Gaming culture: how it’s changing across the globe – words Alexa Wang

Playing games is a great way to pass the time, and it’s something that everyone has fond memories of doing. That, of course, has always been the case: from classic games like hopscotch to traditional, heritage-inspired games in nations all around the world, kids (and big kids) have always found ways to entertain themselves using the power of play.

But with the advent of technology and Internet connectivity in gaming technology, things have changed rapidly. Playing games online is now a common activity, and it’s believed that billions of people around the world regularly play. This post will explore the impact the games industry is having around the world.

 

Global employment  

Modern online gaming is a truly global phenomenon, and the supply chain of a game is worldwide. Games of the past were often manufactured in just one or two places: a jigsaw, for example, may have been designed in an office in Europe and printed in a factory in China. But modern video games are much different, and they require a foot in so many different places in order to be created.

A game might be conceptualised in a studio in London’s Soho, for example, while the technological and design aspects take place in an office in Silicon Valley. The packaging might be made in Australia, say, while the creation of the physical game object might occur in the Chinese tech manufacturing hub of Shenzen. One of the positive by-products of this global distribution of video game business is that it allows the value of the gaming industry – which is considerable in nature – to be distributed all over the globe rather than remain focused in certain nations, which occurs in other industries. However, in other ways it continues to entrench pre-existing divisions between the wealthy West and everywhere else.

The best-paid game creation roles, such as the designers, are often located in the USA, Europe or Japan, while the low-paid physical console manufacturing work continues to be in nations like China – where the Foxconn scandal, which saw bad working conditions imposed on those manufacturing the Sony PS4, occurred in 2013.

Changing leisure patterns

One of the primary cultural shifts associated with the rise in internet gaming culture, though, is the way that it’s transformed leisure habits. As the highly popular game products offered by entrepreneur Eric Schaer and his company in Myanmar show, some countries, which until very recently were unused to online entertainment, are now prime consumers of either mobile or other internet-based games – and the trend is showing no sign of reversing.

The location of play is another way in which this manifests itself: the complex nature (and even just sheer heaviness) of modern gaming consoles means that they are almost always left in one indoor location rather than used as portable devices. Given that gamers are now believed to comprise between 2.2 and 2.6 billion people across the globe, it’s likely that more and more people around the world will shifting towards individual, indoor leisure pursuits in the coming years.

Character diversity

The world is becoming increasingly connected in nature, and as a result of trends in migration there’s arguably more diversity in many modern cities and towns than there has ever been. The media is catching up to this changing world, and genres from television to film are now ensuring that they make their character lists as representative as possible.

Gaming is no exception. Thanks to these trends, there are characters from all different backgrounds represented in modern games. Enter the Matrix, Remember Me and Resident Evil 5 all have non-white characters, while the emergence in recent years of leading female characters like Lara Croft show that gender diversity is increasing too.

Globalisation has changed so much about everything, from the sort of movies people watch to the way in which they watch them – and the same definitely applies to the gaming industry. All over the world, gamers are now finding that their favourite pastime is changing – for the better by far. From the much wider range of diversity in the characters of modern games to the way that gaming impacts the amount of time spent in the great outdoors, each corner of the globe is starting to see for itself the way that gaming and online gaming culture is changing – and the profound impact it’s having on how game playing citizens live their lives.

Gaming culture: how it’s changing across the globe – words Alexa Wang

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