CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

ICA Game Studies 2018 pre-conference
Prague, 24 May 2018
  • 8:30

    REGISTRATION

  • 9:00

    WELCOME ADDRESS

  • 9:05

    KEYNOTE TALK

    Now You're Working with Power: Understanding the Games Industry from the Inside
    Dmitri Williams

    Academics and game developers have similar tools, but often different goals. For researchers to successfully collaborate with industry partners, they need to know what those partners care about, and how they operate. Drawing on ten years of collaborative industry projects, consulting work, and a startup analytics business, I'll highlight what you need to know before getting started. I'll cover the current state of the industry, the organization of developers, publishers and business intelligence groups, as well as a breakdown of their key metrics and goals.
  • 9:45

    COFFEE BREAK

  • 10:00

    SESSION 1: COSTS AND BENEFITS OF UBIQUITOUS GAMING

    Catch them All. Exploring the Psychological Effects of Playing Pokémon GO.
    R. Wang & M. Wu (USA)

    Pokémon Go (PG) is a popular mobile augmented reality game which attracted millions of people in summer 2016. An online survey (N = 274) was conducted to examine the relationship between frequency of seven PG features and sense of community, sense of companionship, and psychological well-being. Results showed frequency of collecting Pokémon, customizing Pokémon, performing gym related activities, and purchasing special items can lead to increased sense of community, sense of companionship, and psychological well-being. Meanwhile, sense of community and sense of companionship mediated the relationship between collecting Pokémon and psychological well-being as well as customizing Pokémon and psychological well-being.

    To Chat or Not to Chat. The Costs and Benefits of Social Interaction in Game Streaming.
    S.-F. Lin, N.D. Bowman, J.H.T. Lin, & Y.-S. Chen (Taiwan/USA/Taiwan/Taiwan)

    This paper explores the socializing nature of game streaming and its possible effects. Following the perspective of cost and demand, we theorize that interacting with others when watching game streaming may provide sense of community for viewers. At the same time, this also requires various of level of social demand for viewers. The results of an online survey (N = 805) reveal that social interaction around game streaming fosters both a sense of being in the community as well as sense of pressure to be part of the group, which both are positively associated with increased engagement and social capital.

    Understanding Adolescent Cyber Victimisation in Mobile Games. Prevalence, Risks, & Reactions.
    A.K. Przybylski (United Kingdom)

    Bullying during childhood and adolescence is a major health problem and the increasing penetration of Internet- and mobile-based technology have opened new avenues for children and adolescents to face bullying. This paper presents research empirical study of the cyber victimisation in mobile gaming contexts in a large nationally representative sample of British adolescents (n = 1,000) and their parents (n = 1,000). The results and discussion will focus on the period prevalence, psychographic risk factors, and emotional impact of the phenomena as well as the social support young people seek out.

    Simple Acts. A Gameful System To Increase Justice Restoration Self-Efficacy and Civic Engagement.
    S.T. Steinemann, B. Geelan,K. Sachithananthan, L. Frasseck, G.H. Iten, & K. Opwis (Switzerland)

    The presented research covers a three-week diary study following a control and experimental group’s civic engagement and justice restoration self-efficacy. In this study, the experimental group had access to a gameful platform offering weekly personalized prosocial missions, which they could choose to carry out over the course of each week. The goal of this study was to understand how interacting with this platform would impact participants’ belief in their ability to make a difference, as well as their prosocial behavior. Results and future steps are discussed.

    Respondents & Discussion
    Session Chair: Tim Wulf
    Respondent: Douglas Schules

  • 11:15

    POSTER & DEMO SESSION

    Environmental Immersion. Testing the Potential of Public Service Experiences in Virtual Reality.
    C. Ball (USA)

    This study explores the viability of virtual reality based “Public Service Experiences” (PSEs) to increase pro-environmental attitudes and conservational intentions. The proposed theoretical framework draws upon the literature surrounding Immersion, Spatial Presence, and Narrative Persuasion. An experiment was conducted using a single factor between-subjects design and theBlu was the chosen stimulus. Data were collected from 66 college students from the US. Results indicate that the level of immersion had an impact on students’ environmental attitudes via the mediating roles of spatial presence and narrative engagement. The findings from this study have both practical and theoretical implications for future VR scholarship.

    Game Capital, Creative Play and Precarious Labor- Gold Farming Studios as Site of Play and Contestation.
    Z. Tai & F. Hu (USA/China)

    Gold farming is believed to be a widespread phenomenon among MMORPG games, but little systematic research has been conducted thus far in exploring the milieu of contextual and individual factors behind this practice. We present our analysis of field research data based on three years of ethnographic in-depth interviews in reporting narratives of gold farming studio managers and owners. The focus is what motivates them to pursue a career path in this field, as well as how they construct their identity and construe their role in regard to the overall online game cycle.

