Mechanical Keyboards and Crystal Arrows: Incorporation in Esports

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Screen-based virtual worlds have been described as fundamentally disembodying. Contrary to this, the aim of this article is to provide a phenomenological analysis of bodily presence in one case of screen-based virtuality. By integrating phenomenology with qualitative research methodologies, I explore esports practitioners’ experiences of bodily presence in League of Legends (LoL). Here, descriptions from real-life esports practitioners are analysed within the phenomenological framework of ‘incorporation’. My analysis shows that the practitioners experience and engage with their virtual world not just by incorporating their physical gaming equipment, but also through incorporation of virtual abilities and tools specific to the game world. Having shown that the LoL practitioner’s body spans both physical and virtual space without leaving the body behind, I situate these results within the discussion of virtual presence in video games. I claim that the practitioner’s sense of presence can be accounted for by situating the integrated physical and virtual tools and abilities within the phenomenological framework of the ʼnullpoint’, understood as a bodily field of activity shaped by our incorporated skills and tools.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number5-6
Pages (from-to)30-57
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Embodiment
  • Esports
  • Incorporation
  • Nullpoint
  • Presence
  • Virtuality


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