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Playing on the Net – Systematising the Phenomenon of “Online Games”

Playing on the Net – Systematising the Phenomenon of “Online Games”

Important components of the video and computer game landscape are “Online Games”, a portmanteau term very generally including all digital games that can be played on or via the Internet. Over the last few years, this sector has experienced an impressive growth in user numbers and revenues, but also an increasing public discussion, for instance, in respect of subsidy for business and production location, demands from media pedagogy or due to general changes in a mediatised society. In public, academic and political discussions, however, the use of the concept of “online games” is, notably vague.
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Project Description

Against this background, the report discusses various aspects of the phenomenon, like genres, products and markets, technology, usage and effects, or the legal framework. It unites various approaches (economic, technical, sociological and jurisprudential) and identifies three overarching criteria (complexity, persistence and player numbers), which are decisive for the form and consequences of online-games.

The expert report thus lays the foundations for decisions within media policy, for instance optimising the areas of application of media-specific legal norms. In addition, it forms an important basis both for further discussions and investigations in various disciplines, like Social Science, Economics and Jurisprudence, and for the public engagement with developments in this area.

Project Information


Duration: 2007-2008

Third party

Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

PD Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt
Senior Researcher Digital Interactive Media & Political Communication

PD Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17-83
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17-77

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