The Significance and Complexities of Anti-Corporate Gamer Activism: Struggles Against the Exploitation and Control of Game-Worlds in 2000s China

Matthew M. Chew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Few studies explore the progressive sociopolitical relevance of gamers. This study contributes to this exploration by investigating a common yet neglected type of gamer activism: struggles against the exploitation and control of game-worlds by game publishers. I analyze it with anti-corporate Chinese gamer activism between 2003 and 2010. I found seven recurring battlefronts on which gamers carried out violent protests, clicktivism, media campaigns, connective action, political consumerism, and litigation. They involved technical problems, publisher staff’s rent-seeking, termination of game-worlds, abusive game design, and the mishandling of the problems of duping, bots, and virtual property theft. Numerous groups including gold farmers and consumer associations were involved in these complex struggles. This study’s core dataset was collected between 2007 and 2011 from media reports on gamer activism, game industry reports, in-game observation, and documentary and video records of gamer mobilization. Supplementary data were collected between 2012 and 2015 and again in 2018 and 2019.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-508
Number of pages22
JournalGames and Culture
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese video game
  • game world
  • gamer activism
  • pay-to-win
  • political consumerism
  • right to play

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