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.

Markus Wiemker

Markus Wiemker studied Sociology, Philosophy, and Psychology with the focus on Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Technology RWTH Aachen in Germany. He has been teaching Game Design and Game Studies at various schools and universities in Germany, Austria and Singapore and also developed Game Design curricula for institutions in Europe, Southeast Asia and West Africa. He is currently working as a professor in Game Design at the Hochschule Fresenius, University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany.

The Interconnection between Games & Gambling

FROG 2023 – Talk

This paper seeks to discuss the similarities between (playing) analog & digital games and games of chance (“gambling”). For some researchers, gaming started with pre-religious practices like the prediction of the future through using knuckle bones and developed later into the spheres of the religious ritual, the playing of analog games, and different kinds of gambling activities like playing dice, cards, betting on horse races, lotteries, casinos, etc. But when and why were these three kinds of activities separated, which groups were interested in this divide and what were their motives? It also seems interesting to have a look at the different attitudes of society to gaming and gambling (e.g., “games support learning”, “gambling leads to addiction”), at how the two industries are structured and regulated differently and at the areas in which there are still connections. Furthermore, it will be discussed which kinds of gambling elements (e.g., randomizer, loot boxes, F2P reward systems and betting mechanics) are currently used in the digital game industry and how the society reacts to that.

Methods: historical discourse analyses and a comparative ethnographical approach

Juergen Smutek

Juergen Smutek, a Gamer and Game Designer, has thrived at the intersection of gaming and gambling since 1999. His fascination with Game Theory, Balancing, Human Centricity, Beta Testing and the Flow Zone Concept drives his passion for creating engaging gameplay, both online and offline. Beyond conventional gaming, Juergen excels in hosting innovative gamification events, showcasing his ability to captivate audiences. He left his mark in competitive gaming at the Magic the Gathering 1999 World Championship in Tokyo, representing Austria. Now, poised to launch a Kickstarter board game.

As former Head of Games of win2day he has high expertise in any kind of gambling products. Presently, he researches various Megatrends, fashioning them into Future Conceptions. Outside of his professional pursuits, Juergen is a dedicated father to two daughters and finds joy in photography, video editing, cooking, skiing, soccer, and collecting trading cards. His journey is an inspiring blend of gaming, innovation, and fervent embrace of life’s multifarious adventures.

A Gamer trapped in the Gambling Industry > What I learned from working 25 years in the gambling business

FROG 2023 – Talk

This talk delves into the relationship between gaming and gambling, tracing the remarkable journey of an individual who transitioned from a passionate gamer and game designer to a seasoned expert within the gambling industry. The narrative unfolds the personal story, highlighting the captivating allure of the gambling world that held the gamer’s fascination for a remarkable 25 years. This talk underscores the multifaceted nature of gaming and gambling, offering insights into their convergence and divergence and paves the way for a deeper understanding of the dynamics that drive both industries.

The presentation underscores the critical disparities between gaming and gambling, revealing that although the two may seem synonymous on the surface, their underlying motivations differ dramatically. This distinction centers around the prominence of skill and the rigorous regulatory framework surrounding gambling. An unexpected revelation surfaces: gamblers often prioritize entertainment over monetary gain, while gamers are driven by the desire to win.

A comprehensive examination of the integration of gaming elements into various gambling products. The study provides an expert’s viewpoint on the gaming aspects within Lottery, Casino, Poker, Bingo, and Sports Betting. By dissecting these components, the research unveils the complexities of their interplay and the extent to which gaming principles infuse each category.

Finally we will venture into the future, envisioning how gaming and gambling will evolve by embracing contemporary Megatrends. These include the Subscription Economy, Sustainability, the integration of A.I. and the Metaverse, the concept of Valuetainment, and a societal shift from a currency-driven to a time-centric orientation. These trends are poised to reshape the landscape of both industries, fostering innovation and novel experiences.

Maximilian Stefan Mohr

Maximilian Stefan Mohr is enrolled in the master program Media and Digital Studies at Leuphana University in Lüneburg where he also works as a student assistant at the Leuphana Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture and Society. His main research interests include critical theory, phenomenological and social impacts of media and technology, as well game studies, where Mohr is still trying to find his niche. His favourite games combine artful presentation with strong gameplay ideas, such as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013) and Ori and the Blind Forest (2015).

