You’ve Been Played

Adrian Hon

How games are being harnessed as instruments of exploitation – and what we can do about it

Warehouse workers pack boxes while a virtual dragon races across their screen. If they beat their colleagues, they get an award. If not, they can be fired. Uber presents exhausted drivers with challenges to keep them driving. China scores its citizens so they behave well, and games with in-app purchases use achievements to empty your wallet.

Points, badges and leaderboards are creeping into every aspect of modern life. In You’ve Been Played, game designer Adrian Hon delivers a blistering takedown of how corporations, schools and governments use games and gamification as tools for profit and coercion. These are games that we often have no choice but to play, where losing has heavy penalties. You’ve Been Played is a scathing indictment of a tech-driven world that wants to convince us that misery is fun, and a call to arms for anyone who hopes to preserve their dignity and autonomy.


ISBN: 9781800751972


ISBN: 9781800751989

First published:
September 29, 2022



Adrian Hon

Adrian Hon is the CEO and Founder of independent games developer Six to Start. He is the co-creator of Zombies, Run, an immersive running game which has had 5 million downloads in the United States alone. Adrian previously studied neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and the University of California at San Diego. He is the author of A History of the Future in 100 Objects and has written about technology for The Telegraph. He lives in Edinburgh, UK.