The Allure of Games: Toward an Updated Theory of the Leisure Class

Academic Article


  • Gamers spend as many as 2.5 billion hours per week playing games. The gaming literature has relied on the field of positive psychology and the concept of flow to explain why gamers are willing to work so hard in order to have fun. However, many games are played within a social context and hence produce explicit rewards capable of generating status and self-esteem for the individual player. The importance of relative position and the invidious comparisons that naturally take place within a social group can be traced back to Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. Applying Veblen’s framework to the modern world of games enables us to develop new insights into why video games have become an important part of life for many in modern society.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • January 2013
  • Keywords

  • Veblen
  • extrinsic rewards
  • flow
  • socially responsible games
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 26
  • End Page

  • 42
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 1