Games, gamers & society
Digital games are in the focus of attention. As entertainment media, but also as instruments to communicate serious messages. In society at large and in academia, some are worried about the possible negative impact of playing games, while others applaud the positive effects of gaming. This research cluster consists of international researchers who target emerging questions related to the popularity of games. We study how games are used or could be used for the benefit of society. We are involved in the construction of new theories, and we look at the future asking how games and ‘gamification’ will influence our daily life and the life of others. We are dedicated to sharing our knowledge, for example in popular publications (Growing Games, Kennisnet), in our MOOC Serious Gaming and by our contribution to PEGI. By the way, we do not play all day long ourselves but if you join our projects you might get a chance to do so.
Can games be used for the greater good?
Digital games are more and more used as a teaching tool within businesses, education, and health care. Many serious games are targeted at playful persuasion and ‘gamification’ is promising in many sectors. Still, it is unclear what exactly it is that makes games change attitudes or behaviour. We conduct our research in collaboration with game developers (IJsfontein, Amsterdam and &ranj, Rotterdam). The current topics are:
- Persuasive gaming in context – or how to determine the effects of (serious) games compared to non-interactive media.
- The impact of serious games on civic engagement.
- The representation of war and conflict in entertainment games and serious games.
- Serious games for social inclusion, intercultural contact and integration.
- Games and health – or how a game can contribute to a change an unhealthy lifestyle.
- Violent video games and their impact on aggression – or how we can measure aggression in a reliable and valid way?
- How the public debate can create (negative) stereotypes of gaming and gamers, for example with respect to ‘addiction’.
Should we worry about games and gamers?
The negative impact of digital entertainment games is still widely discussed within society and the research community. The question if they even have such effect on (young) players is still open. We are convinced that gamers do not play to become aggressive or addicted. Hence, our focus is on understanding the personal reasons for playing and how gaming is related to emotional development and identity construction.
Projects within this cluster
Listed below are research projects that are currently running within this cluster.