Play Money
Money Game
Money Game Action
The nights host Armin Ceric
Armin Ceric and Andreas Lange from the Computerspielemuseum Berlin
Armin Ceric and Uke Bosse the skype-kick
Ren Reynolds
Ren Reynolds
Jason Della Rocca
Jason and Ren
Uke Bosse in NYC
Martin Burckhardt with Jason and Ren
Just amazing!

Play Money


Entrance: 18:30
Start: 19:30


  • Jason Della Rocca (Games business consultant)
  • Maja Göpel (Director Future Justice)
  • Ren Reynolds (philosopher)
  • Martin Burckhardt (Author)

Games Culture Circle: Play Money

It’s hard to imagine a world without money. Money is a global unifying principle, the universal signifier. Money opens doors, and shuts them for others. The kind of money in your wallet may determine your choices as a consumer, your status as a traveller, or whether you can pass a border checkpoint. What would our world look like if there was only one currency?

Money grants access to exclusive parts of society, and this is also
true for games. Before we enter the glamour of the casino and start gambling, we have to exchange our money for play money.

Even when we are not explicitly playing for money, games are often based on an economic concept. A zero sum game. The winner takes it all. In some games you draw a wage, and buy real estate. Or guns. Players invest millions into virtual amusement parks or soccer clubs, and game the economy. Some fictional worlds have a higher gross national product than real-world countries.

It’s getting harder and harder to separate the real world from games. Game currencies are traded against other game currencies, and against dollars and euros. Gold farmers are only in it for the money, but they still play. And so are the traders at investment firms who gamble away billions without thinking about tomorrow. For many, this attitude exemplifies what’s wrong with global finance: it simply seems immoral to play with other people’s money. After all, money is a consensual hallucination that we all agree to believe in. But what happens when we stop believing? Are we still in the game?

Jason Della Rocca

Games consultant

"Games represent a rich merger between three overlapping circuits of
activity: design/culture, technology and business. Discussions
primarily focus on the technical and design aspects, often relegating
business discourse to the money hungry suits. That said, it could be
argued that business related innovations have had an equal - if not
greater - impact on the evolution of games as a medium."

Jason is the founder of Perimeter Partners, a consultancy that provides strategic level guidance and expertise to companies and organizations on the boundary, or perimeter, of the game industry. For nearly nine years, he served as the executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), a professional society committed to advancing the game industry and the careers of developers. Jason was honored for his industry building efforts with the inaugural Ambassador Award at the 8th annual Game Developers Choice Awards. He continues to be an advocate for the expressive power of games and their capacity to change the world.
As a sought after expert on the game industry, Jason has spoken at conferences worldwide (e.g., GDC, Tokyo Game Show, Nordic Game, ChinaJoy, etc), lectured at top universities (e.g., National University of Singapore, McGill, University of Tokyo, Penn State, etc), and has either written for or been interviewed by countless news outlets (e.g., Wired, Edge, Nightline, LA Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, The Escapist, etc).
Jason has been a member of the game industry for more than a decade, and has previously worked at IGDA, CMP, Quazal, Matrox Graphics, Silicon Graphics and Price Waterhouse. He blogs at and can be reached via Jason [at]

Maja Göpel

Activist and director future justice

“Money is a claim on access. Access to human labour, to a product, to a service, to a building, to whatever you may come up with. Thus, it is a social relation, even though we tend to call it a neutral expression or storage of value. So those in control over creating money and its distribution are influential on designing the social relationships in the areas where this currency is valid. This keeps us hostage to state-backed money like the financial products that Warren Buffet called “mass weapons of destruction”, but can also empower us to design new versions of exchange – for which local and online currencies are good examples. Technically, we can turn every identifiable thing into money, if we trust in its claim to be valid. What a wealth of opportunity...”

To grasp the diversity of life Maja explores the world as a student and teacher, activist and researcher, traveler and manager. She tackles an issue from 360 degrees and seeks to identify the potential for positive change in a crisis. Maja holds a PhD in Global Political Economy and a diploma in Media/Communications and worked with several non-governmental organizations on the link between ecology, globalization and justice. She lectured on International Relations, writes academic papers and develops campaigns for collaborative action. For the World Future Council she worked on climate/energy issues before launching the department on Future Justice in 2008. With its global expert commission she develops and promotes tools for governance solutions that integrate human security, ecological integrity, and social equity in the interest of future generations. Maja enjoys creating projects and teams that shake up apparent facts and champion shared values. Her particular passion lies in highlighting how worldviews and “objective” science influence behaviour and politics.

Martin Burckhardt

Author and Artist

“I am intrigued by the intrusion of ludic strategies into economy, which in fact turns out to be libidinal economy (or better said "Scherzartikelökonomie").”

Martin is a media author and culture theorist who lives in Berlin. After graduating in German Language, Theatre Science and History in Cologne, he awarded a PhD at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
He began writing in the fringe between language, sound and music, creating numerous audio plays. Surrounded by advanced technology, he was challanged by the question of an emerging computer culture. This question was followed by a longtime reseach project leading to an investigation about the genealogy of the machine.
After founding the editor Kadmos together with his brother in 1995 he started editing several books on the histoy of culture. As his ideas gained wide attention, Martin became teacher at various universities (Hochschule der Künste Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität, Kunstakademie Nürnberg, Universität für Angewandte Kunst, Wien).

Since 2000 he is concerned with games and game programming. This field is a transmedial extension of his artistic work corresponding with his concept of the electric author. Martin designed a virtual museum for the ZKM in Karlsruhe as well as a 3D authoring software. Besides innumerous essays, translations and articles, Matrin Burckhardt published several books that were translated into various languages.

Ren Reynolds

Think tank

“All money is playmoney. The status of any money is based on the number of people that have confidence in its value. All money is socially constructed. The currency used inside virtual worlds troubles us as it makes this fact all too apparent. Especially when those currencies start to be exchanged for hard currencies, goods and services. It starts to worry governments when these flows become, in their view, potentially socially disruptive through creating tax or (allegedly) money laundering loop holes, or the money is used for services a government wishes to hold under light regulation or prohibition.”

Ren Reynolds is the founder of the Virtual Policy Network.
Academically Ren writes about the philosophy / ethics and law of technology, computer games and virtual worlds. His work has included exploring the philosophical basis of property, governance, identity and human rights in online spaces as well as the moral basis of virtual acts. He also writes on the TerraNova blog.
Ren has advised the UK Government, OECD, Council of Europe, the World Bank and other on matters of convergent media and public policy. He is an advisor to the board of the Digital Games Research Association, a topic lead for the IEEE Serious Games / Virtual Worlds Standard group, and has been a content committee member of the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, a review board member of Games Studies, a judge for the BAFTA Games Awards and a member of the European Information and Network Security Agency virtual group on virtual worlds.
As the global head of strategy for Internet, Mobile & Applications for Cable & Wireless Ren developed a Digital Media service portfolio. Ren has also consulted in marketing and product strategy / development for British Airways, BBC, Sky, Publicis; the UK Government and a number of virtual world start-up companies; and has written extensively for IBM on the business application of emerging technologies for strategic advantage.