    3. The Talk of the Town: Community Perspectives on Loot Boxes

      • Joseph Macey, Mila Bujić
      Pages 199-223Open Access
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 225-229

About this book

This Open Access book provides a comprehensive review of the rapidly developing esport phenomenon by examining one of its contemporary flagship titles, Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment 2016), through three central themes and from a rich variety of research methods and perspectives. As a game with more than 40 million individual players, an annual international World Cup, and a franchised professional league with teams from Canada, China, Europe, South Korea, and the US, Overwatch provides a multifaceted perspective to the cultural, social, and economic topics associated with the development of esports, which has begun to attract attention from both commercial and academic audiences.

The book starts with an introduction chapter to Overwatch and esports engagement in general, co-authored by the editors. This is followed by 15 unique chapters from scholars within the field of game cultures and esports, representing ten different nationalities. The contributions construct thematic sections that divide the book into three parts: Players, Diverse Audiences? and Fan & Fiction Work. As such, the parts provide a wide-ranging overview of esport engagement, thus disclosing the phenomenon’s cross-cultural, transmedial, and interconnected relations that have not been probed earlier in a single anthology.


  • Game culture
  • Game studies
  • Overwatch
  • Game development
  • Digital culture
  • Digital media
  • esports
  • Open Access

Editors and Affiliations

  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

    Maria Ruotsalainen, Veli-Matti Karhulahti

  • Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland

    Maria Törhönen

About the editors

Maria Ruotsalainen is a PhD candidate at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her dissertation focuses on Overwatch Esports, gender, and nationality. She has had articles published by the Men and Masculinities, European Journal of Cultural Studies, and Games and Culture. 

Dr. Maria Törhönen is a researcher and a project manager at Tampere University, Finland. Maria’s research focuses on the merger of work and play, especially in the context of streaming and esports. Maria is also a founding and board member of the Esports Research Network and has worked in game development prior to her academic career.

Veli-Matti Karhulahti is Senior Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and holds an Adjunct Professorship at the University of Turku, Finland. His research tackles gaming, play, and technology use in many ways, and he is the author of Esport Play: Anticipation, Attachment, and Addiction in Psycholudic Development (2020).

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Modes of Esports Engagement in Overwatch

  • Editors: Maria Ruotsalainen, Maria Törhönen, Veli-Matti Karhulahti

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-82766-3Published: 10 March 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-82769-4Published: 10 March 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-82767-0Published: 09 March 2022

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVII, 229

  • Number of Illustrations: 31 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Games Studies, Popular Culture

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)