Research Themes

Criticism and Analysis

Research and education within this theme concerns itself with understanding games as cultural productions by studying the way meaning is produced within and around them. Key perspectives are derived from often Humanities-based fields als media studies, cultural studies, gender studies, political economy studies, fan studies, production studies, and research through design.

Games Beyond Entertainment

Within this research theme, we situate all research on games and play where entertainment is not the main goal. Rather, games and play are studied in their capacity to persuade, steer, sell or in other ways influence the player through its design. This includes the many examples of serious games and gaming (educational, political, commercial) as well as the various forms and applications of gamification. We look both at the potential of, and provides critical reflection on these developments.

Games and Sustainability

Contemporary games are increasingly used not only to entertain, but also to persuade people, raising their awareness and changing or reinforcing their attitudes and behavior for the good of society. Researchers within this theme ask how sustainability games can address today’s environmental challenges; how they facilitate social change on a micro, meso and macro level; how they construct playful forms of civic engagement. Research also focuses on the environmental impact of game production, distribution and reception.

Social Games and Play

'Social Games and Play' focuses on exploring the dynamics of social interactions in online games, offline games, and other play experiences. We investigate how games facilitate relatedness, social capital, and other connectedness outcomes with interdisciplinary perspectives, including psychological, social, cultural, and technical aspects of social gaming. We aim to combat harms (e.g., toxicity) and facilitate the benefits of social play.

Player Research and Psychology

Game Technology and AI

The ‘Game Technology and AI’ research theme explores aspects of novel technology and their relation to games. For example, we study how AI enhances gameplay, procedural content generation, adaptive systems, and analysis of player data, and how novel approaches like XR and location-based games may transform games and their design and development processes.

Play Research

Ethics of Play

Extended Realities (AR/VR/XR)

Games for Health