Paid to Play: The Rise of Gig Work in the Gaming Industry

Name of applicant

Magnus Andersen




Uppsala University


DKK 1,020,000



Type of grant

Internationalisation Fellowships


This project explores how a new digital platform-mediated play-to-earn economy turns online spaces of video games into sites of labour. By doing so, the project studies game service work as a new form of gig work with the primary task of entertaining other more affluent players. The project provides new knowledge on how such work is part of the global labour markets of digital work.


Video games are no longer just playgrounds for nerds but has grown into a multibillion-dollar media industry. As part of the rising gig economy, digital platforms are transforming the organisation of work and labour relations for millions of people globally. This project aims to explain how the overlap of these two developments reshape spaces made for leisure into spaces for work.


Combining cultural studies with labour geography and media studies, the project will conduct an in-depth digital ethnography of platforms that mediate game service work. Through interviews and interactions with workers in online video games, the project will study the actual labour process of gig game work and how it is embedded in globally diverse social, economic, and spatial contexts.

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