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  1. 1. Video Games The revision Bible
  2. 2. Your Exam Section A Section B Textual Analysis Institutions and and representation Audiences TV Drama Video Games Mr Raymond Ms Paul
  3. 3. Institutions and Audiences  This exam tests you on your understanding of  the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;  the importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing;  the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;  the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;  the importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;  the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;  the ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.
  4. 4. MIGRAIN Media language Media words and terminology Institution The companies that produce, distribute and market Genre How do video games work with genre conventions Representation How do they represent people, ideas and reality? Audiences Who do they attract with and how do they respond to them? Ideology What theories and ideas are surrounded by the media text. Narrative What are the structures and themes?
  5. 5. What is an institution?  A media institution is a company who is involved in producing, distributing and marketing the media.
  6. 6. What is a video game?      Electronic Human players (interactivity) Video device Platforms Input devices
  7. 7. Platforms Platforms are the electronic systems that you play video games on  Mainframe computers  Personal computers Video game consoles Arcade  Handheld devices Phones MP4s Camera
  8. 8. Input devices A piece of hardware you use to control the data and signals to the processing system: The game controller.  This changes depending on which platform you use.  Gamepad Joystick Steering wheel Touch screen Motion sensing Keyboard Trackball
  9. 9. Video Game Production Companies     Sony Microsoft Nintendo Sega
  10. 10. What is an institution?  A media institution is a company who is involved in producing, distributing and marketing the media.
  11. 11. Institution What they do Developers Games are created by development studios comprised of software engineers, artists and programmers who write the code, create the structure and animate the game making them playable for gamers. It’s these developers that are perceived as the ‘talent’ in the industry. Publishers These are companies that are responsible for the marketing and distribution of the game. Console The companies that make the hardware, e.g. games consoles, that games Manufacture are played on –specifically Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and, now that rs mobile phone based platforms are emerging, companies such as Nokia. Distributor A distributor works with retailers (shops, online) to make product available for the consumers to purchase. In the games industry the Publisher usually handles the distribution. Consumer Or ‘the audience’ - anyone that buys, plays, downloads games.
  12. 12. Global Marketing Advantages         Lots of money: profit Cross media marketing World wide audiences PR and Marketing Money on graphics Media convergence: Stars Brand Graphics Disadvantages         Pressure Timings Technological issues Controversy, worldwide media panic Individuality Brainwashing Lots of money on promotion and marketing High expectations
  13. 13. National Marketing Advantages       Long term Sustained consumers DLC No hardware costs (?) Game as art Wider audiences  Casual games  New breed of gamers   Experimental No expectations Disadvantages       Underdogs Competing with global Marketing campaigns Graphics Recognition Less profit
  14. 14. Synergy Synergy is when business deals are created between media institutions. It can occur between two or many more companies. It essentially means that multiple companies contribute to the same product. It allows them to reach the same audience and both profit. It can be through tie-ins (a partnership) or product placement (one company pays another to advertise in their game) It can also be through a co-production , where companies
  15. 15. Synergy: Prince of Persia The film is based on the Prince of Persia games series from Ubisoft (developers).  The game is based on the reboot of series Prince of Persia: Sands of Time which came out in 2003  So rather than create a sequel to the 2008 game Ubisoft have released a sequel to their 2003 game - theSands of Time, with similar gameplay. 
  16. 16. Production synergy issues: Compatibility  There is pressure on the developers to complete a game for simultaneous release on different consoles.  Rockstar were under pressure to make the same game for 3 different formats: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, each with their different problems. It was rumoured that the reason for GTA 4’s delay was that Rockstar were struggling to perfect the PS3 version.
  17. 17. Production synergy issues: Time  If games are released to coincide with the release of a film/TV show, this brings its own problems: a strict deadline that can’t be avoided. You can’t have the Harry Potter game coming out six months after the film.
  18. 18. HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL INTEGRATION Often a single parent company will own multiple companies in the games industry. This is divided into two types of ownership: CONSOLE MANUFACTURER GAMES DEVELOPER CONSOLE MANUFACTURER CONSOLE MANUFACTURER The parent company owns multiple companies at the same stage of the game industry. A smaller company, owned by the parent is a subsidiary. VERTICAL For example Sony owns: •SCE (Console Manufacturer) GAMES PUBLISHER HORIZONTAL •16 ‘in-house’ studios worldwide (Games Developer) •It also has synergous relationships with over 30 other developers (Games Developer) •SCEE (European Publisher) The parent company owns multiple companies across different stages of the game industry.
