Articles (non-refereed)

“Redesigning Game Industry Studies”


Payne, Matthew T. & Steirer, Gregory. “Redesigning Game Industry Studies.” Creative Industries Journal 7.1 (May 2014): 67-71. Solicited for inclusion.

First Paragraph:
“What exactly is a video game? How do we as gamers experience its liminal bounds? Moreover, how do we as scholars delimit those experiential parameters for the purposes of study? These are, of course, enduring questions for game studies. However, in the coming years, as digital games continue to grow in popularity, we believe that these questions will become increasingly germane to creative industries studies as well. Individual video games, both as discrete cultural texts and as engines of play, will become harder to pin down in response to the dual challenges posed by saturated markets and digital distribution. In other words, as cultural producers create more kinds of games for more kinds of players, defining what a game is with any certainty will require updated research tools and methodologies. In this piece we want to highlight two research areas that will be vital for future media industries scholarship in general, and games studies in particular: distribution and marketing.” (p. 67)

Other essays

“Broadband of Brothers: Fostering Gameplay Across Screens”

Payne, Matthew Thomas. “Broadband of Brothers: Fostering Gameplay Across Screens.” White Paper presented to Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. Sponsored by Warner Bros. and the University of California at Santa Barbara (2012).

Executive Summary:
This report evaluates the efficacy of second screen applications to incentivize repeated gameplay sessions in online, multiplayer video games. Specifically, this research project analyzes the multiplatform support applications for two best-selling military shooters: “Elite,” for Activision’s Modern Warfare 3, and “Battlelog,” for Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3. During the project’s six-week data gathering phase, fifteen participants kept detailed journals chronicling their hundreds of hours of collective gameplay while using these support apps. The participants also completed numerous questionnaires during that period. The data was later coded and analyzed to assess if “Elite” and “Battlelog” positively affected the participants’ online experiences. The report finds that the second screen applications amplified participants’ engagement with the video games because “Elite” and “Battlelog” gave the participants insider knowledge and strategies for subsequent play sessions.

Edited Book Chapters

“Interpreting Gameplay through Existential Ludology”

Payne, Matthew Thomas. “Interpreting Gameplay through Existential Ludology.” Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education. Edited by Richard E. Ferdig (Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2009): 621-635.

This chapter introduces and operationalizes an innovative interpretive strategy called “existential ludology” to explain how the game-play mechanics of two tactical shooter video gamesAmerica’s Army: Rise of a Soldier (Microsoft’s Xbox) and Full Spectrum Warrior (Sony’s PlayStation 2)educate gamers on how to play militarily. These titles, both produced in part by the U.S. Department of Defense, engender strict, doctrinal learning opportunities by embedding official combat protocols into their game-play structures. By employing existential ludology as an interpretive tool we can understand these military-backed games from an experiential, player-centric perspective, while also recognizing how their seemingly innocuous game-play is located within, and linked to, larger networks of power. Moreover, existential ludology’s flexibility as an interpretive instrument encourages educators to recognize the educational affordances of popular video games so that they might adopt these popular media artifacts for their own pedagogical ends.