When we think about community our thoughts usually turn towards the people that are closest to us; the ones living in our neighbourhood, our estate or possibly our nearest town.
But with the explosion of high-speed internet in the last twenty years, the world is now a much smaller place, and our view of community is changing rapidly. They might be on the other side of the world, but our 21st century version of a penpal is actually now one of the people we spend most of our time with.
So, when we ask today’s learners – tomorrow’s leaders – how they want to impact their community and society, are they thinking about the people who live near to them, or could they be thinking of ways to build communities online and around the world?
Probably the latter.
The recent(ish) boom in esports participation has been great at showing how communities can form and grow in the digital world, bringing people together despite being thousands of miles apart.
With work underway for more additions to our Esports Leadership offering, we took a look at some of the types of communities that esports has created in recent years:
Twitch streaming communities
Twitch, the popular live-streaming platform, has given rise to numerous esports communities. Many professional esports players and enthusiasts use Twitch to live stream their gameplay and interact with viewers in real-time. Viewers can join chat rooms, subscribe to their favourite streamers, and participate in discussions. These communities often form around specific games, streamers, or genres.
For instance, the “Fortnite” community on Twitch is known for its lively chat and dedicated fan base, such as the 18.6 million followers of Richard Blevins’ Ninja channel, while speedrunning communities gather around gamers attempting to beat records in classic games. These Twitch communities bring together people from all around the world who share a passion for a particular game or player.
Esports fan clubs and discords
Many esports organisations and teams have dedicated fan clubs and Discord servers where fans can come together to discuss matches, strategies and share their love for their favourite teams (and make booing noises about their less favourite ones…)
These communities often host watch parties during major tournaments, organise fan meetups at live events and provide exclusive content and interactions with players. For example, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) has an official Discord server where fans can engage with one another and keep up with the latest news and updates.
Local esports leagues and tournaments
In addition to global online communities, local sport communities have sprouted up through grassroots efforts. Local esports leagues and tournaments provide opportunities for gamers in the same region to compete and connect.
These events can range from small, community-run tournaments to larger-scale competitions with sponsorships and prizes. Local gaming stores, colleges, and esports organisations often organize and host these events.
For example, the “Super Smash Bros.” community has a long history of local tournaments held at venues like gaming cafes or community centres. These events not only create opportunities for competition but also give an opportunity for in-person socials – perfect for making friends outside of the classroom.
Being part of esports communities can be a great experience for young people and definitely isn’t always confined to the online world. In fact, esport communities have a lot going for them that can really help young people find their “tribe”:
Shared passion and togetherness
Esports communities bring together individuals who share a deep passion for competitive gaming. Members can bond over their love for a particular game, team, or player, creating a sense of camaraderie and belonging.
Learning and skill improvement
Joining esports groups is like diving into a world of gaming wisdom and cool stuff. Members get to hang out with seasoned gamers, chat about game plans, and swap secrets. It’s a friendly place for them to level up their gaming skills and become a guru themselves, passing on their newfound smarts to their gaming peers down the road.
Support and encouragement
Esports groups are like a personal support team. When players hit a rough patch or get stuck in their adventures, their fellow members are there to lift their spirits and keep them going. They share good vibes and their own stories, which can boost their confidence and make them more resilient for when the levels get tough.
Friendships and social interaction
Esports groups aren’t just about gaming; they’re like a launchpad for real friendships. They are full of people who could become friends in the real world. Players might hang out, play games together, or even team up on cool projects outside the gaming universe.
Communities built through esports are a great opportunity for young people to test and build their leadership skills, helping them feel more confident and resilient when faced with challenges in the offline world. Find out more about our qualifications in esports leadership by clicking here.