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Jen Whitson's Blog   Expert Blogs


Jen's an assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada in the Sociology and Legal Studies Department and a board member at the university's Games Institute. She's a friend of  Technoculture, Arts and Games Centre (just TAG for short) in Montreal, and an adjunct researcher with the Hypertext and Hypermedia Lab in Ottawa. Her work centers on the game industry and how things like digital distribution, free-to-play mechanics, crowdfunding, and incubators change developers’ work. She is also a faculty advisor at the fabulous FirstPersonScholar site and works with graduate students who also study the game industry.

Jen's been working with the game studio incubator, Execution Labs since fall 2012, documenting their darkest secrets, first as a post doc researcher, and then as a research advisor.  She also collaborates with the Indie MegaBooth community to learn more about potential ways to earn a steady paycheque while still preserving creative autonomy. She's willing to share these secrets, especially over a pint of beer.

You can find some of her academic writing at  Though she's really shoddy at updating that site.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Jen Whitson on Wed, 29 May 2013 08:15:00 EDT in
Does the game industry's love of beer inadvertently create a glass ceiling? In this post, I look at how Execution Lab's difficulty finding female playtesters relates to larger issues about how we in the game industry network, socialize, and do business.

Posted by Jen Whitson on Thu, 21 Mar 2013 05:07:00 EDT in
As the incubator teams prepare for GDC & elevator pitches, I wonder how people decide what to share about their game, and how much they decide to hold back. I talk about larger structures that promote censorship in both the game industry and research.

Posted by Jen Whitson on Fri, 01 Mar 2013 04:50:00 EST in Design
Post about life inside of a Canadian game studio incubator.

Jen Whitson's Comments

Comment In: [News - 12/28/2015 - 10:18]

Hi Robby r nIn response ...

Hi Robby r nIn response to 3 , I agree with your sentiment. That 's why we conducted this independent academic study with all that entails. The IndieMegabooth did not fund it it in any way, nor did they have control over what questions we asked, nor did they stipulate ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/29/2013 - 08:15]

Thanks Dan r nI agree ...

Thanks Dan r nI agree that pizza beer is often a budget thing - sushi playtest sessions may become costly.

Comment In: [Blog - 03/01/2013 - 04:50]

@Paul. I 'm not saying ...

@Paul. I 'm not saying game developers should or shouldn 't have a canon. And I don 't care about literary and film criticism, or some idealized notion of how people should make games. I care about how people actually make games. So, half my week is spent working with ...