Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Mark Johnson from the University of Alberta gave a very interesting paper on the history between gambling and video games. Mark argued that ‘chance’ is an inherent feature of all games – we tend to wager something when we play. He also raised concerns about the modern day games design practices, and queried whether companies, like Electronic Arts, are purposively turning their games into ‘casinos’. This is important for understanding the future of play, particularly in terms of the way that money it. Mark ended his talk by suggesting that more research is needed into ‘daily fantasy sports’, ‘skin betting’, and ‘loot boxes’,  a project that I will be collaborating with Mark on this summer.

For more information on Mark’s talk, please see his slides from the event:

The Importance of Gambling to Game Studies

You can follow Mark on Twitter here, and read more of his work on Academia.edu and in his recent monograph The Unpredictability of Gameplay (London: Bloomsbury, 2018).


Tom Brock