Universitas Indonesia Conferences, 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

Font Size: 
Push Rank and Keyboard Warrior: Violence, Luddism, and Free-Labour of Contemporary Indonesian Gaming Culture
Irfan Nugraha, Febrian Febrian

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 126
Date: 2019-07-23 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-18


This paper wants to explain the relations on violence, luddism, and free-labor at mobile gaming culture. Indonesia is #16 worldwide in terms of game revenues (Newzoo.com), in 2017, approximately 43.7 million gamers in Indonesia, spending of $880 Million.  However, in the midst of mobile gaming boom, especially Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre as our focus, violence behavior becomes a part of technology consuming practice at mobile gaming platform. Based on our survey and qualitative research, violence is not only personal catharsis related to game situation, but also reflecting the gamers’ everyday life tension. Censorship and punishment mechanism by developers failed to address certain negative play or what gamers describe as digital toxic and troll. As a mechanism failed, some of gamers uses the violence as an instrument to vandalize gameplay environment. They imagine, their activities someday would collapse certain developers and made pivotal turn for the rise of gamers as main parties in mobile gaming industries. These movement seems revitalize the ideas of luddism. The idea is to fight the game environment to better suits them. However, the gamers’ dream seems far from being realized as their effort using a violence behavior as instrument to destroying developer, ironically, reversed by developer as a part of the game itself. Gamers become their free-labor because they also help developers to continue updating the game (longevity) and exploits the way to force gamers spend more for in-app purchases (productivity). Between being free-labor and players, gamers only have two choices: consuming (and purchasing) or uninstalling the game, leaving them no win-win conditions.