Game Research

Blog by the game research group

Video game marketing – A student textbook

Zackariasson, P., & Dymek, M. (2016). Video Game Marketing: A Student Textbook, Routledge

The game industry is well on its way of becoming one of the world’s biggest cultural and entertainment industries in terms of turn-over. Sweden and the Nordics is a world-leading region, which is not only reflected in remarkably many and extremely successful game developers, but also by many game developer education programmes at university level.

The game medium has many years ago left its roots in the “teenage room” behind, and is now played by a broad spectrum of gamers of all ages on practically any electronic device with a display – on computers, game consoles, mobile phones, tablets, all connected via social media.

Despite the fact that the world of video games is one of the world’s most technologically intensive industries that creates one of the most consumer engaging products on the planet, the actual knowledge of its marketing is virtually non-existent. A very select limited few percent of all video game launches have respectable sales number, an even smaller percentage generates profit. The few hit games that succeed become metaphorical super stars that absorb all the splendour in an endless, and invisible, burial ground of commercial video game failures.

This book, which targets game development students, wants to change this state by acknowledging the basic premises of the marketing field – successful marketing starts before a product has been developed, and constitutes a guiding star throughout the entire development process all the way to product launch – and well beyond that. Marketing is not only about the sales strategy of a finished product (selling “pigs in a poke”), but constitutes a fundamental dimension in all successful product development and strategy. This book aims to help game development students to realise their vision of successful video games – not only technologically, but on all other levels.

Expanding the magic circle – gamification as a marketplace icon

Mikolaj Dymek (2017): Expanding the magic circle – gamification as a marketplace icon, Consumption Markets & Culture

This article explores the gamification trend sweeping the globe promising increased engagement and motivation, in practically any industry, context and culture, based on a stratagem of “game design elements in non-game contexts,” which is its most quoted definition.

The rise of gamification as marketplace icon is examined and particularly claims that position gamification as the manifestation of a wider societal transformation into playful societies – a “ludic turn.” Many of these grandiose statements are the result of ahistoricity and ambiguity regarding the definition of gamification.

Based on game philosophy, game studies and gamification research this article posits gamification as an emergent perspective, as distinct conceptualisation, on the rule-driven organisation of sociotechnical management systems that reference “games.” Of particular importance is the role of rules.

Examples such as Frequent Flyer Programmes and Foursquare are analysed according to the player/consumer positions they bestow, which are explored from participatory, co-creational, critical and game philosophical perspectives.

Conclusively, a “gameful” perspective of rule-generated goal-oriented behaviour, or “playful” perspective of instinctive and limitless fun, shed two challenging perspectives on the interpretation of gamification in the marketplace.

The Business of Gamification – A Critical Analysis

Dymek, M., & Zackariasson, P. (Eds.). (2016). The Business of Gamification: A Critical Analysis. Routledge

Gamification has been for several years one of the most discussed topics and concepts within the worlds of IT, management and marketing. In essence gamification is about “applying game mechanisms in non-game contexts” in everything from health care, education, management strategies through loyalty programmes, marketing and communication campaigns, psychology, sustainability, to, of course, different kinds of apps, exercise programmes, intranets, language learning tools, crowdsourcing, as well as (subtly) in most social media design.

The almost exuberant claim to swiftly transform everyday chores into enjoyable game activities, has captivated many parts of society to experiment with this novel notion – sometimes mobilised by shimmering utopian visions of a new, innovative and playful, but equally responsible and productive, everyday life. The downside is, however, that few people actually now how gamification can be created, an even smaller number of successful implementations exist – and in the murky behind-the-scenes looms a rather dismal view of humans in the character of consumers/employees/citizens as obedient pawns for the invisible and powerful game makers that hide behind playful, glitzy and trendy gamification façades.

The Business of Gamification – A Critical Analysis is one of the first edited volumes in the intersection between gamification studies and business. In this volume, edited by Mikolaj Dymek and Peter Zackariasson, various prominent researchers from around the world analyse gamification within leadership, project management, management and organisation, marketing, retailing, online forums, marketing communications, sustainability – but also critical perspectives that fundamentally question the gamification notion as such and instead paint a dystopian vision where every aspect of our everyday lives become part of one omnipresent gamified life environment.

This edited volume is not only relevant for researchers, but for anyone interested in the notion, and expects a critical examination of the biggest IT and management trends of the last decade.