CO.LABORATIONS | Partnerships in Media and Culture

Spectator Games

On 16 June 2016, MCW’s Expertise Centre collaborated with Het Nieuwe Instituut in co-producing an evening about E-Sports. The evening is one in a long running series of collaborations between MCW staff and Het Nieuwe Instituut. One of the speakers was assistant professor René Glas, who specializes in digital games and culture.


Game Night features a preview of the game competition Dutch College League and a discussion about the significance of this new form of sport. E-sport – competitive gaming at a professional level – is like other sports in many respects: there are rules, spectators, commentators, and permissible and forbidden substances. There are tournaments around the world in which multimillion-dollar prizes are no exception. It is no surprise that e-sports attract tens of thousands of people and can fill stadiums.

‘There’s a very good argument for e-sports being in the Olympics.’
Rob Pardo, creator of World of Warcraft

Which unique elements do e-sports add to the practice and experience of sport? What does the popularity of e-sports say about our changing relationship with technology? And does the development of e-sports change the media’s treatment of other sports?

Game researcher René Glas will reflect upon this development, after which Kevin Loos, initiator of the Dutch College League, and game analyst Jurjen Faber will look ahead to the final on Saturday 25 June 2016.

The Dutch College League is a national League of Legends competition between teams of universities and colleges in the Netherlands.

This evening was part of the exhibition programme relating to the Olympic Games that opened on 11 June 2016.

Dr René Glas is assistant professor in the department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University. For his doctoral thesis, Glas researched the complex socio-cultural phenomenon of negotiating multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft, resulting in the book Battlefields of Negotiation. Glas has written numerous books and articles on games and participation, has been a part-time film reviewer and established the Centre for Study of Digital Games and Play. His current research focuses on deviant behaviour in serious gaming, gamified media and participatory games. Glas is also a board member of