Location-Based Gaming Apps and the Labour of Play

  • Dale Leorke


This chapter consists of case studies of three location-based gaming apps: Shadow Cities (Grey Area, 2011), Life is Magic (Red Robot Labs, 2013), and Pokémon Go (Niantic Inc., 2016). Through an analysis of their business model, my own auto-ethnographic account of these games, and an interview with one of Shadow Cities’ designers, I examine these games’ potential to engage players with the public spaces around them through the game. I argue that their players’ experiences are closely entangled within the imperatives of the app ecology, leading to a diminished potential for public engagement compared with earlier location-based games. Instead, I contend they reflect the growing conflation of work and play through ‘gamification’ and the digital game industry’s ‘capture’ of play.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale Leorke
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre of Excellence in Game Culture StudiesUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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