University of Oulu

Lassila, E., Moilanen, S. and Järvinen, J. (2019), "Visualising a “good game”: analytics as a calculative engine in a digital environment", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 2142-2166.

Visualising a “good game” : analytics as a calculative engine in a digital environment

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Author: Lassila, Erkki M.1; Moilanen, Sinikka1; Järvinen, Janne T.1
Organizations: 1Department of Accounting, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-09-20


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to concern the use of analytics as a calculative engine enabling coordination and control for the development process in a creative digital business environment.

Design/methodology/approach: This research employs an explorative field study approach, using interview data from professionals working with free-to-play mobile game development. Drawing on the concepts of cycles of accumulation, accounting as an engine and mediating instruments, this study examines how organisational actors using the analytics in a digital business environment participate in the data generation that accumulates knowledge about and new insights into the desired outcome.

Findings: The real-time metrics provided the means for organisational actors to continually monitor, visualise and if necessary intervene in the creative “good game” development process. Timely quantification and visualisation of user actions, collected as digital traces, enhanced the cycle of information accumulation. This new knowledge resulted in a desire for improvement and perfection, which directed the actions towards the organisational objectives.

Originality/value: This study furthers our understanding of the performativity of accounting as an engine and the user behavioural data trace as its “fuel” in a digital product development. It highlights the role of analytics as a “fact-generating” device, capable of transforming the raw user behavioural data, the fuel, into powerful explanations through visualisations of ideals. The real-time metrics, understood as mediating instruments, enable the generation of new insights and accumulation of knowledge guiding the further development towards the desired outcome, the “good game”.

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Series: Accounting, auditing & accountability journal
ISSN: 1368-0668
ISSN-E: 1758-4205
ISSN-L: 1368-0668
Volume: 32
Issue: 7
Pages: 2142 - 2166
DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-11-2017-3252
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. This is the Author Accepted Manuscript version of the work released under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial International Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0). The final authenticated Version of Record is available online at: