CFP for a special issue on Local Game Production

Brendan Keogh09:53 (3 hours ago)Reply
to Games

Hi everyone,

Just reposting the below CFP for a special issue on Local Game Production. The deadline for initial abstracts is the end of this month. Happy to answer any questions you might have.



———- Forwarded message ———
From: Christopher Young <>
Date: Mon, Nov 22, 2021 at 11:29 PM
Subject: [Gamesnetwork] Call for Papers: Special Journal Issue on “Local Digital Game Production”
To: <>

Call for papers for a special journal issue *

Edited by Brendan Keogh (Queensland University of Technology), Emilie Reed (Abertay University) & Chris J. Young (University of Toronto Mississauga)

* The editors have received a strong expression of interest from Media Industries, and anticipate a timely review of the complete proposal, inclusive of abstracts selected in response to this CFP. All accepted abstract submissions are subject to blind peer-review.

In media industry studies, accounts of digital game production have often been at the forefront to document and theorize conditions and transformations of how games are produced, regulated, distributed, marketed, and consumed. These accounts have typically taken a wider outlook to examine game production as a global industry that coexists with and contributes to the formation of national industries, including studio and publisher formation, geopolitics and laws, tax breaks and credits, regional regulatory frameworks, and cultural sovereignty. Few have examined contemporary cultural formations of local game production with an emphasis on relational and contextual linkages that shape articulations of place beyond physical scale and geographical space. Arjun Appadurai (1996) defined locality as a series of links between sense of social immediacy, technologies of interactivity, and relativity of context. Appadurai refers to these localities as neighbourhoods; situated communities characterized by their potential for reproduction in physical and virtual places. These neighbourhoods express geographical and virtual aspects of locality in terms of agency, sociality, and reproducibility. 

This special section seeks accounts that focus on relational and contextual linkages that scrutinise the tensions between local formations of game production with global technologies, nation-states, and dominant global industry monopolistic publishers and platforms. We particularly seek analyses that critically address local game production in regions which have seen scant scholarly attention to date, such as South-East Asia, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa. These accounts can focus on urban and economic geography; genealogies of media policy, ownership, and circumvention; online communities and translocal scenes; and the geopolitics of difference in institutional settings and places of circulation. 

We seek perspectives that dialogue with recent research on media industry and cultural work, such as research on creators and developers (O’Donnell 2014; Ruberg 2019), under-the-line workers (Bulut 2020; Ozimek 2019), cultural intermediaries (Parker, Whitson & Simon 2018), creator communities and scenes (Grimes 2015; Oulton 2019; Young 2021), public and regional funding schemes (Sotomaa, Jørgensen & Sandqvist 2019), content creation platforms and digital networks (Foxman 2019; Nicoll & Keogh 2019; Nieborg, Young & Joseph 2020), and regional economies (Bayeck 2019; Kerr 2017; Švelch 2021). We welcome textured, conceptually-robust contributions that examine conditions, sites, and practices of game production in local contexts across varied moments of development, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and circulation.

This special section aims to gather contributions that open new directions for the cultural study of local digital game production. Contributions in the proposed section may address one or more of the following topic areas:

  • National and local communities, industries, publishers, and/or studios in South-East Asia, South America, the Caribbean, Middle East, and Africa.
  • Non-geographic or trans-local communities of practice, such as online scenes, production genres and art practices, remote collaborations, informal networks, and transnational activities.
  • Cottage industries and play economies in local and regional environments that run against established forms of global production and publishing (e.g., gold farming, homebrew games, smuggling and piracy, and cheat software).
  • The relations between local cultures of production and globally-dominant platforms of distribution.
  • Formation of economic and content policies and regulations to protect national and regional sovereignty, like media content regulation.
  • Application of public and not-for-profit sources of funding to provide game companies and creators with financial and administrative resources through programs and tax breaks.
  • Contemporary or historical cultures of local production in scenes, studios, publishers, factories, outsource companies, marketing firms, and cultural events like meetups, game jams, festivals, and exhibitions.


