The defining characteristics of esports players: A systematic review of the samples used in esports research

Guillermo Mendoza, Iván Bonilla*, Andrés Chamarro, Manuel Jiménez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the proliferation of studies on esports, there is a lack of consensus as to as the precise definition of an esports player. Studies have used competitive gamers, casual gamers, or recreational gamers as samples, and this poses serious issues for the generalization of their results. The main goal of this review is to reach a definition as to what constitutes an esports player in order to establish a standard for future studies. This is accomplished by analyzing the various criteria that esports researchers have used to select their participants. Methods: This study is a systematic review of empirical articles. The international databases Web of Science, Scopus, Medline, SciELO, and SpringerLink were reviewed for articles in English and Spanish including the term esport or e-sport in the title, abstract or keywords, with samples reported as esports players. A total of 48 studies were selected for this review. Three types of defining criteria were identified: being a professional player, being part of an organized team and having experience in competitions. Additionally, “engagement ‘’, understood as the amount of time dedicated to training and improving, is also mentioned as a key distinguishing factor. Finally, a definition for esports players is proposed to help standardize the sampling criteria for future research.

Translated title of the contributionLas características definitorias de los jugadores de esports: Una revisión sistemática de las muestras utilizadas en la investigación de esports
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2023


  • Esports players
  • Systematic review
  • Competitive gaming
  • samples
  • gamers


Dive into the research topics of 'The defining characteristics of esports players: A systematic review of the samples used in esports research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this