Fostering Financial and Economic Literacy through Play and Games

FROG Deep Dive Panel

Are games especially suited to teach economic thinking and financial literacy (to children and youths, but also to adults), and why? Is the systemic character of games comparable to that of economic systems, or are there crucial differences? Are there examples of games being used as tools of economic critique, and what are the potentials and limitations of doing so? These and other questions will be explored by practitioners and academics at the FROG “Deep Dive Panel” on October 13, 2023.


Karina Kaiser-Fallent

Karina Kaiser-Fallent (*1982), mother of a 6 year old boy, psychologist, studied psychology at the University of Vienna, working at the Department of Youth in the Federal Chancellery of Austria, Head of „BuPP – Information of Digital Games“ ( assessing digital games and publishing game recommendations for children since 2005, offering workshops and articles for parents, teachers, teenagers and children concerning media use and potentials of digital games.

Sonja Gabriel

Sonja Gabriel works as a professor for media literacy at University Teacher College Vienna/Krems (Austria). Her primary focus of research is on digital game-based learning and using serious games and gamification for teaching different subjects at school and university as well as evaluation of various projects for learning with games and game-design approaches. Another focus of her research is on digital media literacy.

Theresa Graf

Theresa Graf studied business education at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. During her master’s program, she already focused on financial education. For several years, she has been responsible for the design and development of various financial education projects at Three Coins. The primary focus of these formats is to teach how to handle money well in an effective and target group-oriented way. Her projects include the development of gamified educational formats and digital learning platforms.

Jörg Hofstätter

Jörg Hofstätter studied Architecture and Industrial Design, considers himself a Edupreneur and Chocolate addict with a passion for plaful learning and Games with a purpose. He wrote various publications on “Architecture & Virtual spaces”, “Games with a purpose” and “Playful learning”.

Currently, he is involved in various European research projects on playful learning and game technologies.

Jörg does not post images of his three sons on Social Media.


Laura Peter

Laura Peter is an Austrian host, interviewer & speaker for public events, online streaming as well as TV productions – specialised in but not solely focussed on gaming & esports.

With her Master’s degree in Digital Media Technologies and over 10 years of experience in the Digital Marketing sector, she forged a link between her two passions, marketing and gaming, in 2018.

Since then, she is actively involved in the Austrian esports scene – be it as a host for several grand esports events, including Austria’s biggest esports league, or as co-founder of the first Austrian Esports School League.

Game-based Career Paths – Perspectives on the Gaming Scene as a (new) Working Environment

FROG Deep Dive Panel

What new career opportunities are emerging as our societies become ever more saturated with games and gaming practices? Do game-based career aspirations call for careful reality checking, or just for a little more faith and dedication? And is the younger generations’ desire to create their own game-based career path an indication of a shift towards playfulness and individuality in the job market, or towards increased anxiety and despair? Join the FROG “Deep Dive Panel” on October 13, 2023 to dive with our experts into these and other questions surrounding “Game-based Career Paths.”


Rafael “Veni” Eisler

Over the years, Veni has evolved into a versatile talent in front of the camera in his home country. He began his humble career with Let’s Plays and vlogs long before the term “YouTuber” became widely known, already making a name for himself in the world of young video producers.

Minecraft, figuratively speaking, laid the foundation for the following years, which were characterized by gigs related to gaming and sports. Whether as a participant, commentator, or host, he always remained true to video gaming. However, even in real life (IRL), Veni doesn’t miss any opportunity: Marathons? Check! High-speed flights? Check! Rally drifts? Check! Veni, what’s next?

Despite all this, Veni is still there daily for his loyal viewers on Twitch while professionally working in the management of a Vienna-based social media agency.

Stefan “Don Esteban” Kuntner

Stefan Kuntner is known with his stage name Don Esteban in the international cosplay community where he is regularly guesting at conventions. After becoming European Cosplay Champion in 2018 he started judging contests at international cosplay events. All his earnings from cosplay go to charity.

Arianusch Rieser

“For every problem, there is a solution, even if it requires time and effort. This principle reflects in my life. I have achieved all the goals I set for myself, including a Bachelor’s degree in Content Production and Digital Media Management, a job as a news editor and presenter at a nationwide radio station in Austria, and two successful podcasts: Rolling Madness ( and Nerdsisters ( As the manager, producer, and host of my podcasts, I continuously strive to enhance and expand my skills.”