  • Blind peer-reviewed academic articles: 5,000 to 7,000 words, inclusive of image captions and endnotes, but exclusive of bibliography.

Publishing Schedule

  • March 1, 2022: deadline for abstract proposals (including title and 300-500 word abstract, which should outline argument, methods, research contribution, 100-word contributor biography, and sample bibliography).
  • April 1, 2022: notification of acceptance (articles still subject to peer review)
  • September 1, 2022: deadline for article submissions
  • November 1, 2022: editorial feedback provided
  • February 1, 2023: final drafts submitted for peer-review
  • Late 2023: publication


Please send any queries and abstract proposals via email to the special issue editors:

Brendan Keogh (Ph.D.)

Queensland University of Technology

Emilie Reed (Ph.D.)

Abertay University

Chris J. Young (Ph.D.)

University of Toronto Mississauga


Arjun Appadurai. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. University of Minnesota Press.

Bayeck, R. Y. (2019). The Emerging African Video Game Industry: An Analysis of the Narratives of Games Developed in Cameroon and Nigeria. In P. Penix-Tadsen (Ed.), Video Games and the Global South (pp. 211-224). ETC Press.

Bulut, E. (2020). A Precarious Game: The Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry. Cornell University Press.

Foxman, M. (2019). United We Stand: Platforms, Tools and Innovation With the Unity Game Engine. Social Media + Society 5(4). DOI: 10.1177/2056305119880177

Grimes, S. (2015). Little Big Scene. Cultural Studies29:3, 379-400. DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2014.937944

Kerr, A. (2017). Global Games: Production, Circulation and Policy in the Networked Era. Routledge.

Nicoll, B. & Keogh, B. (2019). The Unity Game Engine and the Circuits of Cultural Software. Palgrave MacMillan.

Nieborg, David B., Chris J. Young, and Daniel Joseph. 2020. App Imperialism: The Political Economy of the Canadian App Store. Social Media + Society 6 (2). DOI: 10.1177/2056305120933293.

O’Donnell, C. (2014). Developer’s Dilemma: The Secret World of Videogame Creators. MIT Press.

Oulton, M. L. (2019). The Nuances of Video Game Curation: Lessons from Argentina. In P. Penix-Tadsen (Ed.), Video Games and the Global South (pp. 245-256). ETC Press.

Ozimek, A. (2019). Outsourcing Digital Game Production: The Case of Polish Testers. Television & New Media, 20(8), 824–835. DOI: 10.1177/1527476419851088

Parker, F., Whitson, J. & Simon, B. (2018). Megabooth: The cultural intermediation of indie games. New Media & Society, 20(5), 1953–1972. DOI: 10.1177/1461444817711403

Ruberg, B. (2019). The Precarious Labor of Queer Indie Game-making: Who Benefits from Making Video Games “Better”? Television & New Media, 20(8), 778–788. DOI: 10.1177/1527476419851090

Sotomaa, O., Jørgensen, K. & Sandqvist, F. (2020). Public game funding in the Nordic region. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 26(5), 617-632, DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2019.1656203

Švelch, J. (2021). Promises of the Periphery: Producing Games in the Communist and Transformation-Era Czechoslovakia. In O. Sotomaa & J. Švelch (Eds.), Game Production Studies (pp. 237-256). Amsterdam University Press.

Young, C. J. (2021). Unity Production: Capturing the Everyday Game Maker Market. In O. Sotomaa & J. Švelch (Eds.), Game Production Studies (pp. 141-158). Amsterdam University Press. is the discussion list of DiGRA, the Digital Games Research Association. You can unsubscribe, edit your subscription address, etc. at the web interface:

Brendan Keoght: @BRKeogh is the discussion list of DiGRA, the Digital Games Research Association. You can unsubscribe, edit your subscription address, etc. at the web interface:

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