Alexander Pfeiffer

Alexander PfeifferAlexander Pfeiffer is recipient of a Max Kade Fellowship awarded by the Austrian Academy of Science to work at MIT with The Education Arcade. His research focus as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT is on blockchain technologies and their impact on game-based education and learning assessment.

Before joining MIT, Alexander headed the center for applied game studies at Danube-University Krems, Austria, for eight years. He is co-founder of the Austrian-based tech start-up Picapipe GmbH and the Malta-based B & P Emerging Technologies Consultancy Lab Ltd. He holds a doctorate and a social and economic sciences degree (mag.rer.soc.oec) from the Vienna University of Economics and Business, a Master of Arts from Danube-University Krems, and an Executive MBA from Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage.

At his time heading the center for applied game studies at Danube-University, he co-created the Professional Master of Business Administration course in Leisure, Entertainment and Gaming Business Management. He has been a pioneer in connecting digital game studies and gambling research. His goal is to talk about this particular part of his research work during F.R.O.G. 2019.

His interests, besides the topics above, are e-sports, media studies, emerging technologies, game studies, saving the world and binge-watching TV series.


Mixed Reality: Las Vegas as gamified theatre and GTA Online in gambling-thrill. About the connection

Lecture,  Sunday, 20th October, 12:00 – 12:30

Caillois (1961) writes that games can relate to the basic character of a society by analysing which games are or were popular in that society. For Caillois, a game consists of four elements: Agon (competition), Alea (chance/luck), Mimikry (simulation/masking), Ilinx (vertigo/thrill). He claims that Agon and Alea are mostly found within modern societies.

The renowned gambling researcher Natascha Schüll (2012) refers in her book “Addiction by Design”. to Erving Goffman a Canadian sociologist who conducted an ethnographic study in Las Vegas (1967). Goffman acted as a blackjack dealer, a role that seemed to him to be the most appropriate observation perspective for his study. For him, playing at the table was a “competition of character”, in which players could demonstrate their courage, integrity, and mastery depending on the situation. The casino game offered an opportunity for people in an increasingly bureaucratic society to become heroes and heroines through “destiny”. The casino fulfilled the desire for “action” in the lives of the players, a place for mimicry and a conscious entry into a staged world.

The “GTA Casino Online” update was released on 23 July 2019. Players now can visit a casino in their favourite digital game in order to place their (virtual) money, at typical casino games and sports bets. The update has become a full success, not only for players but also for streamers. The players now become heroes and heroines through an open-world digital game offering a casino setting. “Mixed Reality” has become real in several respects.

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