I am pleased to have been invited to give a talk at the upcoming conference “World Craft: The Business and Culture of Gaming in East Asia“.
The conference is sponsored jointly by the Chinese Studies, Center for (CCS), Japanese Studies, Center for (CJS), Korean Studies, Center for (CKS), Institute of East Asian Studies, and the Berkeley Center for New Media. There will be a great group of academics as well as game developers in attendance. The conference is timed to coincide with the 2011 Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, so why not make it a two-for-one and take in some of the talks on February 25-26th 2011.
The social topographies of online games: China and North America in a comparative frame
Online games have emerged as powerful new spaces for the cultivation of social relations.
These new sites rely on complex intersections of social, encoded and infrastructural layers which transform social relations in ways unique to online games. In this talk I explore these configurations through a comparative examination of online gaming in China and North America. Specifically, I focus on the classic and still globally popular game Counter-Strike, looking at how crucial elements of play such as network speed, software design and personal gaming experiences intersect to literally map out new social topographies. These findings help explain one element in the tangled processes whereby geographically disparate agglomerations of gamers become aggregations of interlinked social groups.