Key Issues in Economics and Family Perception
It is evident that video games have been present for so long. From small moving bars and dots and monochromatic visual schemes to high-definition and motion-based controls, video games have undergone a dramatic evolution. In addition, based on surveys, it has been determined that over 80% of teenagers own a video game device (National Institute on Media and the Family [NIMF]). Even though they are rather prolific, video games have often faced challenges in one way or another. Currently, the economic crisis has affected the industry in some way, as virtually, every industry has been affected.
Another issue is the negative publicity regarding video games and its implications upon children and families. Therefore, given these issues and in consideration of the evolving nature of video games and the industry as a whole, the aim of the research is to assess the current state of the video game industry amidst the current global economic crisis and also determine whether perceptions and implications of video games towards families have changed throughout the past few years. Facing the Economic Crisis
As mentioned, virtually every industry has been affected by the current global economic crisis. As a matter of fact, even the major video game publishers have been affected by the negative economic trends. Specifically, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Nintendo, and THQ have all experienced fluctuations in the stock market as significant reductions in share value for each of the publishers have been noted last year (Terdiman). Such trends are quite indicative that the video game industry has also become a victim of the economic crisis.
In addition, video game producers and publishers have also made decisions that are similar to other firms from other industries in order to survive through the crisis, including laying off workers. Electronic Arts, one of the biggest video game publishers, have opted to close down their development studio in Chicago which in effect has led to the unemployment of hundreds of individuals (Geddes). There have been more serious repercussions however, as some publishers and developers have gone bankrupt.
Midway, a well known video game developer which once produced highly popular fighting games, has now been shut down due to financial problems (Thorsen). The details present suggest that not only has the video game industry been affected by the crisis, it may also be said that it has been affected in a more serious manner than commonly perceived. Hence, this implies that even though there are some games that still break sales records, the overall success and financial stability of the video game developers and publishers are controlled by a more complex interaction of factors.
Changes in Family Perception Unlike the presence of such depressing trends for the video game industry regarding the economy, the changes seen in terms of public perception especially in terms of the family may be considered as generally positive. It is a fact that in the past and even up to the present, video games have often been associated with negative implications upon children especially in terms of their behavior (NIMF). However, this has begun to change with the advent of more family or group oriented games and gaming systems.
As a matter of fact, current statistical data show that the video games catering to all ages constitute the largest percentage of game sales (NIMF). Specifically, the bond and communication between siblings have often been supported by the concept of sharing games together and engaging in multi-player games (Vangelisti 604). In addition, not only are the communication and relationship between siblings enhanced by video games, but currently, even the parents and the elderly have been also drawn into playing video games together with the rest of the family members.
The proof to this is the presence and market superiority of the Nintendo Wii, a gaming system that mainly targets the family as its audience (Associated Content [AC]). Now popular worldwide, the game system offers games that are mainly based on the concept of playing in groups given a short time frame, otherwise called as party games. Besides such games, adults have become even more enticed to play games along with their children due to the presence of sports-oriented and fitness games that are controlled through direct player body movements, thereby also eliminating the stigma of video games to be inhibitory to exercise (AC).
Conclusion From the discussion, it is apparent that through the recent years, video games and the video game industry in general have experienced both positive and negative changes. The negative changes of course are evidently seen through the effects of the global economic crisis which has led even some of the most well known producers and publishers in the industry to conduct serious cost cutting methods. The positive changes, on the other hand, are apparent in terms of the changes in how video games are generally perceived by the families today.
Gone are the days when video games were only associated with being stagnant and a negative influence towards children that encouraged them to engage in violent pursuits. Video games are now becoming more accepted as a tool for further building rapport within the family as group-based active game play has become widely popular. Therefore, video games have indeed gone through difficulties in the past while the video game industry dealt with various issues. However, due to the ever changing nature of the video game industry, it will certainly adapt accordingly depending on the challenges faced.
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June 2008. 4 Jun. 2009. <http://www. mediafamily. org/facts/facts_effect. shtml>. Terdiman, Daniel. “Is the Video Game Industry Recession Proof?. ” CNET News – Geek Gestalt. 25 Nov. 2008. 4 June 2009. <http://news. cnet. com/8301-13772_3-10107412- 52. html>. Thorsen, Tor. “Midway Bankrupt. ” News at GameSpot. 12 Feb. 2009. CBS Interactive Incorporated. 4 June 2009. <http://www. gamespot. com/news/6204585. html>. Vangelisti, Anita, L. Handbook of Family Communication. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.Sample Essay of Custom-Writing