Game Production Studies Edited Collection

The edited collection Game Production Studies, which I have co-edited with Olli Sotamaa, has just been published by the Amsterdam University Press. The book, which is available in open access as well as hardcover, features 16 chapters dedicated to the study of video game production. The cover illustration was created by Jana Kilianová.

The official copy: Video games have entered the cultural mainstream and in terms of economic profits they now rival established entertainment industries such as film or television. As careers in video game development become more common, so do the stories about precarious working conditions and structural inequalities within the industry. Yet, scholars have largely overlooked video game production cultures in favor of studying games themselves and player audiences. In Game Production Studies, an international group of established and emerging researchers takes a closer look at the everyday realities of video game production, ranging from commercial industries to independent creators and cultural intermediaries. Across sixteen chapters, the authors deal with issues related to labour, game development, monetization and publishing, as well as local specificities. As the first edited collection dedicated solely to video game production, this volume provides a timely resource for anyone interested in how games are made and at what costs.

Praise for the book:

“An excellent and much-needed collection exploring the politics, economics, and cultures of the contexts of games production. Essential reading for anyone interested in the making of games, with chapters engaging in theoretically and methodologically innovative studies spanning diverse geographic contexts and sites of production.”

Alison Harvey, York University

“This timely, authoritative and accessible volume is underpinned by a collective concern not only to describe and analyse game production, but also to identify and suggest more equitable and sustainable alternatives to current labour and production practices. As such it will prove a key text in study of games and games production, and the digital cultural industries more generally.”

Seth Giddings, University of Southampton

Table of contents:

Introduction: Why Game Production Matters? Olli Sotamaa & Jan Švelch


  1. Hobbyist Game Making Between Self-Exploitation and Self-Emancipation by Brendan Keogh
  2. Self-Making and Game Making in the Future of Work by Aleena Chia
  3. Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Circulations and Biographies of French Game Workers in a ‘Global Games’ Era by Hovig Ter Minassian & Vinciane Zabban
  4. Intermediating the Everyday: Indie Game Development and the Labour of Co-Working Spaces by Pierson Browne & Brian R. Schram


  1. Game Developers Playing Games: Instrumental Play, Game Talk, and Preserving the Joy of Play by Olli Sotamaa
  2. Game Development Live on Twitch: Observations of Practice and Educational Synergies by Mia Consalvo & Andrew Phelps
  3. Unity Production: Capturing the Everyday Game Maker Market by Chris J. Young
  4. More Than One Flop from Bankruptcy: Rethinking Sustainable Independent Game Development by John Banks & Brendan Keogh

Publishing & Monetization

  1. How to Study Game Publishers: Activision Blizzard’s Corporate History by David B. Nieborg
  2. Who Creates Microtransactions: The Production Context of Video Game Monetization by Lies van Roessel & Jan Švelch
  3. Regulating In-Game Monetization: Implications of Regulation on Games Production by Matthew E. Perks

Regional Perspectives

  1. Promises of the Periphery: Producing Games in the Communist and Transformation-Era Czechoslovakia by Jaroslav Švelch
  2. Construction and Negotiation of Entrepreneurial Subjectivities in the Polish Video Game Industry by Anna M. Ozimek
  3. The Development of Greater China’s Games Industry: From Copying to Imitation to Innovation by Akinori ‘Aki’ Nakamura & Hanna Wirman

Before and After: Towards Inclusive Production Studies, Theories, and Methods by Aphra Kerr