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Reader Comments (9)

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 11:27AM (Unverified) said

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Tateru, you're pure genius. On this article you hit exactly on the spot, and it deserves a larger audience than Massively :)

Wait...

That's exactly what you're not going to get!!

*ducks and looks behind her back for a mainstream reporter with a microphone on one hand and a Bible on the other*

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 12:05PM (Unverified) said

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Let me explain why you're wrong.

Despite the dominance of TV, newspapers, radio and magazines remain profitable -- just not profitable enough for share holders. Meanwhile, bloggers are being picked up by media corporations and being assimilated into the media machine. Not to mention the development of hundreds of thousands of niche e-mail publications with subscription models. And let's not forget the adaptation of newspaper and television to online formats.

The MMO industry is simply another venue to enter the field. The games generally don't threaten television at all. It's simple enough to both watch television or listen to the radio while playing a game. I'd wager most people do this now. On the print media end, there is little, if any, local coverage within any MMO. (How many people with satellite TV still get cable for the local news?) I also don't suspect people will stop wanting to read in-depth coverage provided by many newspapers and magazines.

MMOs are painted in a curious light because they're new, and not because of some mass conspiracy theory. The so-called mass media -- ranging from entertainment to news -- views the system as dangerously unpredictable right now. However, it is idiocy to believe a new outlet for profits is a problem for an industry that is notorious for assimilating new systems.

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 12:49PM Ayenn said

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As I see it, the question is: will the MMO industry be subsumed into the mass media complex or is the MMO going to develop into the over arching media type that supports the internet directly. What I mean by this is that the internet and MMORPGs reflect Net values and culture (which still have not truly come into being as much as we would like to think... we are rogues for all the reasons presented in this article), values and culture that are not a part of mass culture.

The MMORPG as well as the internet are still very young. And, like radio and TV, before them, its target audience is a fraction of the global population. Unlike Radio and TV the hardware required is expensive (a problem that is starting to reduce in importance) and, more importantly, is very sensitive to environment (raw sand or dirt and water don’t mix well with computers). Additionally a computer requires an intense technical/industrial infrastructure for maintenance as well as a level of tech savvy we all take for granted.

Beyond that all things internet are very homogonous, culturally. There is a supreme focus on the net on western culture, especially American culture. Yes, there are Net outlets in every country “on the grid” but they emulate western values rather than local or regional values (Hollywood films do not do as well as Ballywood films in India which does have net access... there is not a WoW comparable MMORPG in India... yet). Once the diverse cultures of the world adopt The Net and infuse it with what is important to them, once the tech spreads and takes hold we will then see how the MMORPG will fit.

What I particularly find interesting about this process is that mass media (especially TV, radio, and the movie industry) tends to adapt to the up and coming tech. radio broadcasting companies “re-branded” themselves to take advantage of TV, but it seems TV and the movie industry are not compatible with The Net. The outcome is fairly obvious. Either mass media will absorb the net (we can see the efforts to do this in things like the struggle for property rights management) or The Net will dominate and take control of current mass media types.

Current mass media will fight the absorption into The Net framework. The reason is current mass media can target and hold an audience with minimal competition. Current mass media is founded on democratic Capitalism where capitalism is dominant. As was said, the capitol and the product are the consumers.

The Net, on the other hand, also founded on Democratic Capitalism, is more democratic. The “voting dollar” is far more powerful on The Net due to a faster turnaround on profit. To current mass media this is terrifying! As more and more users “vote” for MMORPGs mass media loses that many more votes. This is crucial for mass media (mass advertising) because every effort to incorporate traditional or semi traditional advertising into the MMO genre has been met with a resounding negative vote.

This ability to make curial choices, to have a “vote” visibly affect entertainment is the point of contention and, when the global vote increases in number and diversity, it will not only be current mass media that will be voted against, it will also be government. Government in general is not adopting The Net because it is government that controls mass media (and I am not talking about conspiracy theory control... it’s regulatory and profit encouragement through limiting or narrowing the media playing-field). Hence the effort of the United States government in attaining control of the net and the effort on the part of mass media to vilify MMOs and The Net in general.

When we talk about the struggle of The Net and MMOs against mass media we are actually talking about a lot more than it seems. Not to be overly dramatic, but, the “Invisible War” can, and often does, take on attributes akin to an “invisible rebellion”. Net preference is a very real rejection of the status quo. In the end what will become the dominant mode of media? The answer should be obvious. By reading this instead of a newspaper or even a digital newspaper outlet you are voting loud and clear... and more people are casting similar votes every day.

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 2:22PM (Unverified) said

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Tat, I think you're half-right here -- the mass news media are selling fear, but they're not looking to eliminate a rival. They're selling fear for its own sake -- "be afraid" gets people to watch the TV news.

The other motivation: The mainstream media is powerfully normative. They ridicule and condemn oddball behavior. As long as MMOs are a niche pastime, the mainstream news media will be there to point a finger and laugh at MMOers, or condemn the community for being a haven for pedophiles, pornographers, perverts, organized crime, drug dealing and terrorism.

The good news is that this will pass. The bad news is it'll take 10-15 years, until MMOs become mainstream and the mainstream media itself is playing. At that point, MMO gaming results will probably be included as part of sportscasting.

Posted: Feb 12th 2008 10:41PM (Unverified) said

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"until MMOs become mainstream"

I could read that as "until they're on an equal footing with other paying advertisers" too, just thinking about it. Does anything say mainstream like 24x7x365 multi-media advertising?
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Posted: Feb 12th 2008 9:38AM (Unverified) said

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I think the general point of this article was not to expose a conspiracy. Rather it was just to point out that media outlets don't criticize gaming because there's something wrong with gaming, but because it benefits those outlets to do so. And to make sure everyone realizes that these media companies aren't trying to watch out for you, and keep you informed, they're trying to make money off you.

Posted: Feb 12th 2008 7:37PM (Unverified) said

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Fight the Powers!

The Internet is the death knell of TV/movies and CDs. They wont totally disappear but they will be relegated to very specific usage and much smaller markets much like what happened to radio and newspaper before it.

I'm not seeing that as a bad thing. Much prefer something interactive like a PC game or MMO than most hour to hour television. Especially reality stuff.

Posted: Feb 13th 2008 12:08AM (Unverified) said

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Tateru, that's part of it. The budget to buy big ads on TV makes gaming appear respectable, which makes mainstream journalists more friendly toward covering it.

I just don't see the journalists as motivated by economic threat, though. What they're mainly interested in is promoting mainstream, middle class norms, and promoting the idea that anything that deviates from those norms is dangerous or stupid or both.

Posted: Feb 18th 2008 10:37PM (Unverified) said

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I don't think there's a hint of conspiracy involved, certainly. This is about individuals - admittedly individuals in numbers.

I know people in print and television who've spoken of their bosses who refer to games/internet/MMOs as 'the competition', and who are on the lookout for derogatory slants.

I can't tell you if those people are in the majority, but it seems to be there's enough of them about. Fewer people in journalism and television are gamers than people in management. There may even be fewer gamers in journalism than in any other industry (other than games publishing).

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