Usva Friman

Digital Culture


ORCID identifier:

The Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies

Areas of expertise
Game cultures; gamer identities; game cultural participation; game cultural capital; gender and games; women's gaming


I am a game culture researcher and a Doctoral Candidate in Digital Culture at the University of Turku. I am a member of the research team in the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies ( and currently working as the Main Research Coordinator for the CoE at Tampere University.

I am also one of the founding members and a current board member of the Finnish Society for Game Research (Suomen Pelitutkimuksen Seura ry) and an editorial board member of the Finnish Yearbook of Game Studies (Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja).

I have been awarded for the best master's thesis in game studies in Finland in 2014 by DiGRA Finland and Neogames, and for the teaching achievement of the year in 2015 by the University Consortium of Pori (together with University Lecturer Riikka Turtiainen).


I study primarily digital games and gaming as a part of culture and society. I am currently working on my doctoral thesis on Finnish women gamers, examining gender in relation to gamer identity and game cultural participation. My other research interest concerns the intersections between game and sport cultures, including gameful and playful forms of exercise and esports.

Selected publications:

  • Friman, U. & Turtiainen, R. (2019). Playing the CrossFit Open 2018. Well Played: A Journal of Video Games, Value and Meaning, 8:3, 33–62. Available:
  • Ruotsalainen, M. & Friman, U. (2018). “There Are No Women and They All Play Mercy”: Understanding and Explaining (the Lack of) Women’s Presence in Esports and Competitive Gaming. Proceedings of the Nordic DiGRA 2018. Available:
  • Turtiainen, R., Friman, U. & Ruotsalainen, M. (2018). “Not Only for a Celebration of Competitive Overwatch, but also for National Pride”: Sportificating the Overwatch World Cup 2016. Games and Culture, OnlineFirst, DOI: 10.1177/1555412018795791.
  • Friman, U. & Turtiainen, R. (2017). From Gamification to Funification of Exercise: Case Zombie Run Pori 2015. CEUR Workshop Proceedings from GamiFIN 2017 conference. Available:
  • Friman, U. (2015). The Concept and Research of Gendered Game Culture. In DiGRA ’15 –
    Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference
    . Available:


I have been involved in teaching the subject of Digital Culture at the University of Turku since 2010, and have taught a variety of courses from basic, intermediate, and advanced level, in the forms of lecture courses, reading circles, project courses, and online courses. The courses I have taught have concerned the subject matters of Digital Culture, particularly game cultures, as well as different theoretical and methodological perspectives related to studying digital cultures in humanities.

I have been awarded for the teaching achievement of the year in 2015 by the University Consortium of Pori (together with University Lecturer Riikka Turtiainen) for the Digital Culture project studies course "Zombie run as gamification of city space" (Zombijuoksu kaupunkitilan pelillistäjänä).

I also supervise master's theses in Digital Culture, particularly theses related to game studies.

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Last updated on 2021-06-11 at 01:28