“Tedious by Design.” Institutionalized Labor of Content Creators in the Game as a Service Model: The Path of Exile Case Study

Mateusz Felczak


This study investigates the work of content creators in relation to developers and fans, focusing on digital platforms in a case study of the video game Path of Exile which functions in the game as a service (GaaS) model. The analysis was based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a diverse group of aspiring content creators and on the assessment of data extracted from distribution, streaming, and social digital platforms. The institutionalized labor of content creators, which is subjugated to the live service model curated by the developers, could be characterized by the notions of transactional play, aspirational boredom, and gaming the markets. These three elements stand for the commodification of play time, substituting actual play with broadcasted footage, and actively shaping the in-game economy, respectively. The study acknowledges the rising importance of content creators as contributors to the financial well-being of a game employing the GaaS model, while raising awareness of the cultural, economic, ethical and health issues associated with it.

Słowa kluczowe: content creators, streaming, labor, live service games, games as a service, digital platforms, Path of Exile, market, play, boredom

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