Biography in brief

Dr. David B. Nieborg is an associate professor Media Studies at the University of Toronto. He was affiliated as a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of Amsterdam, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 2013 to 2015. David holds a BA and MA (cum laude) from Utrecht University and a PhD from the University of Amsterdam. He considers himself a political economist and has a particular interest in platform economics, the game industry, the military-entertainment complex, social media platforms, and games journalism. David consulted Dutch businesses, NGO’s, startups and government departments, and he co-founded an Amsterdam-based start-up focused on gamification. He made regular media appearances (TV, print, and radio), lectured at virtually all Dutch institutions of higher education, and has given talks, keynotes, and seminars all over the world to a wide range of audiences. As a journalist he wrote for several online & offline outlets and he was a contributing editor for the leading Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Hi research has been supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada .


David graduated cum laude at Utrecht University (2005) on the interaction between popular culture and the military, using the First Person Shooter PC-game America’s Army as a case study. His MA-thesis “Changing the Rules of Engagement – Tapping into the Popular Culture of America’s Army, the Official U.S. Army Computer Game” was nominated for the ‘2005 Dutch National Thesis Trophy’.

June 2011, David graduated again and defended his PhD titled “Triple-A: The Political Economy of the Blockbuster Video Game”, the full .pdf can be downloaded here. His doctoral research concerns the political economy of the game industry and touches upon themes such as innovation, (critical) political economy, business models, platforms, and, of course, blockbuster video games. He was supervised by prof. dr. José van Dijck (UvA) and prof. dr. William Uricchio (MIT/UU).

As a PhD-student, David was affiliated with the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), a research institute dedicated to the interdisciplinary study and analysis of contemporary culture. In 2008, David was a visiting scholar at MIT’s GAMBIT game lab. Nieborg published on games, the military entertainment complex and digital culture in peer reviewed journals such as Social Media + Society, New Media and Society, the European Journal of Cultural Studies, Fibreculture Journal, Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture, the Journal of Games Criticism, and het Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, as well as a number of book chapters, white papers, book reviews and conference proceedings – both national and international. David’s current research mixes his interest in social media and games and focuses on the political economy of platforms, drawing on critical political economy, business studies, game studies, and production studies.


Starting in 2002 as a Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University, David became a Lecturer, teaching introductory courses in media theory, film studies, communication studies, and classes in new media and digital culture. David returned to Utrecht to teach for a brief time in 2010. From 2005 until 2010, David was a Lecturer (“docent-promovendus”) at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Humanities, department of Media and Culture studies. In Amsterdam he coordinated courses, supervised BA and MA theses, and led seminars on new media and digital culture, participatory culture, new media tools, and game studies. Over the years, he gave guest lectures at Amsterdam University College, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University Twente, Hogeschool InHolland, Royal Dutch Military Academy, Technical University Eindhoven, the Design Academy Eindhoven, Utrecht University, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, Hogeschool Windesheim, Technical University Delft, NHL Leeuwarden, Radboud University Nijmegen, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Northeastern University, New York University, Columbia University, Concordia University, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To share his ideas with a wider audience he gave various Studium Generale talks all over the Netherlands. David is affiliated with the Research School for Mediastudies (RMeS), the Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play, and is a proud member of the Digital Games Research Association.


David has been interviewed by all major Dutch newspapers and magazines (Noordhollands Dagblad, De Telegraaf, FHM, Limburgs Dagblad, Marie Claire, Het Financieele Dagblad, Algemeen Dagblad, Dagblad De Pers, Het Parool, Reformatorisch Dagblad, Nederlands Dagblad, BN/DeStem, De Volkskrant, NRC, NRCQ,, DAG, Metro, Spits, GPD Dagbladen, Elsevier, Nieuwe Revu, Vrij Nederland, Management Team, Intermediair, VPRO Gids, Adforesult, Observant, HCC Link, Spotlight Effect, Folia, Ublad, Havana, Brunel Magazine, The Next Web, New Scientist), but also TV shows and documentaries (NOS Jeugdjournaal, RTL Late Night, De Wereld Draait Door, VPRO Boeken, NOS Journaal, RTL Nieuws, Journaal op 3, NOSop3, EenVandaag, VPRO Tegenlicht, Al-Jazeera English, De Rekenkamer) and radio shows (Het Oog op Morgen,, BBC Radio, Radio 1 Journaal, Radio 2 Cappuccino, Villa VPRO, NCRV Lunch, TROS Online, BNN United, L1, BNR Nieuwsradio, Lijn 5).


Nieborg wrote for various Dutch magazines, blogs and national newspapers, mostly on digital culture and games. David started as a journalist at the leading national newspaper NRC Handelsblad and wrote more than 80 feature articles for the daily Dutch newspaper Dagblad de Pers. He was a regular contributor to GMR, Planet Multimedia, De Nieuwe, and a columnist for Folia Magazine,, and David was an editor of Pakhuis de Zwijger’s GameLab.


Late 2006, David founded Innovation Vineyard as a creative platform for media research, consultancy, writing, and policy advice. Nieborg consulted (inter)national firms in various industries on the implications of social media, games and gamification. Clients included Submarine, Randstad, Aegon, Ministerie van Veiligheid & Justitie, Het Instituut, KRO, Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) as well as several NGO’s, startups, and universities.

Looking for a speaker?

Looking for a speaker? David can be booked via The Next Speaker. David gives talks on new media (e.g. social media campaigns, platform politics, new media and politics, participatory/fan culture) and games (gamification, serious games, social games, and game culture). Past clients include ABN Amro, Aegon, Sanoma, Rabobank, KPMG, FNV, Sogeti’s VINT, Industriële Kring Twente, Reed Business, Brunel, Connexys, KREM, Ministerie van OC&W, Vredestein, Provincie Overijssel, Randstad, Jellinek Kliniek, Kinetic, Meeting Professionals International, Provincie Drenthe, RAET, Veiligheidsregio Midden-Nederland, Emerce, Verbond van Verzekeraars, and many others.


David lives and works in Toronto. He’s a cat person who loves dogs, a wannabe game-addict, and loves to ride a bike wherever he goes. You can contact him anytime at to discuss ideas, future projects or collaborations.

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