Sunday, July 29, 2007

eSports to be televised on CBS

From the New York Times, CBS is airing edited moments today from the World Series of Video Games Tournament, which took place last month in Louisville, Kentucky.

From geekdom to mainstream:
Still, for most of the last two decades gaming has been considered an odd, insular subculture, the territory of teenage boys and those who never outgrew their teens. But now, as the first generation of gamers flirts with middle age, and as family-friendly game systems like Nintendo’s Wii infiltrate living rooms around the country, video games are beginning to venture beyond geekdom into a region approaching the mainstream.

With mainstream dollars:
The dollars are already quite mainstream. Americans bought about $13 billion worth of video game systems and software last year, more than they spent at the film box office (around $10 billion). Advertisers for Sunday’s broadcast include KFC, Intel and the Marines.

Modeled after the Korean games spectacle:
For gamers, the national model to emulate is South Korea, where video games are one of the dominant pop-culture pastimes and where there are at least three full-time video game television networks akin to ESPN. But for now, they and the rest of the viewing public will have to make do with this first attempt at making games a mass spectacle.

It'll be interesting to see where eSports is going in North America.

For more, check out the article>>

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Monday, July 23, 2007

I <3 Fox News...

...because they make my job too easy. That is, if my job is to look at flawed reasoning in mass media stories as they pertain to causational arguments on the topic of video game addiction.

Take, for example the lovely "Parents Neglect Starved Babies to Feed Video Game Addiction."
Oh, angels in heaven. Mind you, I did appreciate the headline's sophisticated use of words that would have had me weeping in grade three.

Some of the other 'indicators' in the story about the Straws hinted they may have been less than competent to begin with...

Michael Straw is an unemployed cashier, and his wife worked for a temporary staffing agency doing warehouse work, according to court records. He received a $50,000 inheritance that he spent on computer equipment and a large plasma television, authorities said.

Ok, so they hint at the biographies. But then go on the same video-games-are-drugs bent that is all too common.

While child abuse because of drug addiction is common, abuse rooted in video game addiction is rare, Viloria said.

Some reason, that is quickly dismissed:

Last month, experts at an American Medical Association meeting backed away from a proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder, saying it had to be studied further. Some said the issue is like alcoholism, while others said there was no concrete evidence it's a psychological disease.

Punctuated by G.I. Joe style moralisms:

Patrick Killen, spokesman for Nevada Child Abuse Prevention, said video game addiction's correlation to child abuse is "a new spin on an old problem."

"As we become more technologically advanced, there's more distractions," Killen said. "It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children. Whether it's video games or meth, it's a serious issue, and (we) need to become more aware of it."

Whether it's video games or meth. For cryin' out loud.

Well, time for me to go do some meth.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

One life: Korean online gaming

Today, Jun Sok Huhh at shares a translated cartoon with us regarding a humorous and sarcastic look at online gaming in Korea.

The entry, titled, "That's OK. We have another life in the game!" addresses the 1997 financial crisis in South Korea and its impact on middle-aged office workers in Korea.
From what I see, the cartoon shows an executive wondering where one of his recently ousted underlings has gone, while showing satisfaction at having gotten rid of that worker. To his chagrin, he finds the worker at a computer working hard and seemingly occupying a high post in the MMORPG Lineage.

The significance, as Huhh and the cartoon allude to, is the financial crisis acting as a catalyst in the widespread uptake of online gaming. In Malcom Gladwell's terms, it served as the 'tipping point' that created the critical mass needed to vault online gaming into mainstream Korean culture. Coincidentally, one of my journal papers (currently in process) reports that the situation is also the culmination of a number of government-led initiatives that have wired the country with broadband Internet and subsequent promotion of the games industry.

The gaming 'revolution' in Korea was brought about by many externalities. This cartoon is a good thought-piece on just one of them.

As I said in a past Terra Nova entry, "it's not a first life or second life, but one life." Everything we do, online or offline, is intersubjectively linked with our identity as ourSelves.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Back from Sydney

I'm back from a brief jaunt in the land Down Under.
Today I'm working on crossing a few things off the list, but for now share just one of the many discoveries:

Koalas. They really are that cute.

More soon. In the meantime, please feel free to peruse some of the pics on my Flickr set, the majority of which are courtesy of Tom.

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