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Megacorporations: Wealth equals Power - Ropecon 2014

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"The big and evil megacorporations are a familiar sight in both literary and game fiction. But what makes these corporations so fearsome, and how far away from real corporations they really are? In the presentation we'll go through both historical and fictional companies and examine their backgrounds."

A presentation given in Ropecon 2014

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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Megacorporations: Wealth equals Power - Ropecon 2014

  1. 1. Megacorporations Wealth equals power Antti Lax Jussi Perttola Zaibatsu Interactive Oy
  2. 2. Antti Lax ❖ Game Designer ❖ Roleplaying game enthusiast ❖ Game industry entrepreneur ❖ Pokémon Master Introduction Jussi Perttola ❖ CEO, Game Producer ❖ Master of Science (MIT) ❖ Serious gamer ❖ Metal Gear fanboy
  3. 3. 1. Name the Megacorp! 2. What is a Megacorporation? 3. Real World Megacorporations 4. Fictional Megacorporations 5. Harsh reality 6. Last words Flow
  4. 4. Name the Megacorp! http://www.alldaycreativeinc.com
  5. 5. What is a Megacorporation? http://aworldchaos.wordpress.com/
  6. 6. ● “An extremely large and powerful corporation ” - Merriam-Webster ● “A corporation that is a massive conglomerate, holding monopolistic or near-monopolistic control over multiple markets (thus exhibiting both a horizontal and a vertical monopoly)” - Wikipedia Defining Megacorporation
  7. 7. ● “Superpowers of the Shadowrun universe, with the largest corporations having far more political, economic, and military power than even the most powerful nation-states.” - Shadowrun Wiki ● “A huge corporation that sells everything and has government- like reach and powers.” - TV Tropes Defining Megacorporation
  8. 8. ● The term megacorporation originated in cyberpunk literature o Popularized by William Gibson ● Used mostly in fiction, but also recently in blog posts and other unofficial contexts regarding big real life corporations Brief Summary
  9. 9. ● Megacorporations can be part of a: o Monopoly o Oligopoly ● Common business fields: o Information Technology o Pharmaceutical / Biotech o Military Technologies / Security Making Money
  10. 10. ● A combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate group o Usually involve a parent company and many subsidiaries o Large, often multinational, multi-industry companies ● Merges and acquisitions can form powerful companies that can create new innovations by combining knowledge from different fields Conglomerates
  11. 11. ● Term originates from 19th century Japan o Originally a vertically controlled family business that controlled various fields of business o Usually had a bank to support them financially ● The Zaibatsu were cut into smaller companies after WWII when the Americans felt that they had become too powerful Zaibatsu
  12. 12. ● There aren’t currently any companies that operate like the former Zaibatsu (Japanese corporate groups are called Keiretsu) ● Zaibatsu is often used in fiction for Japanese megacorps that have some connections to organized crime or other illegal activities Zaibatsu
  13. 13. 1. Start a company 2. Assimilate others and grow big 3. ??? 4. Profit! How to become a Megacorp?
  14. 14. Real World Megacorporations
  15. 15. ● Founded in 1976, revenue $170.91 billion (2013) ● Business: o Consumer Electronics ● Renowned for: o High-value, cutting edge products o Minimalistic product line o Former CEO – Steve Jobs Apple Inc.
  16. 16. ● Founded in 1998, revenue $59.8 billion (2013) ● Business: ○ Internet ○ Telecommunications ● Renowned for: ○ Collecting huge amounts of data per user ○ Slogan: “Don’t be evil” Google
  17. 17. ● Founded in 1975, revenue $77.85 billion (2013) ● Business: o Consumer Electronics & Software ● Renowned for: o Windows o Founder & technology advisor – Bill Gates Microsoft
  18. 18. Nestlé ● Founded in 1905, revenue $102.2 billion (2013) ● Business: o Food processing ● Renowned for: o Promoting infant formula o Wanting to privatize water o Melamine in Chinese milk
  19. 19. ● Founded in 1962, revenue $468.65 billion (2013) ● Business: o Retail ● Renowned for: o World largest public corporation (Fortune Global 500, 2014) o Huge warehouse stores o Family-owned business (Walton family) Wal-mart
  20. 20. ● Founded in 1923, revenue $45 billion (2013) ● Business o Mass media o Digital entertainment o Consumer products ● Renowned for: o Animations and movies o Disneyland Resorts The Walt Disney Company
