At the SCOS conference next week I am presenting a study by Claudia Schnugg and myself. The paper is about musicians and how they play being musicians. The game of playing a part, just as they play music. The paper should be seen as a play with theses concepts, seeing what will come out of it.

“Your job is to live the fantasiser other only dream about. Don’t go in half-heart. Dream big. Live the life.” (Drummer A.C. in Rock Star, Warner Bros. 2001)

It has been argued that we humans are the homo ludens, that we a playing being that is both formed by these actions; just as we have formed society through playing. Huizinga (1950/1955) classical exploration of play and society present a trajectory where many (if not most) aspect of society are result of playful interactions at one point. Although play had an important role in forming society Huizinga argue that play now have been relegated to separated spheres, magical circles with no relation to ‘real life’. These thoughts were further developed by Callois (1958/2001) in categorizing play and game that further strengthened both the importance and marginalization of play in social life. Read the rest of this entry »

Next week I’m presenting a paper at EGOS on how art travel and are made into political objects.

Creating an artwork is the work of crafting a symbolic representation of society; and, according to Adorno (1991) true art challenges society through its symbolic representation. All arts, it can be argued, are communicating a symbolic meaning of whatever the artist decides. In this sense, aspects of society, and what it means to be human, are translated and inscribed into the object in question – painting, song, art installation, film, video game – leaving the subject itself to interpret these meanings from the art. Artists can thus be understood as symbolic creator (Hesmondhalgh, 2012), leaving imprints in objects – commenting on the state of our society. Read the rest of this entry »

Been an editor for a special issue on video game business models and monetization in Communications & Strategies. This will be avalible in the end of June, chek it out.

This issue of Communications & Strategies is dedicated to the analysis of changes in the video game industry. In particular, this issue examines the changes in business models, in business revenue and prices, changes in markets and in industrial structures. Hence, this issue sets the current dynamics that alter the ecosystem in this area, but also some of the conditions necessary for the development of the videogame industry at the time of its transformation.

Call for Chapters – Edited Book:


Dymek & Zackariasson (Eds.) (forthcoming/2015, Routledge)

image Download PDF here

We are pleased to invite you to submit a chapter for our book on gamification and business! This is probably one of the first edited books on this subject based on critical and analytical perspectives.


The gamification craze in the business world has lasted a number of years and time has arrived to critically examine and analyse the meaning and impact of this trend. Without a paradigmatic definition, a common and tentative viewpoint is that gamification involves the use of game mechanics in “non-game” contexts. The business world has embraced this loosely defined trend with vivid enthusiasm and spawned a plethora of software applications, services, campaigns, products and communication strategies that all claim to be part of the gamification movement. Within a business context an impressive range of efforts have been produced within project management, education, internal/organisational communication, health care, human resource management and marketing. It is the obligation of academia to scrutinise the understanding and use of gamification. Read the rest of this entry »

Tim and I are happy to announce that Routledge has agreed to a contract on a future book on marketing aspects of video game development. The aim of this book is to provide reference material for those 1) studying to be part of the video games industry, those 2) starting up in the video game industry, and those 3) strengthening their position in this industry. By offering a marketing perspective based on a vast array of research and experience in education, this book’s aim is to communicate how this knowledge affects the video game industry specifically. Through communicating the basics of marketing and how this can be applied in video game development, this book will unleash the potential in video games to reach a wide audience and appeal.

We’re looking forward to present the book to you in 2015!

In March I was asked to step in as deputy director for a join research program between the arts faculty and the business school called Business and Design Lab. This research program has both a master in Business and Design, as well as research activities involving both researchers from the arts and researcher from business. Now, we all know that the most interesting research are those projects that exist in the fringe of definitions, on the borders of what areas, or plainly between areas. BDL is design to be just this area. I’m vely priviliged to be part of this until the director is back again.


Last week I spent with the Swedish heavy metal band Mustasch. In order to further explore the culture industries I conducted an ethnographic project, using participant observations to experience touring and playing music. As a field it is very interesting and the observations in many ways also confirmed the understanding I had of this before embaring upon this tour. But there were also another dimension of complexity that I had not expected, of hard work and dedication – to the arts and fans. Hopefully I will be able to explore this in two upcoming papers, one on the practice of celebrity and the other on playing musician. I can only hope this will lead to other interesting projects and papers.

Next week I’m off to Paris to talk about video games and business models. My contribution will be On creativity and business models in the video game industry, somewhat in line with my chapter just published in the edited book Changing the Rules of the Game. The event is hosted by the Innovation & Regulation in Digital Services Chair and Mosaic-Pôle Innovation et créativité of HEC Montreal, and is a conference that is meant to engage both academia and industry on this topic. Many interesting presentations to take part in! Following this conference there is also a call for papers to a special issue in Communications & Strategies in 2014.

BildIn this edited book I have contributed two chapters. The first on creativity:

“In this chapter I will discuss the role of creativity in the video game industry. As this is defined an creative industry it is assumed that whatever happens here is creative, or dependent on creative acts. But I would like to suggest that here is where we have to separate categorisation from process: the category of creative industries from the process of being creative. In that aspect it is a bit unfortunate that the video game industry is categorized as a creative industry, instead of a cultural industry. This would have solved the issue of category and process. Of course, there are aspects of this industry that can, and should, be defined as creative; although other parts are stifled by an inability to change normative patterns. Aspects of the industry that have been institutionalised and inflexible for changes that creative acts can bring with it. I would like to argue that the creative aspect in the video game industry are to be found in most part of the value chain, just as creativity can be found on many other industries – not defined as creative (or belonging to the category of creative industry to be exact). This mean that there are game developers that are very creative, but this also goes for publishers, distributors, sales and games consumers (gamers): new business models, utilising new technology for new gaming experiences, renegotiating gaming and so forth. Thus, the content in a game is not per definition the result of a creative process, this could very much be quite the opposite. Neither is the content of a game creative just because it is the result of an artistic process. We have to separate artistic work and creative work: artistic work does not necessarily have to be creative. Video games are cultural products that has the ability to bring forth creative aspects in its production, distribution and use.”

And the second (co authored with Timpothy Wilson) on consumers:

“In this chapter we discuss how the consumer is made part of the development of video games, from sales to co-production. The role of the consumer, however, is neither straightforward nor easily defined because video games, similar to other cultural products, do not follow a simple development pattern of definition and production. A discussion of the role of the consumer in the context of cultural products, and of video games specifically,  is therefore of particular importance. In this chapter we will therefore focus on the person for whom games are ultimately created for, the gamer. Like any other industry, the video games industry comprises a large number of different actors, and the value chain in the development of video games (Zackariasson and Wilson, 2012) could be described as follows: developer – publisher – distributor – retailer – customer – consumer. But, the consumer, as end user, is not merely the final participant in the value chain. The consumer is an important actor for sending feedback back along the value chain, in order for value to be created throughout the process of delivering a video game.”

The second paper we’re presenting at NFF is co-authored with Ulf Dandqvist. This is another paper on the video game industry.

Abstract: The video game industry has today established itself as one of the largest entertainment industries. It is, just as the films industry, producing a product that is dependent on both artistic knowledge and business knowledge. Today the industry are suffering from a creative inability when it comes to the actual games – although it manages to find all the more creativity when it comes to finding successful business models. This paper reports on a longer study of Swedish game developers and how they find a way to distribute games in a market moving from the physical to the digital.

As usual you can find all paper on


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