As an entertainment medium gaming can still be considered the cultural underdog, despite it growing into a billion dollar business and being (allegedly) more popular than the movie or music industry. Matter of fact we still get excited when our favourite form of entertainment features in the mainstream media. Sadly, games are often featured negatively. A senseless shooting occurs: blame it on the games. Obesity is on the rise: Blame it on the games. Gaming addiction also regularly features in the media, so much so that at this point most people respond with a collective ‘meh’.
Blizzard has been in the eye of the storm recently following this article on CNN’s Gaming Reality series. The write up tells the story of MarineKing a Starcraft II pro-gamer who just came second in the World Cyber Games. It depicts SCII players as ‘rows of expressionless young men sit at cubicle-like workstations tapping at a galactic military strategy game’ and explains how the game negatively affected the life of MarineKing until he understood the place gaming has in his life. Usually such articles come and go without much noise but Blizzard chose to issue a statement defending themselves on the thorny issue of gaming addiction. In essence Blizzard explained how they want people to enjoy their games but at the same time carry on living a meaningful life outside of gaming. The part which got me thinking was this:
“It’s important to note that players are able to jump into our games and accomplish appreciable and fulfilling goals, such as competing in matches, completing quests or matches, purchasing or selling equipment for their characters, hunting monsters, and socializing with friends, in a short amount of time, making our games enjoyable with minimal time commitments.” Continue reading