    Gender Self-Stereotype in Gaming. The Effect of Avatar Appearance and Role.
    X. Wang & T. Kobayashi (China)

    This study investigated the effect of avatar appearance and stereotype-related social role on women’s self-stereotype. Survey results suggested that using avatars with feminine roles had a higher level of self-stereotype than those who used masculine role avatars. The main effect of avatars’ appearance was not significant. Those who used avatars with a feminine appearance had a higher level of self-stereotype than those who used avatars with a masculine appearance, but this occurred only when the avatar’s role was masculine. The study provided evidence that an avatar’s stereotype-related social role, rather than its mere appearance, can affect female players’ gender self-stereotype.

    Moving with Presence. A pilot study of a virtual-reality exergame training on executive functions among people over 50.
    K.T.T. Huang (USA)

    There is a growing literature on the impacts of exergaming on cognitive functions across the lifespan. The current study investigated the effects of VR exergaming and the types of task load on older adults’ executive functions. A four-week, 2 (VR vs. non-VR) X 2 (task-relevant load vs. task-irrelevant load) between subjects factorial design, was conducted to test the hypotheses of the current research. Participants (n=20) were asked to play Fruit Ninja in eight training sessions (20 minutes) within four weeks. The results indicate both VR and types of task load are significant predictors of cognitive improvement.

    Promoting Engagement with Game Apps Targeting Depression.
    S. Khan & J. Peña (USA)

    This study explores the effect of message causality and medium features in promoting usage of a depression-themed video games application. Participants read messages assigning depression causality to internal-stable, internal-unstable, or external causes, embedded in a video game app designed for depression treatment, on a large or small screen. Self-report data showed that assigning causality to internal-stable causes increased perceived game usability and intention to use the app, but only for large screen conditions. Behavioral data showed that large screen increased time spent with the app. Screen size suppressed message effects in influencing engagement with the self-help games app.

    Research on Avatar and Avatar Identification in Offline AR Game Environment.
    Z. Zhang (China)

    In this presentation, I will focus on Avatar and Avatar Identification in Offline AR Game Environment. I use in-depth interview and grounded theory to clarify the relationship between online and offline environments in AR games: The offline game environment has become an extension of the online game environment in the real world and in the offline game environment, the player's avatar is still followed by power relations and language features online. The mode of information flow has an effect on the nature of human interaction and material scenes no longer play a decisive role in AR game.

    The Persuasive Roles of Digital Games. A Theoretical Model
    T. de la Hera Conde-Pumpido (Netherlands)

    In this poster I present an eight-dimensional theoretical model designed to explain the different ways digital games can be used for persuasion, this is, to influence the attitude or behavior of players. The model serves to explain how digital games can play different persuasive roles, taking into consideration the persuasive goal of the game and the level of involvement of the player. The selection of the variables that have been considered for this theoretical model has been made attending to a Player-Context-Game perspective.

    Virtually Everywhere. Game Industry Logic in the Early Adoption of Immersive Technology
    M. Foxman (USA)

    Scholars have studied  the dissemination of games into most aspects of popular culture, but not how their ubiquity impacts the diffusion and adoption of new innovations, or propagated the ideology of the game industry. Virtual Reality’s recent commercial release offers a laboratory for such an examination. Through semi-structured interviews with enthusiasts and developers of immersive content, the paper exposes the tensions between the limitless potential of VR and the dominance of gaming in the present. It argues that for early adopters a type of “play” occurs, which explains why they expend significant effort in advancing the technology despite today’s constraints.
  • 12:00

    LUNCH BUFFET

    Have a meal and see the monastery!
  • 13:45

    SESSION 2: RE-CREATING AND RE-THINKING GAMES

    Many Hands Make Pokémon Work. A Theoretical Paper on the Twitch Plays Pokémon Event, an Example of Gamesourcing.
    J. Hansen & S. Church (USA)

    The “social experiment” called Twitch Plays Pokemon (TPP) is a recent phenomenon emerging from the intersection of social media and video games. In TPP, millions of participants control a single video game through chat commands on a live-streaming service hosted online by Twitch.tv. We conduct a paratextual analysis of the event that explores issues related to role of deliberation in co-creation. This study, therefore, contributes to the literature by reconceptualizing the practice of crowdsourcing for gameplay, introducing a new mode of digital participation we coin “gamesourcing.”

