Financial playthings: Interrogating gamification in retail trading interfaces | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1757-191X
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1928

Abstract

This paper critically interrogates the claims of game-like elements in online brokerages through an interface analysis of three platforms, eToro, Plus500 and DeGiro. The 2021 GameStop Short Squeeze, where coordinated Redditors influenced financial markets through the mass purchase by individuals of ‘meme stock’, was made possible through the availability of retail trading platforms. One popular reading of the events saw it as ‘gamification’ of trading, without necessarily defining how the term is applicable. While we do not find evidence of direct gamification, we offer an explanation of why the gamification discourse persists. The platforms subtly deploying affective grammars linked to playfulness, thus creating a feeling of play without explicit game-like elements. In so doing, they are not just encouraging users to trade extensively, but are calling into question the epistemic distinction between investment and play, which has underpinned the development of finance since the eighteenth century.

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2023-02-22
2024-05-19
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