Playbour

Playbour is a portmanteau, in which combines the word Play and Labour to describe a current and uprising trend in the industries. First coined by Julian Kücklich in the digital gaming industries. ‘Playbour’ is a term that has been increasingly used as we progress further into an economy where the fusion of leisure and work is becoming more and more prominent.

One could argue that this fusion started in the gaming industry. According to Kücklich (2005), Playbour came into terms as modding became more and more popular. The size of the gaming industry is close to surpassing that of the music industry, which amounts to 38 billion dollars, however it has been met with a problem of slim profit margins. This became the reason of the rise in modding or computer game modification, where players would create, basically, their spin off on the original game.

With the talk of Playbour, it is inevitable to talk about the concept of free labor. Individuals are increasingly creating their own type of content (including mods), however they aren’t paid for the work that they have created (Kücklich, 2005). Free Labour and user generated content have become increasingly more prominent in today’s society. Social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook,  and twitter have made it possible for every individual to create their own content and post it to the world. We all enjoy the creative freedom we have in social media and the seemingly limitless boundaries that we have to put content into the world’s ever growing database of ideas.

This is where Playbour comes in and melds with real life instances. It isn’t as far and niche as the gaming industry, butt it is essentially everywhere. To your social media platforms to companies creating spaces that become more enjoyable to office workers.

The boundaries of play and labour are no longer the same. We used to link play with joy and a time of relaxation and labour with hard work and boredom- in a sense, however in society now, it has been a constant reminder that work can also be enjoyable.

It is now why many corporations adopt the gamification technique in to their everyday schedule. Gamification allows the employees to enjoy their work and bring enthusiasm to the all  but boring task they are usually on.

In my opinion it is not how people can change the way they work, but it is how much passion they have in their work. If the employee has  no interest in what they are working on, the employer can only do so much a to change their opinion. However, it depends on how much the employee enjoys creating and making their work. Much like modders, who do their work for free, employees who love what they are doing will be more invested and concentrated in their work,.


Kücklich, J. (2005) FCJ-025 Precarious Playbour: Modders and the Digital Games Industry | The Fibreculture Journal : 05Five.fibreculturejournal.org. Available at: http://five.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-025-precarious-playbour-modders-and-the-digital-games-industry/ (Accessed: 1 December 2018).

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