Play Culture

Research into playware does not only refer to the combination of technology and humanity. It also represents a significant and appropriate change in perspective towards the concept of "play" and how research into play is conducted.

The current research rests on a fundamental assumption about play, which in the first place acknowledge play as an independent phenomenon with a value all of its own and in the second place recognizes the ability of play to attract, motivate, involve and create experience for the players. These are well-known, almost self-evident aspects of play. They are not, however, well-understood or well-defined, either in a theoretical sense or in an empirical sense in relation to product design.

How Playware differs from traditional play research

Playware research differs from traditional play research by focusing on the creation of play and playful experiences, which has rapidly become a vital competitive factor.

This research focus builds on the essential assumption that play is a product of a cultural heritage. Play is, for example, dependent on the players' knowledge of games and rules, which may traditionally have been learned growing up in a cultural setting and being part of a community. The detraditionalisation of modern society means that the cultural heritage of play is ambiguous, which in turn intensifies the demands made on play equipment, toys and media products to inspire and create play, e.g. playware.

New focus: creation of play

We believe that there is a need for the development of a new branch of play research where the focus is the creation of play. This shift in perspective should not neglect the fact that play has effects in the form of, for example, exercise and learning.

It does, however, have clear consequences for the approach that is taken both in research and in relation to product development. In designing products for play, the aim of creating play is given priority over all other aims. As a result, research must first of all concentrate on the ability of products to initiate and maintain play and not on, for example, on the product's abilities to stimulate learning or physical movement. Effects such as these are significant, but they are bi-products, which are dependent on the simple fact that the user is, in fact, at play.

At the center, knowledge about modern play culture are, for example, used as the point of departure for the design of prototypes that can motivate users to interact physically with products from a wide range of areas.