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Gameplay as design: uses of computer players' immaterial labour

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The primary mode of reception in computer games is play. This implies that the agency performed by computer players does not limit itself to the process of reading, but is constituted by a creative enactment of the structures of interactive actions and events inherent in the game. As such, gameplay may be regarded as a kind of (unpaid) immaterial labour, implying players' socialization, creativity, and a general intellect, that is, the ability to appropriate and rework the computer game as a work of culture. This article investigates the immaterial labour of computer players and discusses how this is being put to work by the game industry at different levels as a means of producing fascinating game experiences and by means of including player agency as a productive force in gamedesign processes thus connecting it to the economy of computer-game production.
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Keywords: Computer game; Immaterial labour; Player-centred design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Copenhagen.

Publication date: 2007-09-07

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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