Saturday, October 08, 2005

What really goes on in Asia?

We have all heard the horrible stories about gamers dying from game-related crimes: stabbed over an argument about a sword in a game. This has been used in the media and in political debates as the final proof that games cause violence, the media elegantly ignoring the fact that the very old cause of crime: money, was definitely involved here.

Friday, during the State of Play dinner, Jessica Mulligan shared her experience with the Asian market. Her comments put the "look-to-Asia-and-see-how-dangerous-this-is" argument into a much more realistic perspective.

Asian online gaming is not like European or American. The flesh-world, social aspect is much more important than in the west. What Jessica Mulligan pointed out was that the fights breaking out in the flesh world over computer games had to be understood as turf-wars between gangs rather than mindless violence by brainwashed gamers.

A comparison from the social use of online games in Asia to a similarly intensely socially consumed game in Europe would be football. And yes, we have had killings in clashes between football fans. Do we try to outlaw football? Do we tell the children they should not play it? At least not yet, but who knows, if we are to protect people from competition and intense identifucation with games and teams.

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