Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Yinyi Luo

PhD Candidate, Teaching Assistant

1.07 Clothworkers' Building North

PhD Candidate, Teaching Assistant, Ex-PR Practitioner

Co-supervised by Dr Helen Thornham (SMC) and Dr Nicolas Robinson (POLIS)

B.A. in German Language and Literature, M.A. in Communication and Media.

My current research, underlaid by the question: Why we play videogames, aims to explore players’ relation with videogames in everyday life context.


I obtained a B.A. in German Language and Literature (with a strong focus on cross-cultural communication and Mass Media) from Communication University of China in 2010. Between 2010 and 2012, I worked as a PR specialist in mainland China. Completely baffled yet also fascinated by the audiences of every single PR project I have ever participated, I turned to academia for help, in hoping for critical thinking and theories would help me to untangle the mystery. Therefore I started a M.A. in Communication and Media in UK. It is during that time I came across the now-still-emerging field of Game Studies. As a player who has being playing videogames more than two decades, my passion for more in-depth academic enquiries is reignited by serendipitous turn of event, with encouragement from my then supervisors, Ms Oksana Fedotova and Dr Chris Hogg.

My current supervisors are Dr. Nick Robinson and Dr. Helen Thornham. They do not only offer invaluable supports and guidance, but also by demonstrate the greatness one could hope to achieve in researching videogames and players.

Research Interests

Videogame Players, Audiences of Digital Media, Videogames

Underlined by the question ‘why we play videogames’ and inspired by audience studies and videogame ethnography, my research aims to explore players’ relation with videogames in the context of everyday life through qualitative means. Three particular themes are the focal points of this research: play, gaming skills and motivation. My intent is not in seeking ultimate definitions for the trio of concepts, but to investigate players own understanding of them, and to investigate how such understanding are weaved into, and in turn, constitute their everyday engagement with videogames.

This research attempts to speak to the imbalance in current videogame scholarship: within the growing body of literature that is perceived as ‘Game Studies’, there is a significant lack of attention paid to players – not to effects or affects, but to players as living, breathing, colourful individuals. This research is also an attempt in contributing to the pursuing for a more appropriate and productive methodology and corresponding methods to understand players as media audiences. Participants were invited to play a game before their interviews; the gaming processes were screen-casted, considered as supplement to interview data.

The grand ambition of this research is to contribute to the wider debate of the role Digital Media plays in our current society and popular culture.


COMM1205 Introduction to Communication Research (TA)

COMM1210 History of Communication (TA)

COMM2125 Visual Communication (TA)


Ph.D. Candidate, Teaching Assistant

PhD Thesis

Play, Skills and Motivation: Towards a Player-centric Perspective on Videogames (Provisional)

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