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Paradoxes of technology

Throughout history, culture and society has always been reflected by the popular objects that exist in their society. In fact, history books — and the basic way that history is taught to students — uses the popular tools and gadgets that exist in their time in order to mark that era in history. From the papyrus scrolls of ancient Egypt, to the churches of the Middle Ages, and even to the Internet and computers which mark today’s information age, objects have always been associated with the time and culture that the existing.

In fact, these objects do not only define and understand the basic technology of the time, but also reflect the greater perceptions of society and its day-to-day living in operations. And although looking at our current state, where in there are many gadgets and devices that may mark our society and culture, we could not deny the fact that there are specific objects in today’s society that have become so integrated in popular to our everyday living that understanding them as a cultural artifact in order to make a commentary on modern society then gives us a understanding of ourselves.

In this paper, we shall be using Sony’s PlayStation portable — more popularly known as the PSP — as a cultural artifact in order to understand today’s society. What, in the first place, is the PSP? The PlayStation portable is a mobile playing device that has been produced by Sony.

It remains to be one of the most popular — if not the most — mobile gaming devices and platforms that has penetrated markets not only in first world countries like the United States and countries in Europe — as well as personalization countries like Japan — but also in many Third World countries as well (Arnseth, 2006). Although the target market and age demographics of the PSP has basically been intended for teenagers, the popularity of the device has integrated itself into almost all sectors and demographics of society.

The PlayStation portable was produced by Sony and the company — having a large history of consumer electronics and gaming — continues to hold the rights for this production, distribution, and future development. It was first unveiled in 2004, and unlike many other consumer electronics that have been produced and sold that time, the basic model has still gained large popularity that it has only been recently that new models and modifications have been released in the market.

In fact, the original PSP is still evident today especially in consumer groups because it has not only met the requirements of the larger portable gaming community and handheld enthusiast consumer opinion, but has also been penetrated by aftermarket and third part manufacturers and developers not only for the games in which the PSP was intended for, but also by those manufacturing and distributing accessories and other accompanying devices to the PSP (Cheng, Freeman-Aloiau, Guo, & Pullen, n. d. ).

In fact, current consumer surveys and reports have pointed towards being aftermarket for referrals of the PSP being the most popular and consumer markets today in handheld gaming technology (Hellweg, 2005). Although many other companies and devices have proclaimed themselves to be direct competitors as Sony’s PSP — such as those produced by Nintendo and even mobile phone manufacturers intending to penetrate the handheld gaming market, the PSP still remains to be the most popular consumer device in handheld gaming.

The reason why Sony’s PSP then becomes an essential cultural artifact for our age is that it reflects various qualities of today society and culture that also gives us a peek into the culture of entertainment in society today (Alpert, 2007). In fact, this is the first commentary and cultural reflection that we may be able to extract from Sony’s PSP device. Gaming, in the culture and history of the human race, has always played a central role in understanding current society. In the past, sports was considered to be one of the primary methods for entertainment.

In fact, sports in today’s world is still considered to be an essential aspect in how we entertain ourselves. Such physical activities also play an important role in understanding our culture. However, since the proliferation and development of technology and consumer electronics, the way we entertain ourselves has changed significantly. In fact, since the early 1990’s, gaming has already integrated itself into the market with companies such as Sony, Nintendo, and others like it painting the way (Kirriemuir, 2002).

Ever since then, technology and consumer devices have come a long way, and such gaming entertainment has succeeded itself in the development and popularity of the PSP. Go to any mall, gathering, or even educational institution in school and one would immediately discover the proliferation of the PSP among students. Even working professionals could be caught playing with PlayStation portables during breaks and lunch hour. This merely reflects the need for society to have a form of entertainment even in today’s cutthroat world of business and surviving.

Psychologists and social scientists have for a long time for them to be essential aspect of gaming — cultural artifacts such as chess, checkers, Monopoly, and the like are evidence of this — and the PSP is a modern form of using such technology in order to be entertained (Rosas et al. , 2003). The popular gaming device, although making use of recent developments in consumer electronics and technology, reflects such human need to be entertained and is not so different with respect to the cultural needs and norms from past societies to our society today.

However, a related social and cultural discussion from the analysis above is the shifting from games and entertainment that require large amounts of people and partners in order to perform, to modern derivatives of entertainment which one could do in his or her own. Consumer electronic devices, although can be made and used in modes were in various players may be integrated into the game, have nevertheless evolve themselves into products like the PSP so that entertainment and gaming may be made without the need for other people (Arajuuri, n.

d. ). This social norm reflects two things. First, it is not anymore a necessity to be entertained by using human interaction, but rather, through a reflection using the PSP, individuals may already be able to be entertained using only themselves and their gadgets. The second reflection of this construct is that individuals may now be able to identify themselves separately by which kind of entertainment they choose (LaPlante, Nelson, LaBrie, & Shaffer, 2006).

Remember that the choices for PlayStation portable games are as many as those that are available for nonportable gaming devices, and, like differentiation through music and literary choice books, the PSP allows for individuals to separate themselves from society and convention — through the option of choosing their own games — while at the same time falling into the social norms of having a device and gadget that falls into the constructs of mass popularity.

Although also not anymore directly exclusive to the PSP, the availability of the device to be configured externally as well as internally by using skins, colors, designs, bags, and other peripherals, support the concept of individual behavior while falling into the larger social construct and norm (Richardson, Yu, Lindsley, & Middleton, 2007). Yet another social critique that we are able to extract from the popularity of Sony’s PlayStation portable in today’s society is the ability of certain kinds of consumer electronics gain popular attention.

