[VideoGame] Game Studies: two examples

Via MIT: Technology Review

Hector Postigo examines the economic importance of game mods as a kind of free labor for the commercial industry. He concludes, “From a labour theory standpoint, it seems that modders add a considerable amount of value to commercial games. They contribute in the region of six to twenty-four months of additional time, developing additions to the original code that can range from thousands to millions of lines of code, and earn no salary for their work. Comparing salaries paid to commercial developers with the lack of financial compensation that modders get it is possible to get a good sense of how much value modders are actually adding to the game. It appears that modders working on a mod for one year produce labour worth about 10 percent of a game’s total development budget—about $520,000 a year.“

Bernadette Flynn studies the integration of the game console as a kind of “digital hearth“ into our homes as part of the larger process of domesticating the computer over the past several decades, making deft historical comparisons with the introduction of other entertainment appliances into family space. Her work provides a framework for thinking about, for example, debates about media violence, since a very different style of content is required to appeal in the arcade space and in the family room. Drawing on ethnographic observation of video game playing in family spaces in Australia, she shows how games are being integrated into ongoing domestic activities and illustrates the steps some parents are taking to police its content and use.