CFP: GamiFIN conference 2017, ext-dl: 31 January, 2017

CFP GamiFIN Conference 2017
Pori, Finland

http://gamifinconference.com
9th to 10th May 2017

Submissions due on:
EXTENDED DEADLINE 31th January, 2017

Selected contributions will be published in special issue of International journal of Serious Games

+ Open-access online conference proceedings (CEUR-WS)

* GamiFIN 2017 is proud and delighted to announce our confirmed keynote speakers, we do have a great combination of excellence around gamification: Dr. Sylvester Arnab, Reader in Game Science, Coventry University (UK), Dr. Sebastian Deterding, a senior research fellow at the Digital Creativity Labs, University of York (UK) and Dr. Juho Hamari, a Professor of Gamification at UCPori and a leading researcher at the Game Research Lab University of Tampere. Exciting lectures ahead concentrating on e.g. the current state of the art in the field of academic research on gamification, why gamification needs theory and how to transform ordinary tasks into extraordinary experiences. Be sure not to miss these key-talks next May in Pori, Finland!

We are pleased to invite you to GamiFIN conference, on 9th to 10th of May 2017 in Pori, Finland. GamiFIN is a meeting place where researchers, industry and experts present results from their latest work regarding gamification, technology, media and digital culture for the future society.

GamiFIN is a concept made up by University Consortium of Pori. GamiFIN brings together people not only from different fields of academia but also from different sectors such as companies and other institutions. GamiFIN is a great opportunity to present your novel and ground-breaking research results, benefit from the interaction with industry and practitioners and to get new ideas how to utilize gamificational approaches in research as well as in industrial level.

The GamiFIN conference features e.g. the following major themes:

  • Gamification, ludification, playfulness
  • Industry and gamification
  • Gamification of public events such as concerts, sports events etc.
  • Wellbeing and gamification
  • Sustainability, ecological solutions
  • Customer services gamification
  • Funification
  • Gamification of mathematics
  • Gamification of data collection
  • Gamification of research

CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS

The authors of the selection of the best papers will be invited to publish their work as an article in a special issue of the International Journal of Serious Games.

All the papers accepted to the conference, will be sent for consideration in open-access CEUR Workshop Proceedings. CEUR-WS.org is a recognized ISSN publication series with ISSN 1613-0073. After acceptance, the proceedings will be published as a GamiFIN Conference 2017 volume. (In the Finnish classification of publication forums, CEUR-WS-proceedings are classified as Jufo 1)

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 

There are two different tracks you can submit your proposals to:

1) academic and 2) industrial

In the academic track, the papers should contain 4 -6 pages, including the list of references. Papers are expected to contribute the field of gamification, based on the different themes of the conference. The contribution has to be original, novel, well written and scientifically ensure the validity of the presented results.

The industrial track serves the participating companies by offering demo sessions where current and on going work can be presented. Contributions concerning development, business cases, marketing, strategy, case studies, best practices and lessons learned etc. are welcomed. In industrial track, please submit 1-page position paper. All academic submissions will be peer-reviewed double blinded. The industrial submissions should include a short biography of the author / presenter, and description of their organization.

Extended deadline for submissions is 31th of January, 2017.

Year in review – my 2015 in game studies

The year 2015 was a busy year, and hard to summarise as it feels like there never really was any time to stop and reflect; thus I welcome this short review note as such opportunity. Much of my time this year was spent on administrative things, related processes, projects, work contracts and plans of restructuring at the multiple levels of the Finnish university system, Tampere 3 university fusion, internal University of Tampere structures, the School of Information Sciences, our degree programmes and the IGS master’s degree programme, TRIM as the research centre and our Game Research Lab, and its individual research projects and other work.

In terms of published research, it was delightful to follow how many interesting book projects were finished and came out during 2015 (many of these are already out and available, even if their official publication year is 2016). Particularly the Routledge Advances in Game Studies series was in high gear, as several important research volumes were published there; my research articles were included in The Dark Side of Game Play, The Video Game Debate and Video Game Policy books. (There were other important books in the series, too, including Rachel Kowert’s Video Games and Social Competence, and Ashley ML Brown’s Sexuality in Role-Playing Games.) For more, see: https://www.routledge.com/series/RAIGS My own work included analysing the subversive uses of chidren’s games, exploring the gaming communities, and (together with Gareth Schott) re-conceptualizing game violence.

