The University of Tampere Game Research Lab is a leading centre for multidisciplinary research into games, play and their numerous applications. As one of the oldest and largest research groups solely dedicated to games, Game Research Lab researchers have studied the foundations of games, game cultures, as well as contemporary, emerging phenomena such as pervasive games since late 1990s.
Officially established in 2002, the research carried out at the Game Research Lab is based on understanding of the unique, cultural and social characteristics of play and games, but it is also future-oriented. Indeed, for the more than a decade we have constantly been at forefront. For example we had a research project on gaming in social media the year before FarmVille was launched and one looking at location-based gaming for years before iPhone arrived.
The interdisciplinary perspective that informs our work is situated at the intersection between humanities, social sciences and design research. Being able to research how games and play operate both as specific forms of culture and expression, performance and social interaction, as well as produced and designed artefacts and services, enables us to create innovations and knowledge that is highly relevant for science, scholarship, societal decision making as well as industry.
The full list of ongoing and past externally funded projects currently includes dozens of initiatives that include work that uncovers who plays games, what they play and why, and what kind of forms play and player experiences inform the past, present and future of games. The research includes entertainment games, money/lottery games, role-playing games as well as studies that have focused on casual and dedicated forms in game cultures and principles of game design.