Stories of/by/for the Field of Play

This exploratory qualitative study led by Drew Davidson explores the current state of the field of play, specifically in games and related areas (mixed reality, themed entertainment, tech, etc.). The concept of play is rather broad and diverse—from social studies to health and enjoyment, from education and learning to games and technology, and more. As such, this is less a focus on a discipline and more an exploration of the extensive ideas around play. Results will be published open access by ETC Press. We will share stories of/by/for this vast field of play in the global relationships amongst education institutions, industry companies, professional organizations, foundations, and government groups focused on the creative and entertainment technology industries.

With the support of Connected Learning Alliance, Games for Change, Global Game Jam, International Game Developer Association, Higher Education Video Game Alliance, and IndieCade, along with the Pittsburgh Remake Learning Initiative and the Pittsburgh Technology Council, we are reaching out through their communities for an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural study of international regions and cities that have shared expertise related with the field of play. These organizations will help form a global community committee to provide local focus on regions/cities/areas to help best ensure an inclusive process that offers perspectives from the diverse groups engaged within the field, working to be open and critical of established norms and supportive of points of view from under-represented and under-served groups.

The study will leverage questionnaires, in-depth interviews, and community participation to find patterns, commonalities, and differences across various regions amongst the education, industry, professional, foundation, and government groups involved in the field of play. We hope to explore how these creative ecosystems develop, evolve, survive, and thrive worldwide while discerning future opportunities and directions based on current and projected innovations and issues (e.g., generative AI, development platforms, work conditions, etc.). Also, we'll be looking at how the various groups involved inter-relate within these ecosystems, how communities and connections form, and the professional pathways related to economic and workforce development. Across the field, we've seen various approaches, with schools focusing on art, technology, theory, and production (and more) and with companies specializing in multiplayer, virtual reality, mobile, RPGs, etc., as well as varying levels of organizational, foundational and governmental support for work in the field of play.

The goal will be to collaboratively produce a summative white paper report with a high-level synthesis and summative global sections contributed by the community committee. The process will be transparent and open, with all collected information available for further studies. We hope the final report will document the global state of play, highlighting themes and approaches, as well as serving as a reference for current practices, promises, and problems, and also as a guide with recommendations for how the field can level up and become more inclusive and innovative in more regions and cities around the world. As we work through the process, we'll also explore and discuss the potential value and effort of regular follow-up studies to help continue sharing amongst the communities involved. Thank you for your interest and participation.

Please help define and reflect on the field of play by sharing your perspective through the questionnaire.

If you have any questions, you may contact the study team.

Photo credit: Antonio Gabola on Unsplash