  19. 19. Synergy and cross media convergence   Synergy: production companies that come together to produce the product Cross media convergence: various types of media companies that come together to market the product
  20. 20. Rockstar  Licensed music Kanye West Ice cube  Tv channels Ricky Gervais Katt Williams  Vice city and Andreas
  21. 21. Technological convergence  Various forms of media technologies come together to distribute the product.
  22. 22. New market  Home entertainment system  Blu-ray  Internet  DLC  Music  Family entertainment  Social activity     Wii sports Mario kart Rock band Kinect
  23. 23. *Important*  The most significant part of technological convergence is fact that all these consoles are online which allows for: Online play Online sharing of ideas Downloading new content and new games  Also it allows for most of the media convergence
  24. 24. Proliferation    A rapid increase in the number of a certain type of product. Lots and lots of the same product, usually because of a certain product becoming popular Change in technology
  25. 25. I-Phone       BIG Hit All companies produce touch screen Android Lots of android that look the same Touch screen Capitalising on success
  26. 26.     Game developers/publishers can create content for numerous media DLC Phone Hand held
  27. 27. Proliferation positives       Innovation for video game consoles Different types of game Games on phone Handheld devices Different types of games (bigger audiences) Complete with the bigger institutions
  28. 28. Negative Proliferation    Spend more on marketing and advertising Competition Pressure to sell: ‘Playing it safe’ Giving the public what they already know Less innovation
  29. 29. Negative Proliferation  Different types of games for different machines GTA4, GTA 9 different versions of FIFA 11  Don’t make a Wii version Excluding a large part of the potential market
  30. 30. Proliferation: Positive for Consumers    More choice Competitions keeps price down Can play games where ever you want Home, phone, facebook etc…
  31. 31. Negatives for consumers  Confusion- what to buy? Motion controller, wii, kinect, ps3 motion Consumers loose interest   Have to buy several machines to get all the different games Can lead to less variety of choice Clones of games GTA or CoD
  32. 32. Media Ownership  Who owns what in video games?  Licence  Brands  Technology; software, hardware  Intellectual property (IP)  End User Licensing Agreement (EULA)  Governing video games
  33. 33. Ownership     Rockstar create the characters themselves They have their own game software called rage Licence for Euphoria: animation engine Bullet: open source physics engine
  34. 34. Ownership    Rockstar had to licence all the songs in their games Approx $5000/song Licence the TV footage
  35. 35. Ownership   Microsoft paid $50 Million for the exclusive rights for the GTA 4 DLC Obtaining media ownership can be used to sell consoles
  36. 36. Media Ownership Publishers pay for licenses from other intellectual properties (Exclusiv rights)  E.g. Fiilms   Bond  Xmen  Spider man  Sport stars  Rooney, tiger Woods  Events  Fifa  Car designs  Gran Turismo  Tv shows  X-factor  Songs  Guitar hero
  37. 37. Ownership    Apple allow developers to use the App software development kit (SDK) for free Apps for Iphone Earn 30% revenue
  38. 38. Issues with ownership         Money = less development Synergy Who owns the game? Who gets credit for the game? DLC: Piracy Social Networking Phones Recognition
  39. 39. What is Audience? Groups of people, large or small, that consume media texts Audiences can differ in a number of ways so these groups may consist of subgroups But how do we categorise audiences into subgroups?
