[Air-L] New book On Video Games Industry: A Precarious Game: The Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry

Ergin erginb at gmail.com
Mon Mar 9 09:28:21 PDT 2020

Dear colleagues,

My apologies for cross-listing.

I am happy to announce the publication of my book, which might be a useful
resource for scholars studying the political economy and cultural politics
of video games, critical media industry studies, digital labor, gender
studies, and cultural theory. The price is reduced 30% if you use the code

*A Precarious Game: **The Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry*

By Ergin Bulut

Available from

Cornell University Press:

*30% discount with code: 09FLYER*



*About the book*

*A Precarious Game* is an ethnographic examination of video game
production. The developers that Ergin Bulut researched for almost three
years in a medium-sized studio in the U.S. loved making video games that
millions play. Only some, however, can enjoy this dream job, which can be
precarious and alienating for many others. That is, the passion of a
predominantly white-male labor force relies on material inequalities
involving the sacrificial labor of their families, unacknowledged work of
precarious testers, and thousands of racialized and gendered workers in the
Global South.

*A Precarious Game* explores the politics of doing what one loves. In the
context of work, passion and love imply freedom, participation, and choice,
but in fact they accelerate self-exploitation and can impose emotional
toxicity on other workers by forcing them to work endless hours. Bulut
argues that such ludic discourses in the game industry disguise the
racialized and gendered inequalities on which a profitable transnational
industry thrives.

Within capitalism, work is not just an economic matter, and the political
nature of employment and love can still be undemocratic even when based on
mutual consent. As Bulut demonstrates, rather than considering work simply
as a matter of economics based on trade-offs in the workplace, we should
consider the question of work and love as one of democracy rooted in


Introduction: For Whom the Love Works in Video Game Production

1.The Unequal Ludopolitical Regime of Game Production: Who Can Play, Who
Has to Work?

2.The End of the Garage Studio as a Technomasculine Space: Financial
Security, Streamlined Creativity, and Signs of Friction

3.Gaming the City: How a Game Studio Revitalized a Downtown Space in the
Silicon Praire

4.The Production of Communicative Developers in the Affective Game Studio

5.Reproducing Technomasculinity: Spouses’ Classed Femininities and Domestic

6.Game Testers as Precarious Second-Class Citizens: Degradation of Fun,
Instrumentalization of Play

7.Production Error: Layoffs Hit the Core Creatives

Conclusion: Reimagining Labor and Love in and beyond Game Production

Pages: 222

*Early praise for A Precarious Game*

"I know of no other work that chronicles the life cycle and death of a
creative industry, and in doing so, potentially tempers the rhetoric
celebrating the entrepreneur because it shows that failure is endemic to
trying new things."

*Vicki Mayer, Tulane University, author of Almost Hollywood, Nearly New

"Since the crash of 2008, the power relations that structure digital
capitalism have been further extended and systematized.  In this
provocative, wide-ranging study, Bulut details how social inequalities and
exploitative labor practices carry forward in today's digital workshops."

*Dan Schiller, Author of Digital Depression: Information Technology and
Economic Crisis*

"*A Precarious Game* is an original work that deftly combines a political
economy critique of the inequities and hidden violence of the digital
economy with critical Feminist analysis of labor and social reproduction."

*Paula Chakravartty, New York University, author of Media Policy and

*About the author*

*Ergin Bulut*

Faculty Fellow at Annenberg School for Communication, University of
Pennsylvania, and Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Media and
Visual Arts Department at Koç University, Istanbul.

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