Social surveillance and Let’s play: A regional case study of gaming in Manila slum communities
College of Liberal Arts
New Media and Society
This article examines the use of Let’s Play (LP) in Manila, Philippines. LP is an emerging genre in which players record, narrate, and broadcast video game play online. While in Western contexts LP is predominantly viewed in domestic settings, our focus is on the distinct manner in which LP is viewed in the Philippines, resulting in unique social architectures of play that coalesce public and private practices. In particular, the arcade-style vending machine, pisonet (a conflation between the Filipino piso [currency] + inter[net]), plays a key role in shaping net cultures within everyday life. Through the pisonet, unique forms of performative play happen in and around the watching play of LP. These types of performativity around LP see intergenerational and public forms of play, spectatorship, and surveillance entangle. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Metropolitan Manila, this study aims to conceptualize how public spaces, screens, and play—through the LP on pisonets—bring about unique modes of sociality and surveillance of care. In doing so, this paper complicates established viewership models of LP, exploring how their manifestation in Manila gives rise to a particular type of Filipino sense of play. © The Author(s) 2019.
Digitial Object Identifier (DOI)
Soriano, C. R., Davies, H., & Hjorth, L. (2019). Social surveillance and Let’s play: A regional case study of gaming in Manila slum communities. New Media and Society, 21 (10), 2119-2139. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819838497
Video games--Social aspects--Philippines; Cybercafes--Social aspects--Philippines