Digital games also utilize new monetization models, which furthermore blur the line between game genres, which have previously been separated. Playing digital free-to-play or F2P games can be started for free, but the game design encourages players to spend money during playing. Both in gambling and in F2P gaming, players can spend money during playing without any maximum limit.
In this doctoral dissertation, relationships between money, games and rewards associated with playing are considered from several angles by utilizing primarily qualitative methods. The analyzed data is collected from players by questionnaires and interviews and from game developers by interviews. The main research question is, in which ways playing and rewards associated with it are socially defined. More specific sub-questions are: 1) what money is like in the frame of the game, 2) what is the meaning of social interaction for play experiences, 3a) how players manage their playing money, and 3b) what kind of management of playing habits and playing money game developers expect from players.
Based on results, money is not qualitatively unchanging, but its meanings vary from one situation or context to another. Money can be both a symbol of player's identity and symbol of internal and external rewards of playing. Money used on gam- bling and on F2P gaming is not qualitatively the same money, even if players use similar social practices for the creation of play money in both cases. Inside the frame of the game, money becomes "play money" in both cases. The primary value of play money is derived from its ability to keep the playing going on. By managing play money during playing, players aim to achieve as high-quality playing experiences as possible, both in gambling and in F2P gaming.
Game developers see, that the responsibility to keep playing and money con- sumption related to it in a sustainable level lies with the players themselves. Game developers' responsibility is, according to them, to create a good game, which is at the same time fair and addictive. Addictiveness in this case refers to a shared discourse in game cultures, in which good games are addictive in a sense, that players want to keep on playing them for a long time.
Playing gambling games or F2P games for a long time leads often to higher monetary spending. Players manage money in their everyday life by various socially acceptable practices. In that way, they can keep their playing inside individually sustainable and socially acceptable boundaries. Players aim to integrate playing as part of their everyday life and to find their acknowledged position in game related social networks.
The doctoral dissertation of Master of Social Sciences Jani Kinnunen in the field of game research titled Rahat, peli ja rahapelaamisen sosiaaliset palkkiot will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences at 12 o'clock on Friday 26 November, 2021. The venue is Pinni B building lecture hall 1096, address: Kanslerinrinne 1. Professor Tanja Sihvonen from University of Vaasa will be the opponent while Professor Frans Mäyrä will act as the custos.
The event can be followed also via remote connection
The dissertation is available online at