  21. 21. ● Founded in 1999, revenue $420.84 billion (2013) ● Business: o Oil and gas ● Renowned for: o World’s third largest company by revenue o The merger of Exxon and Mobil Exxon Mobil
  22. 22. ● Founded in 1901, revenue $14.8 billion (2013) ● Business: o Biotechnology and agrochemistry ● Renowned for: o Genetic modification of plants o Biological patents o Pesticides and herbicides Monsanto
  23. 23. ● Founded in 1.4.14, revenue $??? billion (2014) ● Business: o Video games ● Renowned for: o Biggest little megacorp in the world o Honour, Integrity, Zaibatsu o ??? Zaibatsu Interactive
  24. 24. Fictional Megacorporations http://cheezburger.com/4321637376
  25. 25. ● Multinational or sovereign corporations ● Bending the laws for their own good ● Paramilitary security forces or a private army ● Access to an army of lawyers Tropes and clichés
  26. 26. ● There might be spoilers ahead ● We are not experts on every franchise and fandom, but the facts should be consistent o Please point out any false information we might present ● There are too many fictional megacorps, we might not cover your favourite one, sorry Disclaimer
  27. 27. ● Franchise: Alien ● Business: o Technology supplier o Manufacturing Synthetics, spaceships and computers ● Hidden Agenda? o Experimenting with bioweaponry Weyland-Yutani
  28. 28. ● Franchise: Resident Evil ● Business: o Pharmaceuticals, medical equipment o Cosmetics, consumer products, foods ● Hidden Agenda? o Experimenting genetic engineering and bioweaponry o Owns and Utilizes several paramilitary units Umbrella Corporation
  29. 29. ● Franchise: Tekken ● Business: o Robotics (Jack, NANCY-MI847J) o Tekken Force - mercenaries ● Hidden Agenda? o Creation of an "ultimate lifeform" Mishima Zaibatsu
  30. 30. ● Franchise: Bioshock ● Business: o Genetic enhancements (Plasmids) o Research of ADAM ● Hidden Agenda? o Turning girls into Little Sisters for gathering ADAM o Creating Big Daddies Fontaine Futuristics
  31. 31. ● Franchise: Werewolf the Apocalypse ● Business: o Oil and Mining indistry o Holding company ● Hidden Agenda? o Spiritual, moral and environ- mental corruption of the planet Pentex
  32. 32. ● Franchise: Oddworld ● Business: o Food Processing & Manufacturing ● Hidden Agenda? o Accused of slavery o The origin of the meat unknown o Mysterious disappearing of laborers RuptureFarms
  33. 33. ● Franchise: Shadowrun ● Business: o Computer technology o Cybernetics o Communications ● Hidden Agenda? o ? Renraku Computer Systems
  34. 34. ● Franchise: Fallout ● Business: o Heavy construction (mainly Vaults) ● Hidden Agenda? o Experimenting genetic engineering o Human experiments Vault-Tec
  35. 35. ● Franchise: Assassin’s Creed ● Business: o Computer Technology o Computer Entertainment o Space Technology ● Hidden Agenda? o Establishing a New World Order Abstergo Industries
  36. 36. ● Franchise: Half-Life ● Business: o Scientific research (experimental physics) o Artificial intelligence research ● Hidden Agenda? o Creating great quantities of deadly neurotoxin o Human experiments Aperture Science
  37. 37. ● Franchise: Robocop ● Business: o Consumer Products o Military Tech / Security Solutions o Private Space Travel ● Hidden Agenda? o Privatize Detroit into Delta City Omni Consumer Products (OCP)
  38. 38. ● Franchise: Final Fantasy VII ● Business: o Electric Power o Genetic engineering, space exploration ● Hidden Agenda? o Refines the planet’s Lifestream to create Mako energy o Weapons Development Shinra Inc.
  39. 39. Harsh Reality www.stuff.tv (June 2014 issue)
  40. 40. Megacorps own the Media
  41. 41. Megacorps own the Food
  42. 42. Megacorps own the Money
  43. 43. ● Most of our consumer products and digital services are produced by a select number of companies o Little freedom of choice ● Pooled resources make it easier to innovate and create new products and services never seen before o Google and Apple have changed the way we think about Internet and smart phones Why does it matter?
  44. 44. Last Words
  45. 45. ● While Megacorps make good antagonists, remember that they aren’t usually inherently evil o Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices ● Focus on their products and services o How and why people use their products? o Are there any alternatives? Other options? Megacorporations in RPGs
  46. 46. ● What are your favourite Megacorps and why? ● What makes Megacorps interesting in fiction? ● Are we on the brink of being in a cyberpunk world? ● Any questions for the presenters? Audience time
  47. 47. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter: @AnttiLax @Mehustin @ZaibatsuInc Thank you for your time!

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