Usually, a cultural artifact would have a large effect on the population — through the flagship of popularity — by making use of various advertising techniques and methods (Baye, Morgan, & Scholten, 2003). As would be observed by the critical observer, Sony’s PlayStation portable was advertised less as compared to the other popular gaming handheld — had been released during that time. Even among the other products by Sony — mainly other consumer electronic goods like televisions, computers, and laptops — Sony’s PlayStation portable was far less advertised in society and in the popular gaming market through official channels.

It had often been pointed out that advertising plays a key role in the differentiation and sales of a good or service (Ford, Smith, & Swasy, 1990). However, in the case of Sony’s PSP, the advertising method was not through Sony paying advertising agencies large amounts of money, but rather relies on word-of-mouth, blogs, and consumer reports. This action is the product of the PlayStation portable by creating a healthy and effective mix of advertising and aftermarket reviews.

This has been intriguing occurrence since, in the 1st Pl. , the PSP was the first mobile gaming device that Sony introduced into the market. Unlike Nintendo, whose popular Game Boy line of portable gaming has penetrated market share long before the introduction of Sony’s PSP, products that are launched the first prototypes and first generations usually fall behind products that have already integrated a full foothold in the current market (Woodyard, 2004).

However, as many other consumer electronics specialists have pointed out, the cultural impact of the PSP was right for its time because Nintendo has always focused on soft gaming that is family, while on the other hand Sony’s PlayStation focus on hard-core gaming and those that appealed to a specific market of teenagers and even grown-up men. This is not to say that the PlayStation portable was never intended for women — in fact a large number of demographics have pointed towards the PSP being bought by women with a specific gaming selection for that demographic target market (Johnson, 2006).

However, a significant social implication of the popularity of the first-generation PSP as compared to the Game Boy which has dominated the market and has already gained consumer state and popular reviews is that Sony, in the development of its PSP and aftermarket games that were eventually created by third-party manufacturers, recognized that gaming in society has evolved from family oriented strategies to consumer gaming with better graphics, more mature storylines, and more adaptive technology that makes use of available power of today’s microchips.

In this paper, we have pointed out that Sony’s PlayStation portable indeed gives a significant commentary on our culture and society today. However, what might be the further implications of this device in becoming a cultural artifact in understanding social norms in the future. Researching on the recent developments of the PlayStation portable, the paper has discovered that the newer generation of Sony’s PlayStation has been released into the market only recently.

This is not only reflect the expected sales that Sony is expecting from the production, distribution, and sales of the new PSP, but also gives an insight into the consumerism of today’s modern society with respect to its consumption of gaming goods. Perhaps a related research and literature to this paper is a commentary and in-depth analysis of various gadgets and devices that Inelastic demands — meaning that the demand for these gadgets are not significantly affected by the pricing strategies that have been made by the producers.

However at least for the PSP, research has pointed out that if this indeed reflect inelastic consumer demand, even for consumers decorate and have ownership of an existing PlayStation portable. These consumers, although evidently have not yet maximize their happiness and utilities for their PlayStations, are still choosing to buy newer models in order to take advantage of the recent technological advancements for gaming. This, again, is something that speaks greatly of today’s modern culture through understanding it and analyzing it from the mirror of the cultural artifact.

Consumers today are not anymore content remotely have but mostly use cutting-edge technology — and one must consider that this is used for gaming and entertainment, and not as tools to increase human capital, education, or income generation (Mick & Fournier, 1998). The PlayStation portable, being a cultural artifact of our time, gives us relatively powerful insights into the way modern society operates. As has been in the advise of the analysis, discussion, and relevant research that has been cited, the PSP reflects how our society has come to evolve.

And although economists, because of the recent recession, have pointed towards a certain fall in the area of consumer electronics especially in the area for gaming, the PSP nevertheless gives us valuable insight into the way our society operates and functions today. References: Alpert, F. (2007). Entertainment software: suddenly huge, little understood. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 19(1), 87-100. Arajuuri, S. (n. d. ). Taking Advantage of Mobility in Game Design. Arnseth, H. C. (2006).

Learning to Play or Playing to Learn-A Critical Account of the Models of Communication Informing Educational Research on Computer Gameplay. Game Studies, 6(1). Baye, M. R. , Morgan, J. , & Scholten, P. (2003). The value of information in an online consumer electronics market. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 17-25. Cheng, J. , Freeman-Aloiau, M. , Guo, X. , & Pullen, A. (n. d. ). Sony: Maintaining Dominance with PlayStation 3. Ford, G. T. , Smith, D. B. , & Swasy, J. L. (1990). Consumer skepticism of advertising claims: Testing hypotheses from economics of information.

Journal of Consumer Research, 433-441. Hellweg, E. (2005). Will Sony crack down on PSP hacks. Technology Review. Johnson, S. (2006). Everything Bad is Good for You. How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter. Women Lawyers Journal, 15. Kirriemuir, J. (2002). Video gaming, education and digital learning technologies. D-lib Magazine, 8(2). LaPlante, D. A. , Nelson, S. E. , LaBrie, R. A. , & Shaffer, H. J. (2006). Men & women playing games: Gender and the gambling preferences of Iowa gambling treatment program participants. Journal of Gambling Studies, 22(1), 65-80. Mick, D. G., & Fournier, S. (1998).

Paradoxes of technology: Consumer cognizance, emotions, and coping strategies. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(2), 123-143. Richardson, D. , Yu, K. , Lindsley, R. , & Middleton, J. (2007). Detachable controller for handheld electronic device. Google Patents. Rosas, R. , Nussbaum, M. , Cumsille, P. , Marianov, V. , Correa, M. , Flores, P. , et al. (2003). Beyond Nintendo: design and assessment of educational video games for first and second grade students. Computers & Education, 40(1), 71-94. Woodyard, C. (2004). Casinos struggle to find way to deal in next generation. USA Today.

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