Researching audiences of computer and video games: methodological approaches and thoughts

Kris Naessens, An Jacobs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)Research


Nowadays audiences are supposed to be in the driver's seat of creative destruction - based on
disruptive technologies - and of the co-creation of new media, content and technology.
Lowering of thresholds for multi media content production, distribution, storage, retrieval and
consumption are seen as enabler for user empowerment, especially in relation to DIY media.
The research on the mutual shaping between these media and the transforming audiences takes
place in different fields like innovation management, human-computer interface research,
sociology and media studies. However these disciplinary visions are being bridged gradually.
In this paper we reflect upon the current dominant visions of the user as innovator in this
changing media landscape. We aim to reconceptualise user categorisations.
New evolutions in the information society (like interdisciplinary research, open innovation,
convergence and web 2.0) go together with substantial changes in the position and influence of
audiences. Different terms and concepts are used to classify the users depending on their
involvement in innovation. Combining micro-sociological concepts about strategy and tactics
(e.g. De Certeau, Flichy) with the classic (but possibly too rigid) Nielsen 1-9-90 classification
leads to a typification of user innovativeness in three main categories: using producers
(prosumers, lead users, pro-ams,...), producing users (bloggers, citizen journalists,...) and
everyday users. For the moment the latter group is perceived as much less important in digital
media innovation, although the active transformation by users in their use of things and
systems is well commented on (e.g. Dourish, Molotch, Shove et al.). To question this
categorisation and compare it with the messy everyday socio-technological practices, mixed
qualitative approaches for audience research, like living lab, probing, projective techniques and
visual methods are applied within our projects to stimulate media technology design in
Flanders (Belgium). By adapting this, a reframing of the role of audiences is possible for the
future developments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransforming Audiences 2: Creativity/Knowledge /Participation. Session Video games and virtual worlds
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2009
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009


ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet


  • audience
  • new media
  • co-creation


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