Online Games and Game-Like Systems Minitrack

For over a decade, online games have impacted how we engage in play, commerce and work. The Internet is an essential component of current video games; organisations are using online games to create new business models; and companies are training their employees with online game-like systems.

This minitrack will provide a forum for researchers to discuss the design, use and impact of online games in various contexts. We are specifically interested in research on the information systems concepts of online games (e.g. a study that identifies the information system designs of successful “free-to-play” online games). In general, topics of interest for this minitrack include: gamification, game design, psychology of online games, online game business models, and virtual digital economies.

There are three specific areas of research that we are interested in for this minitrack; the use of online games in play, commerce, and work.

In play, many studies have been conducted on how people socialise using features in online games and how interactive play is affected by game design. For instance, Bartle (2004) has conducted work on player types in multi-user dungeons and shows how an online multiplayer game satisfies the needs of different types of players. For this area, we are interested in work that shows how information system design and the game design affect player interaction in these new environments.

In commerce, there is work on how games create virtual economy and create new business models. For instance, work by Castranova (2001) has shown that players in virtual game worlds will create their own economies within the games and many game companies have hired economists to create more efficient economies within their games. Also, new business models in gaming such as “free-to-play” are changing the games industry (Lin and Sun 2011). For this area, we are interested in how virtual economies are supported by the mixture of information technology and game design, as well as how new business models are created in the online gaming industry.

In work, games are being used in businesses to fully engage employees and are being embedded in customer facing business processes. While businesses have long used games to train employees (Keys and Wolfe 1990, Michael and Chen 2005), information systems development is increasingly adapting techniques and concepts from online games to engage customers and employees (Zichermann and Cunningham 2011, Deterding et al. 2011). For this area, we are interested in meaningful games in work settings and the gamification of business processes using online games.

Minitrack Co-Chairs:

Kafui Monu (Primary Contact)
University of British Columbia

Paul Ralph
University of Auckland

Xi Zhang
Tianjin University

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