Yvonne “MissMadHat” Scheer

Yvonne Scheer is the diversity representative and a vice president of the Austrian Esports Federation. She has played competitively herself and has been an esports referee for several events in Austria over the past decade. Her goal is the promotion and networking of female gamers as well as talking and educating about diversity in the gaming & esports space.


Laura Peter

Laura Peter is an Austrian host, interviewer & speaker for public events, online streaming as well as TV productions – specialised in but not solely focussed on gaming & esports.

With her Master’s degree in Digital Media Technologies and over 10 years of experience in the Digital Marketing sector, she forged a link between her two passions, marketing and gaming, in 2018.

Since then, she is actively involved in the Austrian esports scene – be it as a host for several grand esports events, including Austria’s biggest esports league, or as co-founder of the first Austrian Esports School League.

Celia Hodent

Celia Hodent is recognized as a leader in the application of user experience (UX) and cognitive science in the game industry. Celia holds a PhD in psychology and has fifteen years of experience in the development of UX strategy and processes in video game studios. Through her work at Ubisoft, LucasArts, and as Director of UX at Epic Games (Fortnite), she has contributed to many projects across multiple platforms, from PC to consoles, mobile, and VR. Celia is also the founder of the Game UX Summit, advisor for the GDC UX Summit, member of the Foresight Committee at CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty, an independent French administrative regulatory body). She currently works as an independent consultant, helping studios increase the likelihood of their games to be engaging and successful. Celia also provides guidance on the topics of playful learning, ethics (founder of, unconscious bias, and inclusion in tech.

Celia is the author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design (2017), The Psychology of Video Games (2020), What UX Really Is: Introducing a Mindset to Great Experiences (2021), and co-editor of Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing UX Strategy and Practice in Videogames (2022). 

Implicit Bias and Inclusion in the Workplace

FROG 2023 – Keynote

Oftentimes, humans do not think rationally. We believe that we have an accurate perception, an accurate memory, or that we can multitask efficiently. We believe that we are in full control of our decisions according to our values, that we have free will, that we can understand others, that we are logical beings. Sadly, this is a fallacy. This talk proposes to explore some of the most common cognitive and social unconscious biases that trick us into making bad decisions in everyday life and prevent us from building a more inclusive environment in the game industry, even if we understand the importance of diversity.

Aphra Kerr

Dr. Aphra Kerr is a Professor in Sociology at Maynooth University in Ireland and holds a PhD in Communication Studies (DCU, 2000). She is a PI at the Science Foundation Ireland funded ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, a multi-institutional national research centre (2021-2027). Her books include Global Games: Production, Circulation and Policy in the Networked Age, Routledge, 2017. In 2020 she was elected to the Academy of Europe and in 2016 she received a Distinguished Scholar award from the international Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA). She is an external expert advisor to the Pan European Games Information system (PEGI).

Making and Banking Value in Digital Games

FROG 2023 – Keynote

Physical money is being replaced by all sorts of digital tokens, and the new arbitrators of these digital tokens are no longer solely our central banks. Digital games are part of this wider trend, and have within, and around, them a range of formal and informal economies. Post 2012 industry data reveals that digital downloads and free to play had overtaken traditional retail and upfront purchase in many markets. People are purchasing and playing digitally. While the console sector has always been concentrated, we are seeing similar concentration patterns emerging in other sub-sectors. A small number of major non-European platforms and publishers are capturing an increasing amount of the financial value created by games in emerging sectors, and intermediating significant financial flows. While successful European mobile game development companies and tool makers have emerged over the past decade, they have quickly become targets for acquisition by global publishers from outside of Europe. This talk draws upon data from three collaborative research projects. In the first we are analysing the revenue and data for game companies in a range of countries and examining changes over time in the ownership and market dominance of certain companies. In the second we consider the working conditions of digital game makers. The development of local chapters of Game Workers Unite has revealed troubling differentials in pay between occupations and demographics to add to considerable workplace culture issues. In the third we are analysing the implications of these digitalisation shifts for young people, especially in relation to user privacy, and gambling practices and promotion. In the final analysis I will consider the implications of these trends for European game makers and players.