  40. 40. Grouping people  Demographics  Age  Gender  Race  National identity  Socioeconomic group  Psychographics  Hobbies/tastes  Interests  Spending power  Education/ability
  41. 41. SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUPS Socio-economic grouping is a more advanced way of looking at social class. It considers the jobs people do, the level of training they have, and how society views their profession. There are six categories: A- Higher managerial, high level professional e.g. Chief executive, senior civil servant, surgeon B – Middle management, professional e.g. bank manager, teacher C1- White Collar, junior manager, skilled e.g. shop floor supervisor, bank clerk, sales person C2 - Skilled manual workers, blue collar e.g. electrician, carpenter D- Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers e.g. assembly line worker, retail E – No private income e.g. students, pensioners without private pensions and anyone living on basic benefits
  42. 42. Media Panics  Video games influence behaviour  Video games effect young children  Video games degrade women  Video games promote violence  Video games are a bad influence on young children  Do we know the difference between fantasy and reality?  Video games are addictive  Video games cause antisocial behaviour  War games train gamers to kill  Video games desensitise gamers to violence
  43. 43. Uses and gratification  Researchers Blulmer & Katz developed this idea and published their theory in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes:
  44. 44.  Hypodermic Needle Model suggests that information is absorbed into the human brain without thought.  Vulnerable from consuming media texts  Easily manipulated by producers.  We accept dominant ideologies as the norm.
  45. 45.  Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet analysed the voters' decision-making processes during a 1940 presidential election campaign and published their results in a paper called The People's Choice.  Their findings suggested that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through "opinion leaders" who then communicate it to their less active associates, over whom they have influence
  46. 46. Reception Theory:  Thirty years ago, research was conducted on how individuals received and interpreted a media text, and whether their individual circumstances (age, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality) affected their reading.  Producers ‘box audience in categories.  Stuart Hall addressed this concluding that audiences take on their own readings of a text  people are all different and have ideologies
  47. 47. Pro: Empathy  Dr. Kourosh Dini argues that video games can teach us empathy. “One of the big things about many games is you’re interacting with other people in such a way that you have to actively think about what the other people are doing or thinking in order to either play against them or play them cooperatively. Either way you’ve got to be engaged in trying to think of how is this person learning and what’s this person going to be doing next.”
  48. 48. Pro: Cognitive health  Arthur Kramer from University of Illinois recently found that Big Huge Games’ Rise of Nations strategy game improved specific cognitive skills (such as short-term memory) in adults in their 60s and 70s under lab conditions.
  49. 49. Pro: Better than TV  “Video gamers present as brighter, livelier and more interesting people than the average “couch potato.””- says Russel Dawson, who is a teacher and a parent also.
  50. 50. Pro: Better mood  Studies have shown, that games help alleviate common stress that we feel every day. PopCap-endorsed study by East Carolina University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in 2008 found that casual games can improve players’ moods.
  51. 51. Pro: Hand and eye co-ordination There was one interesting but small study by doctors at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York noticed a link between gaming and improved performance in laparoscopic surgery.
  52. 52. Pro: Remedy for intense Pain  Dr. Catherine Butz told the publication, “Research shows a very strong connection between anxiety and pain. Distraction does a great job in decreasing any kind of anxiety that might be associated with the anticipated procedures” There are also media reports about hospitals using video games to help patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  53. 53. Pro: Distraction from overeating  RealGames after questioning 2,700 respondents found that playing video games was a positive distraction from snacking or overeating for 59 percent of respondents, while 42 percent of smokers among the group said casual gaming helped them light up less frequently.
  54. 54. Pro: New way of teaching  “The learning processes behind play, I think, are undervalued,” says psychologist Dr. Kourosh Dini . “When a person is engaged in play, they seem to learn better. … There’s this feeling of mastery that can happen that sometimes kids don’t get to achieve otherwise.”
  55. 55. Pro: Imagination Boost  Sims creator Will Wright once wrote, “…The gamers’ mindset—the fact that they are learning in a totally new way—means they’ll treat the world as a place for creation, not consumption. This is the true impact video games will have on our culture.”
  56. 56. 1. Explain how the industry you have studied is exploiting new technology in the areas of production, marketing and exchange 2. Account for recent changes in consumption and production in the industry you have studied. 3. To what extent are media audiences the agents, beneficiaries or victims of change? 4. Explain the significance cross media convergence and synergy, in production, distribution and marketing; the industry you have studied 5. How does your own experience of consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour the industry you have studied? 6. What impact does media ownership have on the industry you have studied? 7. How are audiences effectively targeted in the industry you have chosen? 8. How do institutions in your industry meet the needs and expectations of the audience? 9. What are the issues raised when targeting audiences in your chosen industry? 10. Discuss the issues raised by institutions’ need to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied. 11. Discuss the issues raised by media ownership within a media industry which you have studied.