David Nieborg
David Nieborg

Homepage of David B. Nieborg

Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Toronto
Residential Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton


Currently I am residing in: Princeton, NJ

Dr. David B. Nieborg is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Toronto. He teaches at the Department of Arts, Culture and Media and is cross-appointed with the Faculty of Information. He holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam and held visiting & fellowship appointments with MIT, the Queensland University of Technology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the University of Amsterdam. David has a past career as a consultant, a newspaper journalist, and co-founded an award-winning game company. He published widely on the game industry, app and platform economics, and game journalism in academic outlets, such as New Media & Society, Social Media + Society, Internet Policy Review, and Media, Culture and Society. His research has been funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). He is the co-author of Platforms and Cultural Production (Polity, 2021), which is translated into Italian and Chinese. His most recent book is Mainstreaming and Game Journalism, which is slated for a September 26 release with MIT Press.

  • New academic article on social casino apps

    Together with my PhD-student Alexander Ross, I wrote an article on so-called “social casino apps” for the Journal of Consumer Culture. It’s an open access article so you can download the PDF here.

    Title: Spinning is winning: Social casino apps and the platformization of gamble-play

    Abstract: Social casino apps are an emergent genre in the app economy that sits at the intersection of three different industries: casino gambling, freemium mobile games, and social media platforms. This institutional position has implications for the social casino app’s political economy and culture of consumption. We argue that social casino apps are representative of a broader casualization of risk that has taken hold in a platform society. By combining the uncertainty and chance associated with gambling with the interruptibility, informality, and modularity of free-to-play mobile games, social casino apps offer complete contingency in how they are designed and played. Game progression and social networking features are used to normalize the relationship between the consumer of social casino apps and the contingency of their desired form of play. As a result, the experience of risk is no longer restricted to the casino floor and in fact becomes a part of one’s daily routine. This casualization of risk marks the next adaptation of the contingent cultural commodity, where nothing is guaranteed and everything is subject to chance.

    Published On: 12 December 2022