In other published work, I was proud to be part of the editorial board of Finnish Yearbook of Game Studies (Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja; with the new editor-in-chief Raine Koskimaa), have in-depth analyses of our game researcher survey study come out in esteemed Journal of Communication (Thorsten Quandt, Jan Van Looy as the main authors in this article). I also published a historically oriented overview of Finnish games and game culture in the Video Games Around the World volume, edited by the amazingly productive Mark Wolf for the MIT Press. I also wrote an article exploring the character and development of mobile games that was published in the International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication & Society (Wiley-Blackwell). Last but not least, the long-waited book, Playful Identities: The Ludification of Digital Media Cultures came out from Amsterdam University Press. My piece there deals with the culture and identity of casual online play.

Our research team’s work in 2015 again covered a large part of the games, player experiences, design research and game cultures landscapes. Our particular emphasis is on the emerging and transforming aspects of these, multiple and interconnected phenomena and research topics. In 2015 we wrapped up the research projects Hybridex – The User Experience in the Future Playful Hybrid Services and Free2Play – Best Practices for Free-to-Play Game Services. Some of the research publications, including the full final reports from these projects are still coming out, but you can find some of this work at: https://free2playproject.wordpress.com/publications/ and https://hybridex.wordpress.com/ . Our work in the emerging, and newly re-configured borderlines of physical and digital dimensions in play also included also practical design experiments in the TSR funded OASIS research that studied intermixing of work and play, as well as with the playful MurMur chairs (originating from the Hybridex project). Featured in local as well as in international media, such practical implementations of fundamental research particularly appear to attract the attention of wider audiences. The high-quality research on gamification was also getting wider notice this year, including many publications that were coming out from Koukku, Neuroeconomics of Gaming and Free2Play research projects on this theme. Many thanks to all members of our research team, from these, as well as other research projects.

Much of such research that includes direct applications and links with games industry and other end user or interest groups were funded by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, as well as by various industry partners. Many thanks to all our collaborating partners, and Tekes in particular for their interest and belief in the significance of games and games related research. The Skene games programme ended in 2015, but everyone very much hopes that the huge funding cuts to Tekes, Academy of Finland and directly to the basic funding of Finnish universities does not stop work in themes that are important for the advancement of fundamental knowledge, cultural richness, and capacity for innovation – be those related to arts, technology, humanities, social sciences or e.g. human well-being (studies of games, play, gamification and playfulness relate and touch upon all those research areas).

Our work continues in active mode also in 2016, thanks to two new Tekes research projects (Hybrid Social Play; STREAM/eSports), the Academy of Finland funded Ludification of Culture and Society project, and other ongoing work that is based on individual research grants that members of our research teams have won, as well as other continuing research projects. There are many important themes that are logical continuation of the earlier work we have done (and I have probably forgot to mention many important achievements above), but there are also new innovations and expansions into new areas that are going on. Directing my time and energy into new research on e.g. hybrid play applications while simultaneously participating in other ongoing work will probably mean that in 2016 there will not be as many publications coming out from myself, but that is part of the natural rhythm, ebb and flow of academic life. It is also important that the new tenure-track associate professor in game culture studies position, announded in summer 2015, will be filled hopefully in early 2016. We are also joining forces among the Finnish game scholars to have more supportive structures and collaborative initiatives to start in 2016.

Again: many thanks for everyone in our team, project collaborators and international friends who have made 2015 such a successful and productive year – wishing you all the best, and hoping to make 2016 also a great year together!

Edit: Oh yes – Jaakko Stenros defending his PhD thesis should of course be mentioned here; every doctoral dissertation from our research team is a major milestone!

Panel: From Game Studies to Studies of Play in Society

The first day of DiGRA 2015 conference featured panel titled “From Game Studies to Studies of Play in Society”, which included Sebastian Deterding, Mia Consalvo, Joost Raessens, Seth Giddings, Torill Elvira Mortensen, Kristine Jørgensen and myself as speakers (Sybille Lammes unfortunately could not make it; check out the panel position paper here: DiGRA 2015 panel paper). The immediate incentive for me to start planning this panel was related to the stimulus of our ‘Ludification and the Emergence of Playful Culture’ research project (Academy of Finland, 2014-2018). The scope and conclusions drawn from the discussion, however, point into several directions, now only those related to the opportunities and challenges provided by ‘ludification’ or ‘gamification’ to game studies. In my introduction and outline of panel agenda I was talking about how game studies had been changing over the recent years, with possible transfers of focus in the subject matters, methodologies, theory frameworks as well as in the institutional placement and allegiances of the work carried out in this field. I shortly provided some suggestions on how such developments had featured in the expanding scope of work carried out in the University of Tampere Game Research Lab, and then put forward the questions: Is research of games and play now becoming more relevant for other fields of learning? And on the other hand: Are game studies in danger of losing its distinctiveness in this process? I have no room to fully capture insightful position statements of the distinguished panellists, nor the ensuing lively discussion, but here are some quick notes:

