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Democracy has arrived!: A model for ethical decision making of players in MMOs
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Division of Visual Information and Interaction. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computerized Image Analysis and Human-Computer Interaction.
2012 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In digital games and virtual worlds, like in other digital media, the structure of the medium, its code, influences the emerging interaction and culture. A deliberate modification of this code to facilitate democratic decision making might thus lead to more meaningful interaction in games. If we see virtual worlds as learning environments this might even help players to understand and question real-world power structures. A way to modify the code of a virtual world is by extending its interface with an add-on that interacts with the application programming interface of the game. In this paper we present the design vision and theoretical framework of a digital tool for ethical decision making that will be implemented in the virtual world World of Warcraft. Its purpose will be to supply players with means to modify the power structure built into the code of this virtual world and to support more ethical and democratic decision making in the game.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Media Studies Human Computer Interaction
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-191327OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-191327DiVA: diva2:585334
Meaningful Play 2012
Available from: 2012-10-20 Created: 2013-01-09 Last updated: 2016-05-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Co-creative Game Design as Participatory Alternative Media
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-creative Game Design as Participatory Alternative Media
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The possibility of co-creation exists for all media, but game design has developed a culture that is unusually open to co-creation. This dissertation investigates significant cases of co-creation in mainstream games in order to explore how games can be co-created as alternative or critical media by their players.

The core argument in the dissertation is that players co-create the design of a game only if certain conditions are met, namely: (1) player creation of a text or communication infrastructure that modifies the properties of the game and from which play emerges; (2) that this is done for a considerable group of players who share a particular practice of play; (3) that this is done not only by playing the game but by changing how others play it in a distinct creative activity, and (4), with the potential to subvert or contest the original design of the game.

This situation where player creators have influence over the design of the game (but little power to enforce their interests) is problematic from the perspective of alternative or critical media, as alternative, local, production is seen as one reason for why a medium can have an alternative message.

The industrial production of games as cultural commodities does limit the potential of co-creative game design for subversion because it reduces the level of participation in the creation process, thus keeping player creators relatively disempowered. Player creators do have influence on the design of the game, while at the same time having very little power to enforce their interests and design visions. The influence of player creators comes from the consumer power of millions of players who use co-created assets and who want to them to continue exiting, and this creates a mutually dependent relationship (and even partnership), between co-creators and commercial owners.

The dissertation concludes that co-creative game design, despite limitations related to the industrial production of games as cultural commodities, is already happening, and shows a potential for turning games into alternative media.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 95 p.
Uppsala Studies in Media and Communication, ISSN 1651-4777 ; 11
Co-creation, co-creative game design, game design, participation, alterna-tive media, critical media, open innovation, modding, add-ons, MMOs, MMORPG, World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, interface
National Category
Media Studies
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-287659 (URN)978-91-554-9599-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-15, HS 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-05-23 Created: 2016-04-26 Last updated: 2016-06-15

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