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Platforms in the Cloud: On the Ephemerality of Platforms

Digital Culture and Education Cover

Digital Culture and Education Cover

Published Online: November 14, 2016

Abstract: This essay explores the ephemeral character of platforms and the critical role that theoretical frameworks play in making sense of platforms as socio-technical assemblages. Through an exploration aimed at further complicating the Nintendo Wii as platform and exploring Twitter as platform, the essay considers the crucial role of theory in the unpacking of black boxes. In an attempt to render platforms accessible, it is quite possible they have been presented as more opaque, and their analysts have not adequately debugged the messes they have encountered.

Key Words: Platform Studies; Alien Phenomenologies; Science and Technology Studies; Twitter; Debugging

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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