Jan Švelch

Jan Švelch is a game production studies scholar based at Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences. He is a member of the Prague Game Production Studies Group. His research interests include game production studies, industrial reflexivity, video game voice acting, paratextuality, monetization, and analog games such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. In 2018-2020, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies at Tampere University. Besides research, he has more than fifteen years of experience as a freelance journalist covering video games and music for various Czech magazines, including the Metacritic-aggregated Level.

Tracked and Monetized: On the Interconnectedness of Game Monetization and Player Surveillance

FROG 2023 – Keynote

Freemium monetization and in-app purchases have added a new level of complexity to the relationship between players and developers as well as the task of maintaining and running games. Prior to 2009 and 2011 when the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively, enabled in-app purchases, the dominant monetization model was a one-time premium payment, especially after arcade games had fallen out of favor in the early 1990s. This made the job of tracking business performance of games relatively simple, and developers and publishers did not have to care much about what happened after the sale of software. In-app purchases are generally predicated on online connectivity and establish a continuous loop of monetization, and thus a more long-term consumer-producer relationship. In this context, it is crucial for the game industry practitioners to know what players are doing in the game and how they are spending their time and money. In this keynote talk, I will explore the connections between game monetization and player surveillance, drawing on my two previous empirical research projects about the production context of video game monetization (including the job profiles of monetization-related professions) and the normalization of player surveillance through infographics. I will argue that monetization is driven by data obtained through game telemetries and distribution platforms, but that the industry intentionally obscures this relationship to the public as it is aware of the problematic dimensions of this type of value extraction. At the same time, the fact that game design and game governance are so strongly influenced by monetization-related quantitative indicators can be used by player communities to stage an effective protest against game companies, as was the case during the Dungeons & Dragons OGL announcement by Wizards of the Coast in January 2023.

Nicole High-Steskal & Natalie Denk

Nicole High-Steskal is a cultural heritage expert at the University for Continuing Education. Her work deals with topics at the intersection of technology, ethics, and cultural heritage and she is currently leading the research project LiviaAI ( in collaboration with three of Vienna’s leading museums.

Natalie Denk is acting as Head of the Center for Applied Game Studies at the University for Continuing Education Krems since July 2019. Since 2014, she has been involved in various research projects at the center as well as in teaching. Her research focuses on Game-based Education, Educational Game Design, and the gender dimension of digital gaming culture.

Cultural Mediation through Play & Games

FROG 2022 – Workshop

In this workshop we will focus on play-based approaches in the field of art and culture. The programme starts with an introductory lecture by Nicole High Steskal that will tackle the following topics:

Museums and cultural institutions have long recognized the need to build relationships with their visitors. The increased use of digital tools in daily life as well as changing needs of visitors has required cultural institutions to rethink their strategies in attracting visitors and creating engaging cultural experiences. This lecture will provide an overview of the field of cultural mediation and museum experience and highlight challenges in developing game-based approaches.

After the lecture we will explore the old town of Stein (close to the University) with a guided tour by Helma Strizik. Inspired by the impressions gained during the tour, we will then devote ourselves to possible play-based approaches to cultural mediation and create concepts in a speed prototyping session.

Alexander Preisinger

Alexander Preisinger works as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of History at the University of Vienna. He runs the GameLab in cooperation with Nintendo, which brings game-based learning to life (

Spiel Macht Politik

FROG 2022 – Workshop
(This workshop will be held in German language.)

Spiele sind vordergründig unpolitisch – doch unter der regelgeleiteten Oberfläche verstecken sich Werte, Stereotype und Handlungszwänge, die meist selbstverständlich vom Spielenden akzeptiert werden. Die Schattenseite der spielerischen Freiheit ist der Regelzwang, dem jedes Spiel unterliegt, und anders als in Demokratien sind die Regeln des Zusammenspielens im Spiel nicht verhandelbar.
Spielpolitik und Politik durch Spiele will dieser Workshop in vier Zusammenhänge ‚erlebbar‘ machen: Politik in, mit, durch und über Spiele. Er richtet sich an pädagogische Multiplikatoren, die selbst Spiele als Lehr- und Lernmittel einsetzen wollen. Spielförmige Lernarrangements werden dazu im Kurs ausprobiert und reflektiert.