Monetising Nostalgia – Artificial scarcity of retro games and how it “forces” players behaviour.

FROG 2023 – Talk

Video Game Preservation and access is a topic which only grows in relevance as the history of games gains not only in years, but also in number of game titles and technical progress or change. As studios and hardware manufacturers continuously offer new platforms and games, pursue different revenue ideas or questions of licensing arise, older titles often get left behind, even though there is still, for various reasons, a demand for them. While there may be all kinds of motivations for several actions on the site of said companies, in the end they organise players into different positions of spending, corporate dependency or “legal grey areas”.
As a specific example, this talk will look at the organisational force that Super Mario 64, or rather its legacy and developer Nintendo’s dealing with said legacy, expresses onto fans of the game and players in general. As a very much still sought after and popular game, Super Mario 64 will be representative of many games that might have been lost to time amidst questions of intellectual property, cultural heritage, legality vs morality and profit driven market interests. This talk will pose the question “What can be done about it?” in different ways.

Ralph J. Moeller

Ralph J. Moeller is the CEO of two independent software/service vendors and has been working in IT as consultant, software developer and trainer since 1991. He is married and lives in Vienna/Austria.
His big interest in games led to a postgraduate study of Game Studies which he finished in 2016, to be followed by a study in Game-based Media and Education. He also has considerable interest in Transmedia Storytelling.
In his free time he plays the piano and electric guitar. He also is a vivid collector of books, comics, musical instruments and vinyl records. He has way too little space for all of his stuff.

Monetizing Minors – When kids spend their parent’s income on gaming content

FROG 2023 – Talk

Austrian organization VKI “Verein für Konsumenteninformation” (Austrian Organization for Consumer Information) reports a considerable increase in cases where underage children purchase in-game items for online games (like lootboxes, in-game-currency, weapons, equipment) without actual consent or knowledge of their legal guardians. Some cases go as far as exceeding credit card limits, resulting in severe financial damage for parents and relatives.
VKI, stepping in by trying to defend consumer’s rights, reports that credit card data has often been acquired by children either without consent or knowledge of parents or, in other cases, adults (often grandparents) have given consent as they were told by the kid the card data was only for “age verification”.
Children “borrowing” credit cards, getting adult relatives to enter card information into gaming portals, clueless parents unable to control their offspring’s game consumption; there are multiple cases.
This is a problem.
As naïve as some adults may appear here: For companies to urge minors to buy in-game items for amounts equaling a month’s pay is not legally covered by Austrian consumer laws. Especially children below 14 are legally unable to make purchases of such amounts.
This is where consumer organizations are trying to step in as parents or relatives being affected by such purchases are entitled for a refund – which companies often try to prevent by erecting electronic barriers that seem impenetrable by the average consumer.
This talk shall present multiple cases currently under investigation by consumer organizations like VKI. Also, some real-life scenarios on how gaming companies handle consumer refund requests will be shown (from the presenter’s own personal experience).
A discussion on how damage can and should be prevented will close the talk.

Eduardo Luersen

Eduardo Luersen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Zukunftskolleg, affiliated with the Department of Literature, Art and Media at the University of Konstanz, and a member of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network. His current project, Cloud Gaming Atlas: from Earth’s metabolism to the longing for radiant infrastructures, seeks to conceptualize the continuities between cloud gaming infrastructure and natural systems, highlighting the material aspects of digital media platforms while also taking into account how the games industry is preparing to manage the environmental implications associated with its own escalation.

