Abstract: With the advent of organized eSports, game streaming, and always-online video games, there exist new and more pronounced demands on players, developers, publishers, spectators, and other video game actors. By identifying and exploring elements of infrastructure in multiplayer games, this paper augments Bowman’s (2018) conceptualization of demands in video games by introducing a new category of ‘infrastructure demand’ of games. This article describes how the infrastructure increasingly built around video games creates demands upon those interacting with these games, either as players, spectators, or facilitators of multiplayer video game play. We follow the method described by Susan Leigh Star (1999), who writes that infrastructure is as mundane as it is a critical part of society and as such is particularly deserving of academic study. When infrastructure works properly it fades from view, but in doing so loses none of its importance to human endeavor. This work therefore helps to make visible the invisible elements of infrastructure present in and around multiplayer video games and explicates the demands these elements create on people interacting with those games.
Keywords: eSports; infrastructure; infrastructure demand; multiplayer video games; video games