Mitigating Exploitation

Guo Freeman, Jeffrey Bardzell, Shaowen Bardzell, Nathan McNeese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Much HCI research seeks to contribute to technological agendas that lead to more just and participative labor relations and practices, yet that research also raises concerns about forms of exploitation associated with them. In this paper, we explore how U.S. independent [indie] game developers' socio-technological practices inject forms of labor, capital, and production into the game development industry. Our findings highlight that indie game development 1) seeks to promote an alternative to business models of game development that depend on free and immaterial labor; 2) builds offline networks at different scales to develop collectives that can sustain their production; and 3) emphasizes how distributed collaboration, co-creation, and the use of free tools and middleware make game production more widely accessible. The research contributes to HCI research that seeks to explicate and mitigate emerging forms of exploitation enabled by new technologies and processes. Our critical review of indie developers' practices and strategies also extends the current conceptualization of labor and technology in CSCW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
StatePublished - May 28 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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