“It’s [not Just] in the Game”

the Promotional Context of Video Games


  • Ed Vollans
  • Stephanie Janes
  • Carl Therrien
  • Dominic Arsenault


In 2003, the authors of Digital Play made a strong case for the study of video game marketing and its integration in historical accounts of the medium. Yet despite such a call, little has been done to account for the forms, history and practices of promotion relating to gaming. This issue of Kinephanos seeks to address this key element of gaming culture. It builds on and develops our understanding of game promotion and representation at the point of sale and wider advertising contexts, shedding light on the context in which videogames are consumed, and their position within the marketing of popular culture. By focusing on the consumer experience of game playing, studies have run the risk of suggesting that games appear in the public domain with little positioning. But in fact, promotion is antecedent to new products and feeds into the wider experience of awareness as much as it shapes consumer desire and consumption practices, while being a testament to the idealised audience and the positioning of games; and thus of historical, and discursive significance.