"...The games we play on our computers, iPads, and video game consoles are watching us. They track our every online move and send data on who we are, how we play, and whom we play with back to game and virtual world publishers such as Sony and Microsoft. Two events in the summer of 2011 exemplify the need to study surveillance in games: a hacker attack against Sony's Playstation Network compromised over 77 million user accounts including credit card numbers, while iPhone users discovered hidden code in their devices that tracked their movements and secretly sent this data back to Apple. This form of consumer surveillance that targets players has eluded critical appraisal in both the games studies and surveillance literature. The games we play are not only watching us, but are leveraging surveillance to mold us into better students, workers, and consumers, as evidenced by the growth of gamification applications that combine playful design and feedback mechanisms from games with users' social profiles (e.g. Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn) in non-game applications explicitly geared to drive behavioural change. Accordingly, traditional surveillance activities are transformed through their combination with playful frames of reference and game-like elements."
Theme Issue of Surveillance & Society
edited by: Jennifer R. Whitson and Bart Simon
Submission deadline: September 15th 2013 for publication March 2014.