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Playful finance: Gamification and intermediation in FinTech economies

Lai, Karen P.Y.; Langley, Paul

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This paper examines how digital gamification techniques, which incorporate video gaming elements (rather than full-fledged games) into apps, are reshaping the logics and practices of intermediation that are core to FinTech economies. First, we argue gamification brings into view socio-technical knowledges, such as behavioral science, digital marketing, and user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, which are increasingly important to constituting FinTech intermediation. Second, gamification features specialist firms that are presently overlooked by research into the roles of changing advanced producer services (APS) complexes in FinTech and financial intermediation. Third, gamified apps are deployed to advance competitive intermediary positions which playfully capture user attention and configure user behavior, contrasting with FinTech strategies that typically promise users’ ease of access, reduced transaction costs and personalized products and services. We illustrate these arguments through three firm-level case studies from across Asia, where the development of gamified FinTech apps has been especially prominent.


Lai, K. P., & Langley, P. (2024). Playful finance: Gamification and intermediation in FinTech economies. Geoforum, 151, Article 103848.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 30, 2023
Online Publication Date Sep 19, 2023
Publication Date May 17, 2024
Deposit Date Nov 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2023
Journal Geoforum
Print ISSN 0016-7185
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 151
Article Number 103848
Public URL


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