Journal article

Avatar economies: affective investment from game to platform

L van Ryn, T Apperley, J Clemens

New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia | Taylor & Francis | Published : 2018


Video game avatars have been understood as a key site of players’ “affective investment” in play and games. In this article, we extend this conversation to explore the avatar’s role in engaging players with gaming platforms. Through a case study of Team Fortress 2 (Valve Software, 2007) and the Steam platform, we demonstrate the avatar’s function beyond gameworlds as a tool for encouraging certain kinds of play. Team Fortress 2, we argue, is a crucial testing ground for Valve’s experiments with gaming economies via the Steam platform. By extension, we show the importance of video game avatars for encouraging affective investment in platforms more broadly, including Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Pla..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by Academy of Finland

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council [grant number DP140101503]) and by the Academy of Finland funded Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies [grant number 312395].