Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Contested Formations of Digital Game Labor

Document type Article
Author de Peuter, Greig
Author Young, Chris J.
Journal Television & New Media
Volume 20
Date 2019
Pages 747-755


This article introduces a special issue critically investigating contemporary formations of digital game labor, with a focus on the political-economic forces, social inequalities, and technological dynamics mutually shaping these formations. Accounts of game industry practices have been at the forefront of efforts within media studies to document and theorize conditions and transformations of labor under digital capitalism. The study of digital game labor has tended to cluster around four areas of inquiry: below-the-line labor, the creative labor of game development, player-production, and game labor politics. Providing empirically informed portraits of diverse contexts and experiences of gamework, this issue interrogates multiple dimensions of precarious work and social exclusion within an industry whose playful self-image can make it a resistant object of labor-centered analysis. The contributors to this issue promote a research orientation that is attentive to how work in the digital game industry might be made more accessible and sustainable.