Globalization: Among Video Games and Its Audience
Globalization is an ongoing process of increasing the connectivity and interdependence of the world's markets and businesses. Globalization had its effects towards the industries among the world, including the gaming industry. Throughout the years, globalization had affected the video game industry, positively and negatively. In my opinion, globalization had made video games to give more positive impact to the audiences worldwide. Distribution of video games internationally and connection among worldwide players online are the effects of globalization on audiences of video games.
Video games are distributed all around the world because it proves more benefit. Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 are some of the consoles that making its way to the global market nowadays. Since there are some titles that are exclusive to a certain consoles, the competitions among these consoles are also high. There are also developers that decide to release a game on multiple platforms. Audiences have benefit in term of having variety of games to play. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, a shooting genre game is one, is an example of game that was sold by a large amount. After three days of its release, the game has sold 2.5 million units worldwide (Magrino, 2009). The game is a multiplatform game, and that is one reason for the game to sell in large amount. The decision of releasing a game in which platform plays an important role in selling the game. Audiences in some country will prefer certain consoles. For example, in Japan, costumers tend to buy Playstation 3 compared to Xbox 360, despite the fact that Xbox 360 had sold more internationally. One of the proofs is that a game, titled Bayonetta, sales double on Playstation 3 compares to Xbox 360 (Sterling, 2009). Games are not only published locally, they are distributed to many countries and thus increase its audiences. An example of a game that is able to find its place outside its local country is Final Fantasy VII (Kraus, 2006). The game had been successful in commercializing Japan’s video game. The game had sold 900 000 units worldwide during the year that it was released, which is 1997. As games popularity grows across the world, the number of audience also increases.
When all video games are played all around the world, the eagerness of players to compete with other players arises. Nowadays, playing game with international players is not impossible with the existence of internet. Players can connect with each other online and play games together. It is undeniable that video games that have online multiplayer features are more anticipated than games that are not. Back to the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 by Activision, the game offers online multiplayer mode. Even though the single player campaign is rather short, the online multiplayer mode is what make the game had been waited by players around the world. Compared to single player mode, multiplayer mode gave more replay value to the game because players are awarded with many unlockable features and ranking when they compete online (Biessener, 2009). Ranking system give the “boost” for players to play more and climb to the highest rank possible. For example, the multiplayer mode of the game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves awards players with money point proportional to the number of players they can kill (Shea, 2009). At a certain point of the money points they collected, their level will increases and provides access to more abilities and weapons. Players can connect camera and headsets to their consoles to make communication easier and give more realistic feeling when playing multiplayer mode. They can warn other players when enemies or danger approaching and also back up each other, just like a real war. Online video games offer more than competitiveness only. LittleBigPlanet is an example of a game where you can create your own stage and let other player to play through the stage (Cocker, 2008). The game promotes creativity and also interaction between players around the world. For players, besides creating stages, they also can join another player to play in the stage together. Then, you can rate the stage and give a tag to the stage. Playing games online is one of the proofs showing that globalization is taking its effect into video games and social live.
Console games are not the only game that doing the job of connecting players internationally, instead simple flash games also connect worldwide players. Facebook, a social networking site that opened at 2006 (Abram, 2006), is one of the sites that provide flash games. Since these games are very popular among Facebook’s users, these games are often called social games. Facebook, which currently has 300 million users worldwide, provides many social games to its users. Users have free access to these games and most of them do not cost anything (Marchiafava, 2009). Games like Mafia Wars and Pet Society let you connect with your friends who are playing them. In Mafia Wars, you can declare “wars” with other players to compete to gain more followers. In Pet Society, you can walk your pet around the virtual world and visit other player’s pet. Social games in Facebook are very interactive since they allow connection and competition among its users. You can even invite other users that never play the game to join and play together. Since Facebook has worldwide users, users that play the games can also connect internationally via the game, other than just simply using the Facebook’s main function. May it be console games or social games, both have the ability to connect people all around the world without any boundaries.
As games connect people around the world online without boundaries, people tend to less care about nationality. Players do not really care of the nationality because everyone is the same when playing games. Furthermore, the ability and skill of playing games is not determined by nationality. It is easier to connect with each other when we forget our differences and enjoy the moment of playing video games together. Those are the benefits of globalization towards the audiences of video games. The gaming industry has shown that video games also are affected from globalization. Marketing games will never be the same if our world does not prepare to be globalized and games like Tetris and Pac-man will never be known to all players in the world. Video games developers also will never had achieved more revenue if they only distribute games locally. Without globalization, connecting with other players all around the world also will be impossible. Companies had taken a view ahead to connect players all around the world so that the game will be more socializing and interactive. There are a lot of benefits that we cannot taste today if it is not for globalization.
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