Digital Games Research
ECREA Section
ICA Game Studies Preconf Program

The Power of Play: Motivational Uses and Applications

Pre-Conference for the 63rd International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference, London, UK

17 June 2013, Monday Hilton Metropole, London, UK


Jointly organized by:

  • ICA Game Studies Special Interest Group
  • ECREA Digital Games Research Temporary Working Group

Sponsored by:

  • Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California
  • Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University
  • Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University School of Communication
  • ERC Project SOFOGA / Thorsten Quandt, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Telecommunication Information Studies and Media, Michigan State University

Cost of attendance: Registration cost is $50 per person. Registration fee includes food and beverages throughout the day as well as pre-conference admittance for all panel sessions, the roundtable discussion, and the game design workshop.
Limit of attendees: The Power of Play Pre-Conference is limited to 70 attendees. Please register as early as 3 May, 2013.

Download the pre-conference program here!


Ever since their public appearance some four decades ago, digital games have been considered to be a unique medium that provides a specific type of experience which evokes high levels of motivation: Motivation to play repeatedly to gratify a need, and motivation to change attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. On the one side, this motivational aspect of digital games has led to claims of them being addictive, and evoking anti-social tendencies due to their contents. On the other side, digital games are seen as tools that could radically improve learning and training outcomes, modify perceptions and behaviors, and consequently could be used in various types of interventions. For the player, the motivation to play a digital game, and the motivation to let its contents and features change their real life beliefs, perceptions, and even behavior do not have to be mutually exclusive. Hence, the ways in which digital gaming experience could be shaped to evoke motivation to play, and their various applications for entertainment and other purposes need to be better understood.

The goal of the pre-conference, “The Power of Play,” is to shed light on the motivational aspects of digital games and gameplay, how they relate to the ways in which games are used for entertainment and other purposes, the domains in which they are applied, the challenges in their design and application, and the ways in which they are studied.


Pre-Conference Format
2013 ICA Game Studies Pre-conference incorporates concurrent sessions of panels, a roundtable discussion over lunch, and an interactive workshop:

Concurrent panel sessions focus on various aspects of motivational uses and applications of digital games with various theoretical backgrounds, methods and perspectives. All submissions were blindly peer reviewed by members of the ECREA TWG and ICA GSIG, and accepted competitively. Please see the schedule for details of each panel session.

The roundtable luncheon discussion is facilitated with discussion topics allocated for each round table. Participants are asked to seat at a table of their interest to discuss the allocated topic and exchange contact information with other participants, and finally share their conclusions with the rest of the participants and facilitators. The roundtable discussion takes approximately two hours. After the session, the conclusions will be compiled by interested participants to create a complete model as collectively authored manuscript. Please see the schedule for details of the roundtable discussion.

The interactive game design workshop introduces participants to the practical aspects of the motivational power of play. After listening to a short introduction on basic motivational game design elements, participants collaborate to create a game with learning objectives of their choice by utilizing the design-test-redesign cycle principle of game production. The workshop takes approximately three hours. Workshop attendance is limited to 50 participants, so please e-mail icaprecon2013[at]digital-games[dot]eu in order to secure a spot. Please see the schedule for details of the workshop session.

Pre-conference proceedings will be published on ICA GSIG’s website after the pre-conference and will be publicly accessible free of charge.


2013 ICA Pre-Conference Organization Committee Members
Zeynep Tanes-Ehle, Ph.D., Duquesne University
Jan Van Looy, Ph.D., iMinds-MICT-Ghent University
Thorsten Quandt, Ph.D., University of Münster
Amy Shirong Lu, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Rabindra Ratan,Ph.D., Michigan State University
Mathias Crawford, Stanford University

Special thanks to James Ivory, Nicholas Bowman, and Gerald Voorhees as well as all the dedicated reviewers of this year’s pre-conference for their contributions and support in this organization.