  • Sebastian Deterding moved to position game studies in the context of convergence culture, comparing the situation with games to that of television (and television studies), where also the “classic television” had been recontextualized and complicated by the emergence of “crowdsourced YouTube series television” and similar phenomena. He urged game studies to move away from seeking some “eternal essence” of gameness to research of more granular units, putting more emphasis on particular cultural forms and conditions, and relying on empirical studies.
  • Mia Consalvo eloquently outlined the “choice fatigue” that is facing students (and possibly also scholars) who are moving to the (expanded, emphatically complex) field of digital games. She also talked about the agency and identity of people working on game studies: if I only play ‘peek-a-boo’ with my baby, am I allowed to have a voice in studies, or research, of this field?
  • Joost Raessens was questioning the implicit narrative suggested by the title of panel: we are not really moving from studies of games to studies of play, because those two have been inseparably linked and integrated from the very beginning of game studies (Joost was also quickly highlighting some lines of this thought running from Heraclitus, Schiller, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Gadamer, Marcuse, Deleuze and Derrida – to Sutton-Smith, Zimmerman and Sicart). Himself working on the ludification of culture, he saw the study of play element in culture at the centre of game studies project, explaining how Huizinga’s broad-ranging thought in Homo Ludens still resonates strongly within game studies community. Pointing towards the recent book Playful Identities, Joost concluded by suggesting how ‘ludic identity’ could be articulated and analysed from at least three key perspectives. From ontological concepts we should move to more epistemological approaches.
  • Seth Giddings was putting forward a beautifully written (and read) argument on how the play of animals and children can not be fundamentally separated, and what kind of consequences it has on including ecological and ethological approaches to the repertoire of this field.
  • Torill Elvira Mortensen took issue with ‘dark play’, discussing the internal conflicts and frustrations of (unemployed) youth – something that can perhaps been positioned at the background of the hatred and aggression that has recently exploded to the forefront of digital “gamer” cultures. Games and play can easily be utilized as a sort of “disarming rhetoric”, where “boys will be boys”, “it is just play” or “it is just trolling” can be used to justify all kinds of acts of violence and dominance. Torill reminded us that play and games, while ancient, are not “natural” or beyond critique, and that the entire field is deeply embedded in various (hegemonic) power structures.
  • Kristine Jørgensen kind of summarised the entire panel by at first outlining the current situation, where game studies is highly relevant for surrounding culture and society, with play infusing many different aspects and dimensions of culture and society. Player demographics are currently emphatically diverse, players hold high profile as consumers, paralleled by highly visible roles that game industry holds in (popular-cultural) economics, and game forms as a medium of expression. But such notable position also comes with a price: there are increasing pressures from within and outside of academia to how games and play should be approached – or exploited. Game studies are being challenged by other fields and disciplines that also want to include games and play into their agenda, and the distinctiveness of game studies is indeed under increasing pressure to dissolve, or disappear.
  • In the ensuing discussion, the “pyrrhic victory of game studies” (Sebastian) was debated: had game studies made itself ‘unnecessary’ in the process of becoming the highly successful ‘science of everything’ through the expanding range of gameful, playful and otherwise play-related approaches and expansions of its research field? Some, like Joost celebrated the success and potential of game studies to bring together and build bridges between theoretical and practical, humanistic, social-scientific and design research work. Sebastian suggested that the best “survival strategy” for game studies would be to adopt design science approach at its core, since that would be the best way of arguing for its sustained societal impact and relevance. From the audience, Annika Waern commented that HCI (human-computer interaction) research field is an example of how this already has been attempted for more than two decades, without resounding success – even while design practitioners are indeed frequenting HCI conferences, more than game designers would be participating in DiGRA or other game studies’ scholarly events. Annika saw that game studies academics are much stronger currently in analytical, theoretical work on foundational issues of games and play research, and there is also the danger of becoming subservient to industry (with its typically more practical, and short-to-medium-term interests), if design science would be emphatically set as the sole, dominant organising principle of game studies.
  • Other key themes in discussion was the one thread that related to the “built-in anti-essentialism” in studies of games and play: the academics in this field are typically emphatically suspicious of essentializing views, or fixed definitions of their subjects of study – it was suggested that this is rooted in the fast change in new media as the context of this field, and on the other hand, on “new and innovative”, the next thing, always being more inviting to these academics (us) than the questionable idea of stopping at any kind of ‘fixed’ or stabilizing identity. On the other hand, Joost provided the example of gender studies, where it had been recognised that “strategic essentialism” might be necessary to maintain some kind of ‘core’ of disciplinary identity for gender studies, while analyses and awareness of gender studies issues has certainly also expanded and transformed work carried out in multiple other disciplines. Similarly, “strategic essentialism” of maintaining the core of game studies (as in conceptual, theoretical, methodological and pragmatic dimensions of game studies as academic, institutionally organised and recognised field), in addition to having interdisciplinary collaborations, explorations and experimentations fruitfully altering and evolving games, play and related research and development practices. (This is something that I actually discussed in my “Getting into the Game: Doing Multi-Disciplinary Game Studies” chapter, in The Video Game Theory Reader 2, Perron & Wolf, eds., 2009.)
  • Other take-aways from this stimulating session included e.g. Sebastian’s suggestion that the optimal game scholar is “T-shaped”: she is capable of maintaining wide-ranging collaborations and discussions on topics that cross disciplinary boundaries, while having also “in-depth” knowledge and academic capabilities in some area of specialization.