Nikita Stulikov

Nikita Stulikov holds Bachelor’s (2020) and Master’s (2022) degrees in Philosophy from the Lomonosov Moscow State University. He wrote his Master’s thesis on computer game ontological models. After graduation, he took a gap year to prepare for a Ph. D. research in game studies.

Is there a rise of totalitarian propaganda in Russian game culture?

FROG 2022 – Talk

The presentation highlights a totalitarian twist in Russian politics with examples from the game industry and culture. While it is common for an authoritarian state to depoliticize its citizens, a totalitarian one actively involves them in its political life through ideology. Thus, a brief description of some notable cases in the Russian game industry seems appropriate to approach the issue. It may be remarkable to describe the totalitarian shift in order to be aware of its symptoms, which is particularly important due to the recent reinforcement of right-wing radicals in liberal democracies.
The contribution demonstrates some examples of Putin’s government instrumentalizing computer games to be one more militaristic and oppressive propaganda media. First, a Russian game engine project, a part of the “import substitution” trend, which has emerged with the economic sanctions against Russia. Although the project has been rejected, it indicated the state’s interest in game-specific advantages. Second, a controversial game project called “Smuta” was developed with the government’s financial support. The game has a historical setting in the XVI-XVII centuries, during Western European governors’ intervention in Russia. Third, the promotion of military recruitment Wagner group, which uses synthwave aesthetics (admittedly associated with computer game culture) to convince the community of fans to take part in the war in Ukraine.

All things considered, it could be a totalitarian trend in Russian culture. The government seems to be interested in the potential of games and play for oppression (the national game engine project); it can use computer games as a media for anti-Western propaganda (“Smuta”); and it already uses some game cultural content as an oppressive mechanism to gain ideological power over the community of players in Russia (the promotion of Wagner group).

Jonathan (Jono) Barel

Jono recently left the world of online payments to pursue a career in games. After graduating from Shenkar’s new Master’s program in Game Design, he founded Zero Prep Games with Aviv Manoach, where they plan to work work on projects for desktop, mobile, and print.

Aviv Manoach, Shenkar College

Game Night: Examining group cohesion through cooperative video games

FROG 2022 – Poster

Cooperative games date back to the early days of the arcades. but over the years have grown in popularity as home-entertainment hardware became more powerful and ubiquitous. Previous research has shown how playing video games with friends and family can positively affect social behaviour outside of the game. Other research focused on the bonds within social groups and how strengthening these bonds can improve the group’s performance. This paper examined the effects of team cohesiveness on cooperative play and vice versa by presenting social groups with a cooperative game and surveying them for cohesiveness-related metrics. We developed a simple cooperative game that relies on communication and cooperation. The study could not demonstrate a positive correlation between cooperation and cohesiveness. The data showed that a single player doing the majority of the work in the game correlated with a perception of cohesiveness and overall in-game success.

Alexander Pfeiffer

Alexander Pfeiffer is is holding a postdoc position at University for Continuing Education Krems, Austria. He is a recipient of a Max Kade Fellowship awarded by the Austrian Academy of Science to work at the MIT Education Arcade, USA from 2019-2021.

Case Study: Ownership of Story Elements – Retrospective of the Twitter improv theater piece ‘FSMCOTAARSDG’.

FROG 2022 – Poster

At the beginning of January 2022, Alexander Pfeiffer started an improv theater play on Twitter that developed out of a joke. The rules of the game were simple: tweets were sent with statements, questions or specific tasks that every Twitter participant could answer, but also had the right to continue the story. The only requirement was that the posted content were also shareable media files (mainly images) on the experimental NFT platform NFT Magic. The advantage of this platform, besides the ease of use, was that the cost is in the dollar cent range per NFT created or sent. The project picked up speed unexpectedly fast and a not always coherent but complex alien detective story was spun by the community. The special thing about it, all game elements were owned by the players, even more were created by the players and became collectibles. In this poster presentation a review of the project will be given and it will be shown where the chances and problems for a further use of these mechanics and technologies lie. The model for the narrative form was the Tschauner Bühne, which stands for improvisation theater in the Viennese district of Ottakring.