Bibiana da Silva de Paula (Scientific Assistant at the University of Konstanz)

How to grow crops while gaming: heat as an economic asset of cloud-based infrastructure services

FROG 2023 – Talk

For more than a decade, the games industry has probed distributing games under a “service-oriented paradigm”. Such a model, often described as gaming-as-a-service (GaaS), has been recently deviating from a distribution system based on the release of downloadable titles towards a method grounded on the streaming of game content via the cloud. Under this model, well-known actors in the ecosystem of gaming cooperate with external cloud infrastructure providers. High-end graphic processors are stacked into server racks stored in massive colocation data centres prepared to run computing-intensive games in modest devices. As the most energy-intensive form of gaming by far, cloud gaming, but also other process-intensive activities in the cloud, naturally dissipate a lot of heat. Nonetheless, for stakeholders investing in globally-available computing services, excess heat is not just an accursed climatic share but also a variable under economic scrutiny. In the broader geoeconomics of heat exchange enabled by such “information factories”, temperature becomes a strategic (and arguably scalable) commercial asset. The government of Sweden advertises cold weather as a resource to attract cloud infrastructure providers. In Hokkaido, winter snow is conserved to be used to cool server halls during summertime. In Mantsaala, Dublin and Basel, just as in several other places, the heat generated in data centres by computing-intensive services, such as gaming, is commercialised with local energy providers in order to heat homes.
As the carbon footprint of Information and Communication Technologies gets on par with the Aviation Industry, “environment-friendly” initiatives permeate the roster of sustainable practices offered by data storage and processing facilities: data centres become places to create bee colonies, grow eels and shellfish, or farm leafy greens. By fostering initiatives backed by multilaterally-sponsored environmental programmes and groups of concerned developers, the gaming industry also advocates for greener practices. Nevertheless, as the sector merges with the carbon-intensive metabolism of the cloud, where outsourced heat is business as usual, one could argue that planetary health is not really a priority. This paper inquires about these contradictions while trying to tangle up a dynamic ecosystem of servers, biomes, computers, animals, trade, air-conditioners, video cards, groundwater, and real-time photo-realistic rendering.

Jeremiah Diephuis

Jeremiah Diephuis was born in 1976 and grew up in the great arcades of the American Midwest. After studies in computational linguistics and media, he focused his attention on the utilization and development of games for public spaces. He currently works as a professor in the Digital Media department at the Hagenberg Campus of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. He is also co-founder of the nonprofit organization GameStage and a founding member of the research group Playful Interactive Environments.

Andrea Aschauer (University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria)
Wolfgang Hochleitner (University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria)
Georgi Kostov (University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria)

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: Developing Economic Ideologies for Games about Climate Change

FROG 2023 – Talk

The utilization of some form of money as a collectible resource in games is incredibly widespread, almost to the point of ubiquity. The reasons for this are manifold. Games typically aim to provide an interactive experience based on a potentially real situation, however fictional the premise, and money is usually involved in such situations. Games also require readily understood concepts for at least some of the mechanics to simplify their learning curves, and money provides a certain “sweet spot” in terms of the level of abstraction, representing both a type of performance measure (akin to a point system) as well as a finite resource that serves to balance the player experience.

But what if money is potentially problematic for the premise of the game itself, such as for serious games that promote environmental protection and aim to educate about climate change and sustainability? The complexity of money and economic ideologies in regard to climate change are difficult to address in a game without ascribing to a specific political agenda (e.g. corporations are evil entities), which can easily result in players rejecting the game. And yet the exclusion or even simple concealment of monetary systems can become overly cumbersome and even disingenuous as money does indeed tend to play a role in real life.

Lea Stella Santner

Lea Santner is a student of the HTL Informationstechnologie in Villach and an associate student of psychology and informatics at the University of Klagenfurt. Her interests cover Software and Web development, as well as game engineering, virtual worlds, character design, storytelling, and game graphics. Lea was working with the Smart Grids group at the University of Klagenfurt in July 2023 on the analysis implementation of different text adventure systems. The work involved devising an Italian and German grammar module for the PunyInform library and the evaluation of money systems in interactive fiction games.