New research into ludification and gamification

[Reposted research news from the University of Tampere:]

“Pervasive ludification and gamification, as well as the spreading of interactive media and online services are changing social interaction and the practices of work, learning and leisure as we speak,” says Professor Frans Mäyrä from the University of Tampere.

“That is why we need wide-ranging interdisciplinary studies in this area.”

The research into ludification in the society includes research into playfulness as an attitude that is also possible for adults, as well as into the different applications of gamification meaning the application of game elements in non-entertainment contexts. These, and several other themes are investigated in a new research project that is carried out in collaboration between three Finnish universities. The four-year research project Ludification and the emergence of playful culture is a joint effort of researchers of the digital culture at the universities of Tampere, Jyväskylä and Turku. Professor Frans Mäyrä is heading the research that is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Ludification at a more general level, and gamification in its more specific applications is a direction of development that is renewing the culture, society and businesses and it is also the common theme in three other research projects, which Professor Mäyrä and his research team have started.

Gamification is analysed in more detail in the research projects called the Neuroeconomics of Gaming and Koukku, which are collaborative efforts with the researchers at the Aalto University. In these projects, the focus is on the psychological aspects of buying and selling games and of the ethical issues involved. These projects are a part of the Skene Research Programme funded by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

OASIS is a project that applies games as an integral part of university research and instruction and develops and studies a novel, playful and creative learning environment that supports a culture of informal information sharing and sense of community. This project is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund.

For more information, please contact:
Professor Frans Mäyrä,
frans.mayra@uta.fi, tel. +358 50 336 7650
School of Information Sciences, TRIM / Game Research Lab

Source: http://blogs.uta.fi/news/2014/10/08/ludification-renews-the-culture-society-and-businesses-a-wide-ranging-new-research-project-starts/

Quantified Self & Withings Pulse

Withings Pulse
Withings Pulse

Pictured: Withings Pulse device, smaller than a third of a matchbox. – I have had my doubts about the “Quantified Self” movement (or just a vogue), but there are also some promising aspects in the concept of increasing information and awareness about your health and fitness. The obvious downsides include the potential for increased self-focus, obsession, stress, and data deluge. The (gamification-style) counter-argument is that when you get clear and immediate feedback on the relevant aspects of your life, it becomes more motivational, and it becomes easier to cajole yourself into doing stuff that you’d really want to do, in the first place.

Withings Pulse is the device that I am testing at the moment. Small, 8 gram marvel of miniaturization, it has sensors to measure movement, elevation, acceleration and many similar things — it even has a heart rate monitor that can be used to capture heart beat values every now and then — and connects via bluetooth to the smartphone app few times a day so that you can get nice, illustrative graphs and stats from the free Withings app. Withings is one part of the mushrooming new health data industry, with scales, blood pressure monitors, baby monitors as well as activity trackers in its connected-devices ecosystem. For a user, the crucial question is how well the supposed use style of these smart things actually fits with one’s lifestyle. Simply carrying the passive measuring device in your pocket is not too much a burden, but in order to fully benefit from this technology, one really should regularly start and stop the sleep recorder, step to the smart scale for body monitoring, then remember to set the relevant apps and sensors in the correct configuration, depending on whether one is following a particular training program, or just tries to see how many steps one takes during a regular working day.

It is perhaps too early to say how mainstream these technologies will become, in the end. But I see signs of a science-fictional future emerging: one where we are constantly getting readouts about the (previously pretty opaque) internal doings of our bodies, and personal health assistants alarming us in good time before any life threatening issues have time to develop. It is important also to keep track on how the individual freedom, protection of privacy and the voluntary character of such, highly sensitive data collection will work out in the future “culture of transparency”.

Link, Withings Pulse web page: http://www.withings.com/pulse