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Co-creative interface development in MMORPGs: the case of World of Warcraft add-ons
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, ISSN 1757-191X, E-ISSN 1757-1928, Vol. 4, no 1, 3-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article argues that the innovation in the interface design of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft is to a substantial part originating in the user-created interface modifications called add-ons. This is shown in an analysis of the connection of the development in interface design to the creation of interface modification add-ons by players. The analysis is informed by interviews with specialists in the community of add-on programmers and focuses on the content and functionality of the add-ons mapped against the respective standard interface elements including an explanation of the problem they solve for the player and a measure of the similarity between them. The article also gives an outlook on the influence of these interface-modifications on the actual practice of game play as well as on game design and interface design by the game producer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Intellect Ltd., 2012. Vol. 4, no 1, 3-24 p.
Keyword [en]
innovation, interface design, game communities, MMORPGs, player-created, immaterial labour
National Category
Media Studies
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-282892DOI: 10.1386/jgvw.4.1.3_1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-282892DiVA: diva2:917743
Available from: 2016-04-07 Created: 2016-04-07 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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Publisher's full texthttp://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Article,id=12713/

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