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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

Loot boxes, Twitch streaming and ESports: Looking at research on how gambling and video gaming converge in these arenas

This 1-hour (1 CEU) webinar will provide participants with definitions and insights into the latest research on the convergence of gambling and video gaming. Topics to be discussed include loot boxes, which are virtual boxes found within video games that can be purchased for a chance to win a randomized prize; Twitch, a service that allows people to stream their video gameplay to online viewers; and ESports, a competition where players compete within a video game in front of both in-person and virtual crowds.

At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • identify what loot boxes are and the structural features that can lead to the problematic purchasing of loot boxes
  • discuss what Twitch is and how people who stream gameplay via Twitch can engage viewers to contribute money
  • describe what ESports are and the ways they can incorporate gambling elements within the competition.

Faculty: Chanel Larche is a PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo, studying under the supervision of Dr. Mike Dixon. Her Master’s thesis and PhD dissertation work explores the convergence of gambling and video-game modalities in general (e.g., the introduction of gambling features into certain video-games, and the gamification of gambling games). Specifically, her work aims to determine the implications such convergences have on a player’s psychophysiological experience and problematic gambling/gaming behaviour.

Mark R. Johnson, PhD, is a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. He studies the intersections of play and money, such as live streaming, esports, gamification, gamblification and playbour. He has published in scholarly journals including "Information, Communication and Society", "Convergence", "Media, Culture and Society" and "Games and Culture", while his first monograph — The Unpredictability of Gameplay (Bloomsbury, 2018) — proposes a new conceptual framework for understanding unpredictability in digital games. He is also an independent game developer, a retired professional poker player and a regular games blogger and podcaster.

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