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The work of play: Marx and the video games industry in the United Kingdom

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The video games industry in the United Kingdom is profitable and growing at a time when the broader economy is still failing to recover. This has attracted the interests of politicians, committing large investments and tax breaks. Although the headline figures are impressive, the overall structure of the industry is less clear. Within this there are many new organizations, often shaped by start-up culture. Less is known about how work is being organized or the experiences of workers. The approach taken here draws on Marxist theory and an examination of the labour process. It focuses on how capitalism effects the production of video games, including the use of crunch time, the prevalence of sexism, and the widespread use of non-disclosure agreements. The conclusion suggests further enquiries are needed to understand how the struggle between labour and capital is shaping this industry.
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Keywords: Marx; Marxism; United Kingdom; digital labour; labour process; video games

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cass Business School

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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