    Playing Beyond the Game. Video Game Fandom and Transformative Practices.
    J.E. Tompkins (USA)

    Using the Overwatch fandom as a case study, this presentation explores how gamer-fandom might be understood as kind of gaming practice that occurs outside traditional gaming settings. By examining discourse of Overwarch fans on the mainstream video game weblog Kotaku, the imaginative play generated by fans across transformative works contributes to deeper understandings of the player experience with digital games in contemporary society. Additionally, the queer readings of many of the female and male characters imply that members of the Overwatch fandom resist the mainstream, heterosexual male gamer culture by choosing to celebrate diversity.

    How to Play This Story. Literature as Gaming Experience.
    R. Fejes (Hungary)

    Alternate reality gaming is a form of storytelling which takes a narrative or storyworld and breaks it into fragments which are then being distributed via countless of platforms: social media, videos, books and even the reality itself, thus creating an alternate reality to explore. The research is focusing specifically on the medial aspects of the ARG: how does it build its universe, what mechanics are being used to progress a storyline, what entry points does it present. And more importantly: how can literature benefit from these exemplary cases of digital artworks? Can somehow the literature be played like these narratives?

    Tourism and Pokémon GO. The Grail of Location-Based Gaming?
    R.B. Williams & N.S. Valek (United Arab Emirates)

    Mobile information and gaming apps are seeing increased use in tourism. They have met with mixed results. This study of Pokémon GO shows it has a significant impact on tourism-related activities. Pokémon GO has been touted as the model for mobile tourism apps. Is it? Pokémon is a 20-year-old transmedia franchise, Pokémon GO is simply the latest manifestation. Its initial surge of popularity and its continuing strong position on mobile gaming charts is a function of its history. There are lessons to be learned for gamification of tourism from Pokémon GO, but it is not Grail of Location-Based Gaming.

    Respondents & Discussion
    Session Chair: Akiko Shibuya
    Respondent: TBA

  • 15:00

    COFFEE BREAK

  • 15:15

    SESSION 3: NEW AUDIENCES AND NEW WAYS OF PLAY

    Play Like Everyone Is Watching. Video Game Streaming and Social Context.
    Y. Shan, R. Tao, S.K. Tay, J. Chen, & J. Li (USA)

    Video game live-streaming has become more prevalent and accessible, bring changes to the video gaming experience. This study strives to examine the impact of live-streaming on the streamers' side by using an experimental design to analyze how features of the live-streaming (such as the absence/presence of audience feedback, as well as the size of the audience) affect the gaming experience. We are also interested in how streamers' narcissism and self-esteem moderates the relationship between live-streaming experience and gaming experience.

    Play Out on the Big Screen- World of Warcraft and its Fandom in China.
    F. Hu & Z. Tai (China/USA)

    In June 2016, Duncun Jones’s Warcraft made its debut in theatres across the globe. The much-hyped blockbuster, however, met with mixed reactions by fans/audience in the world. Its box office in the first month was abysmal in North America ($46 million) but spectacular in China ($220 million). Informed by in-depth interviews of 55 players/theater-goers in multiple cities in China, our research investigates how individual experiences in the game world affect their view outcomes and personal evaluations of the movie, and how mode of gameplay contributes to appreciation of movie content and specific movie characters.

    Families that Play Together Stay Together. Investigating Family Bonding through Video Games.
    B. Wang, L. Taylor, & Q. Sun (USA)

    Video games have been a major form of people’s entertainment, and they have entered people’s family life. The present study investigated the effects of video games family co-playing on family bonding. 361 parents completed online questionnaires. The results showed that co-playing increased family satisfaction and family closeness. Families with poor family communication benefit more from co-playing. Game features that facilitate family relationships were discovered through open-ended questions. Participants typically enjoyed playing video games with family members and social benefits are the most salient in family settings.

    Adults Playing Outside in the City. Ingress-Gamers’ Views on Themselves, Others and the Cultural Space.
    P. Grell, F. Rau, & I. Kosubski (Germany)

    Ingress is a game-changer: widespread cooperation is necessary and players have to physically walk through their local environment to interact with “portals”. Our field research, combined with a qualitative interview study, focuses on the meaning of this game for players and communities. The research question, in which way the game influences players’ views on urban space and communities, is based on transformative “Bildung”. Findings show that players make comprehensive experiences within the game and player-community interaction, that they get to know people they usually do not come across, and that their perspective on urban space broadens in a specific way.

    Respondents & Discussion
    Session Chair: Maxwell Foxman
    Respondent: Rabindra Ratan

  • 16:30

    FAREWELL

A printed program and a downloadable PDF with all information will be made available two weeks prior to the pre-conference event.
© 2017 ICA Game Studies Division