Joshua Jarrett

Senior Lecturer

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

Following his undergraduate degree in Film & Media at De Montfort University, Josh successfully applied for a scholarship to continue his studies via an MA Independent Study. Using his MA as a chance to pursue a more internet and game studies focused line of inquiry, Josh critically explored the modding culture surrounding Defence of the Ancients in 2011.

Following his MA studies, Josh would pursue a fully funded PhD in 2013 at the Digital Cultures Research Centre based in Bristol’s University of the West of England. It was here that he developed a related line of critical inquiry into the emerging esports ecosystems of League of Legends and Dota 2. This research was an online ethnographic account of the playful and political economies rapidly developing in this genre. It was during this time that Josh developed a playfully co-creative line of critical inquiry, focused on the affective and political economic consequences of digital play.

In addition to his PhD, Josh also contributed towards the workshops and blogging of the AHRC funded research network, ‘Creative Territories: Exploring Innovation in Indie Game Production Contexts and Connections’ from 2013 - 2015. Following his PhD, Josh has also held a game studies lecturing role at University of Hertfordshire (2018 – 2019), before joining Staffordshire University as a lecturer specialising in esports in September 2019.

Academic qualifications


  • PgCHPE (Distinction), Staffordshire University, 2021.
  • PhD, ‘From DotA to MOBA: The Emergence and Crisis of Playful Co-creativity in Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games’. University of the West of England, 2019.
  • MA Online Cultures via Independent Study (Distinction). De Montfort University, 2011.
  • BA Film and Media (First Class Honours). De Montfort University, 2010.



  • Game Studies
  • Internet Studies
  • Fan studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Online Ethnography
  • Critical Political Economy
  • Co-creativity
  • Affective Economies
  • Gift Economies


I currently lead the MA Esports course, in addition to the following modules:

  • Contemporary Issues in Esports (level 3)
  • Community Management (level 6)
  • International Esports Policy and Planning (Level 7)
  • Esports Dissertation and Dissemination (Level 7)


I also currently teach on the following modules:

  • Esports Ecosystems (level 4)
  • Esports Ecosystems and Metrics (level 7)




Jarrett, J. (2021) ‘Gaming the Gift: Affective Economy of League of Legends’, Journal of Consumer Culture, late 2019 (paper accepted, currently under minor revisions).

Jarrett, J. (2021) several entries for the forthcoming Wolf, M. (2021) Encyclopaedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and the Art of Gaming, second edn, Greenwood Publishing: London. These entries are:

‘Activision Blizzard’ (500 words)

‘Fortnite’ (500 words)

‘Global Games’ (1000 words)

‘Gold Farming’ (1000 words)

‘Mario Kart’ (1000 words)

‘Open Source Software’ (500 words)


Conference Papers & Proceedings

Jarrett, J. (2020) ‘The Ongoing Product Lifecycle of a Games as Service Model: a League of Legends Case Study’, DiGRA 2020 Proceedings.

Jarrett, J. (2020) ‘Balancing a Game: Controlling a Global Industry: How Riot Games Have Expanded their Influence from Playful to Political Economies in the Form of Commercially Governed International Esports’, Fourth International Conference on Cultural Political Economy, 10th January 2020, Staffordshire University.

Jarrett, J., and Law, Y. (2020) ‘Resistance, Play and Esports Chants: A Smash Bros. Melee Case Study’, DiGRA 2020 Proceedings, forthcoming.

Law, Y., and Jarrett, J. (2019) ‘More Than a Tournament: Grassroots Play and Participation at Esports Events’, Proceedings of the UCI Esports Conference, pp. 1-6

Jarret, J. (2019) ‘Games as Ecologies’, at ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches to Digital Play: One Day Symposium’, Kings College London, 21st June.

Jarrett, J. (2018) ‘Game Balance as Creative Destruction’, paper to be presented at British DiGRA 2018 Conference, 14th – 15th June 2018, Staffordshire University.

Jarrett, J. (2017) ‘ESports Ecologies and their Discontents: A League of Legends Case Study’, paper presented at The Future of ESports: Challenging Work and Gender Issues in Pro-Gaming, August 16th Manchester.

Jarrett, J. (2017) ‘Towards Comparative Game Industry and Production Studies: The Role of Regions in MOBAs’, a UK Case Study’, paper presented at DiGRA UK 2017 Conference, 5th May 2017, University of Salford.

Jarrett, J. (2016) ‘Paidia to Ludus, Non-Commodity to Commodity: Uncovering the Residue of Player Developed Custom Game Modes in ‘Zombies’ and ‘ARAMs’’, Proceedings of 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, 1- 6th August 2016.

Jarrett, J. (2016) ‘Critically Approaching the Playful and Participatory Genealogy of MOBAs’, Proceedings of 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, 1- 6th August 2016.

Jarrett, J. (2015) ‘Regulating Playful Ecosystems: Critically Exploring the Dynamics of Balance in the MOBA Genre’, paper presented at MeCCSA PGN Conference, 2nd July 2015, Coventry University.

Jarrett, J. (2015) ‘Gaming the Gift: The Paradox of Pay-to-Win and Why a Free and Fair Game Reciprocates Participation and Creates Value’, paper presented at Ludic Economies: Value & Exchange in Contemporary Game Cultures, 30th June 2015, University of Southampton.

Jarrett, J. (2015) ‘Playing with MOBA Affect’, paper presented at the Third Annual Fan Studies Network Conference, 27th June 2015, The University of East Anglia.

Jarrett, J. (2015) ‘Playing Between Rules: Negotiating the Ludic Innovations of the MOBA Genre’, Proceedings of 'DiGRA 2015: Diversity of Play: Games – Cultures – Identities, May 16th 2015, Lüneburg.

Jarrett. J. (2015) ‘The Connective Play of MOBA Spaces: How Player Streams Speak to, Influence, and Direct the Actions of Wider Play Spaces’, paper presented at Rutgers Media Studies Conference: Extending Play the Sequel, April 18th 2015, Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021