Stephanie Boluk – Welcome to Flatland: Money, Metagames, and Valve’s Digital Economy
Monday, April 20, 2015 at 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm
Stephanie Boluk, Assistant Professor, Pratt Institute
Abstract: This talk will describe the concept of metagaming and its relationship to emerging forms of financialization in and around videogames. Focusing specifically on the labor practices of Valve Corporation and its digital distribution marketplace Steam, I will discuss the experimental management structures of Valve, the architecture of its corporate headquarters, and the practices of players, modders, makers, and spectators who contribute to Steam’s digital economies. At Valve, there is no fun, there is no work: only the single measure of productivity linking player and laborer alike in a massively multiplayer money game.
Bio: Stephanie Boluk is an assistant professor teaching in the Graduate Program of Media Studies at Pratt Institute. She is currently co-authoring a book with Patrick LeMieux entitled Metagames: Videogames and the Practice of Play. For more information see http://stephanieboluk.com.
- Valve’s Handbook for New Employees: (http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1074301/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf)
- Gabe Newell keynote at UT Austin: “On Productivity, Economics, Political Institutions & The Future of Corporations: Reflections of a Video Game Maker”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8QEOBgLBQU
The Class Responds by Group Number (to come)
- Garnet Hertz – Critical Making: Foundations and Processes of Critically Engaged Design Practice - February 9, 2015
- Ben Vershbow – Time Machines, Community Gardens, and Other Metaphors for Libraries
Dragan Espenschied – Understanding the Creation of Artifacts of Digital Culture - February 23, 2015
- Jeanne Liotta – The Real World at Last Becomes a Myth: Ruminations on Art and Science - March 2, 2015