Gamer Impact Lab
The Gamer Impact Lab (LIGA) mobilizes gaming communities to promote behaviors that fight extremism and hate speech and that create a more democratic, fair and transparent online environment, by occupying socialization spaces within the gaming universe.
Supported by Open Society Foundation, OAK Foundation and Fundação Tide Setubal, the project is part of Purpose’s Democracy portfolio and advances strategies and campaigns aimed at strengthening a culture of engagement, transparency and social control in the gaming universe.
The games industry has experienced astronomical growth, both in Brazil and globally. Gaming is now the most profitable entertainment industry worldwide, surpassing that of music and movies. Brazil accounts alone for over 75 M players, which places the country as the 13th gaming consumer market worldwide, and leader in Latin America (BGM 2019).
With such figures, the political world became more attentive to this universe. Beyond economics, digital games are responsible for forming communities, whose characteristics go way beyond entertainment. The gaming universe has turned into a vast environment for expressing ideas, identities and affections. They are also complex digital social spaces where players discuss politics, culture and society.
The gaming cultures became boundless territories, disputed by different groups and narratives – whether democratic or not.
Over the last few years, the world has seen the creation of extremist groups such as the alt-right in the US, the political rise of Steve Bannon and the Hatred Cabinet in Brazil, in addition to an explosion of fake news, as some examples. For more than 10 years, extremists have taken over gamers forums and have been promoting coordinated attacks on individuals, institutions and democratic principles, both in Brazil and around the world.
Organized civil society plays a key role in changing this reality. We must act, and we must do it now. By appropriating socialization spaces within the gaming universe, with innovative campaigns and strategy design, we can help mobilizing gaming communities to promote behaviors that fight extremism and hate speech.
Our goal is helping to boost a more democratic, fair and transparent online environment for the youth.
LIGA is not in the business of game development, but works appropriating gamers’ spaces of sociability, conducting research, promoting engagement and developing campaigns ranging from online forums and live streaming chats to virtual communities and target channels. LIGA’s strategy is based in three main pillars:
We deeply understand the narratives within gamers communities and their behavior in spaces of sociability, such as social networks. To this end, we partner with research institutes and field researchers in order to grasp the narratives, messages, channels and behavior influence circles within gamer communities.
We are bridge builders between content creators, streamers, video gamers and business media, think tanks, corporations and NGOs pursuing to launch and support innovative and playful initiatives created by activists and partners. This way we seek to enhance democratic voices within gamer cultures.
We create initiatives and campaigns that bring together gamers’ communities and make them aware about democratic values and politics - whether it’s through talking about institutional politics in a playful way, promoting debates on social rights in message channels, fighting extremist visions in gamer cultures, or moving audiences to participate.
Although increasingly alienated from traditional politics, young people are becoming politicized and getting information through alternative and supposedly non-politicized and non-partisan channels (Luminate 2022). Nowadays, youth see in politics a connection to the dynamics of polarization, hate speech and intolerance, which are typical of social networks.
Based on our research, articulations and campaigns, we seek to see the gamer communities becoming more participatory in political life, and less afraid of debating democracy. In other words, we hope they understand politics and democracy not as negative concepts, but as part of the day-to-day life of a healthy and participatory citizenship.
In the same way, we wish to assist in the creation of more diverse gaming communities and safer spaces for the authentic inclusion of women, black people, indigenous, and LGBTQIAP+ populations.
This lab is an initiative of Purpose’s Democracy Lab.
for Equity & Evidence