“Policing the Sandbox in Grand Theft Auto Online”


Payne, Matthew T. & Fleisch, Michael. “Policing the Sandbox in Grand Theft Auto Online,” Media Fields 8 (2014).



From the issue’s introduction: “The first essay in this issue, Matthew Thomas Payne and Michael Fleisch’s “Policing the Sandbox in Grand Theft Auto Online” explores the theme of the playground directly. Considering RockStar’s machinations in Grand Theft Auto Online against players’ attempts to manipulate the economic structure of the game’s open world, Payne and Fleisch highlight the fraught politics of policing a space that on its surface purports to offer players a world in which rules are made to be broken. In this sense, play takes on a para-ludic character as cunning players find ways to manipulate the game’s virtual marketplace while the developer moves to protect a vested interest in the game’s real economic potential, carefully curated micro-transactions.”