Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date




Publication Title

Video Game Art Reader, edited by Tiffany Funk






The Unity Asset Store sells amateur designers and artists a promise of being able to participate in an idealized, rationalized vision of how the game design industry operates. However, the Unity Asset Store depends on marketing the content created by amateur artists in ways that require the artists to essentially package their work as labor and to mask their role as artists. This essay views labor and capital in the Unity Asset Store through a Marxist lens, informed by Kline, Dyer-Witheford, and de Peuter's (2003) model of technological, cultural, and marketing forces as "three circuits of interactivity" in the mediatized global gaming industry. This analysis lays bare the complex relationships between developer/seller and user/buyer as well as corporate stakeholder. Though the Unity Asset Store markets itself as a democratic playground, its approach to marketing video game assets operates in this present world order as an empire.


© 2022 Amherst College Press

This book chapter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Original Publication Citation

Ball, D. K. (2022). Artists as assets: Labor and capital in the Unity Asset Store. In T. Funk (Ed.), Video Game Art Reader (Vol. 4, pp. 19-30). Amherst College Press.