Wilfried Elmenreich (University of Klagenfurt)

Incorporating Monetary Systems Into Text-based Adventures

FROG 2023 – Talk

Text-based adventure games, also known as interactive novel computer games, allow players to engage with the game world by typing commands. These games often feature intricate puzzles that necessitate correct actions and the combination of specific objects to progress. Although the concept of money is infrequently encountered within these games, there are instances where a single coin becomes instrumental in operating machinery or serves as part of a puzzle. Incorporating a monetary system into text-based adventures presents a formidable challenge to the genre. The introduction of money can potentially disrupt puzzle complexity, enabling players to bypass cumbersome acquisition tasks by simply purchasing necessary objects. Despite these hurdles, some text-based adventures have implemented functional money systems. Notable examples include Zorkmids in Zork, Buckazoids in Planetfall, as well as Pennies, Shillings, and Echoes in Fallen London. In this presentation, we will delve into the intricate design and implementation challenges associated with introducing money systems into text-based adventure games. We will focus on detailing the implementation process using the Inform programming language. Furthermore, we will explore strategies for integrating the concept of currency into text-based adventures without compromising puzzle-solving intricacies. We will also address the issue that arises when puzzles traditionally have a singular solution while a currency system introduces a multitude of decision points. This leads to discussions about its impact on narrative choices, such as deciding between donating or retaining money, and how these decisions influence the overall storyline.

Ricarda Goetz-Preisner

Ricarda Goetz-Preisner is currently conducting her PhD thesis in game studies at the University of Vienna about inclusive games. By training, she is a political scientist and employed by the City of Vienna, where she has an advisory role on girls and women in digital games. As an independent researcher she publishes in different media, gives lectures and workshops in the realm of cultural studies.

The role of in-game purchases for character customization in games

FROG 2023 – Talk

This talk focuses on spending habits in games – so called in-game transactions – with a gender perspective. In-game purchases refer to the possibility of paying real money for items or different functions in games. Especially selecting cosmetics in a game is a way to customize characters or player´s own avatars in order to change the appearance, for example, when choosing hair color (Ducheneaut et al., 2009) or the gender you play. Identification with the avatar can increase intrinsic motivation to play (Birk et al., 2016) and might therefore be relevant to player enjoyment and performance.
As it is the challenge with all game research, to make any overall assumptions about habits or trends in the gaming world is difficult due to the sheer volume of different games. Depending on the focus that might be put on mobile games, PC or console games, the results may vary tremendously. This talk will give some insights on how in game spending influences different game plays with regard to specific games and how these might differ from a gender perspective.
Hamara et al. (2017) looked into the reasons why players would even buy in-game content. They did an empirical study on purchase motivations and the results revealed that the purchase motivations of unobstructed play, social interaction, and economical rationale were positively associated with how much money players spend on in-game content. The results imply that the way designers implement artificial limitations and obstacles as well as social interaction affects how much players spend money on in-game content. However, 90 % of their respondents were male, so no gender perspective might be applied here. Böffel et al. (2022) looked into cosmetic microtransactions for character customization in the game League of Legends, a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). In their study they analysed whether or not the performance of players with cosmetic transactions was better, which in the end it proofed to be not the case. However the authors assumed that even the choice of gender for their participants, satisfied some of their representational needs in the game (cf. 6). By default most games offer a game character designed as a white middle-aged man, if you want to play as someone else, you have to pay. Reza et al. (2022) did research on how players purchase these forms of representation in games. Participants of color in the study reported to be spending more on average than white participants on skins in the games they play. The authors did not include a gender perspective if these purchases differ between women, men or transgender persons which would have made the study even more compelling. Many of the researched studies show that gender is still not applied as a normalized axes which needs to be mentioned critically. As a research subject, choosing gender by paying for it is after the first round of research a new area within game research as this author noticed that most studies researching in-game purchases do not focus on gender even as an axes in their research.

Birk, M. V., Atkins, C., Bowey, J. T., and Mandryk, R. L. (2016). Fostering intrinsic motivation through avatar identification in digital games
Böffel C., Würger S., Müsseler J. and Schlittmeier SJ. (2022). Character Customization With Cosmetic Microtransactions
Ducheneaut, N., Wen, M. H., Yee, N., and Wadley, G. (2009). Body and mind.
HamarI, J., Alha, K., (2017). Why do players buy in-game content? An empirical study on concrete purchase motivations.
Reza, A. , Sabrina Chu, S. , Adanna Nedd, A. & Gardner, D. (2022). Having skin in the game: How players purchase representation in games.