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This Is Not a Software Industry


This chapter examines why understanding the video game industry and video game production simply as “software,” from an industry, production or cultural perspective, neglects numerous important aspects of each. The chapter draws on significant and sustained ethnographic research amongst game developers. The chapter interrogates the historical foundations that likely led to such a classification and how those perspectives have changed as the game industry has matured. The work, industry and play of video games all point to the unique aspects of the video game industry and the importance of understanding the phenomenon on its own terms.

Buy It:

O’Donnell, C. (2012). This Is Not a Software Industry. In P. Zackariasson & T. L. Wilson (Eds.), The Video Game Industry: Formation, Present State and Future (pp. 17-33). New York, NY: Routledge.

About Casey O'Donnell

Casey O'Donnell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University. He is part of the games faculty and Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) lab at MSU. He is also part of the game development collective Affinity Games. His research examines the creative collaborative work of videogame design and development. This research examines the cultural and collaborative dynamics that occur in both professional "AAA" organizations and formal and informal "independent" game development communities. His research has spanned game development companies from the United States to India. His research examines issues of work, production, copyright, as well as third world and postcolonial aspects of the videogame development workplace.
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