Video Games and Consoles

The Video game industry is nowadays worth billions of dollars, over 70% of households in the country own a video games console. Therefore a huge percentage of the population plays one; the trend of just children playing these machines is no longer present as people of all ages are playing consoles these days. This graph shows the percentage of people in America that play video games and it clearly shows people that play consoles under the age of 18 is 35%.

This then shows that a large population of children and teenagers are playing these consoles and this may result in such problems as, children exercising less and become obese at a young age and if these machines are played to a certain extent, people can feel socially isolated as they would much rather sit in doors and play with their consoles, instead of going out with friends and socialising. However you could argue the case that video gaming is a revolutionary form of entertainment as it can help people with learning and mental difficulties improve Cognitive skills and hand to eye co-ordination.

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In contrast to people feeling socially isolated video gaming can bring some people together, a good example of this would be the annual video games E3 conference held in Los Angeles California. Which enables people to interact with other gamers and designers, and gives them the chance to play the newest titles going to be released. In addition to that, there are numerous video games events hosted around the world promoting people playing together, but the ever growing element of online gaming with consoles means people are continuing to stay indoors and interact with millions of other gamers around the world via their home console.

However one of the most worrying things regarding social issues if the increase in video games which are being released with an 18 certificate, a while ago there was a case reported in the press where a boy of 16 killed another boy because of something he seen in a computer game, the finger of blame was pointed at the publishers of this certain title and many people were furious that a boy of 16 was able to pick up and play one of these 18 rated games.

As a result of this, the game involved was taken of the shelves in nearly all major retailers and stricter gaming laws were enforced when it came to giving games their age rating certificates. Legality involving games is also a big business these days as each game that is created is given a suitable age rating according to the detail in that title. For example if a game consisted of a lot of sexual references, bad language and bloody scenes it would automatically be given an 18 rating, but if it was aimed at children and had such things as cartoon characters and learning experiences it would be given a 3+ rating.

In similar manner when a title is published it is copyrighted by the developer, so people cannot copy what is in the game or produce copies of the game. Strict laws have been put in place for criminals producing pirate copies of games, for example, Penalties for Piracy are- Summary conviction – 6 months imprisonment or fine of statutory maximum, or Indictment – 10 years imprisonment.

Since technology has been widely available for people to copy cd’s the amount of money major developers of games have lost is estimated to be around $1.9 billion. The ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) is the governing body responsible for giving games their age rating, publishing weekly sales charts, piracy and copyright law enforcement and Industry promotion just to name a few. At first the ELPSA was a small company with just 10 members but now it boasts over 100 members, these such companies include Sony, Microsoft, Sega, Nintendo, Activision, Eidos and Rockstar North.

All of these companies are producers of mass selling games in which the ELSPA is responsible for making sure their games are suitable for the consumer market. As a result of the ELSPA controlling so much of the legal aspects of the gaming world they are a vital figure head in the industry as they provide assistance to these companies in the fight against piracy and copyright violations. In addition they publish accurate weekly, monthly and yearly sales charts to show clearly which game is doing the best.

Piracy and copyrighting violations in China and Vietnam is said to be the worst on earth as the percentage of pirated copies of games there is around 90%, this clearly shows the change in cultures as in the west the ELSPA has a firmer grip on the market but in countries such as China and Vietnam they do not have a strong influence as they are not recognized as well in these regions. But in saying that the ELSPA has a large Japanese based company with such major Japanese companies as Konami and Sega being members of the ELSPA.

The contrast in cultures between the west and Japan is not as different as one would think, the Japanese are responsible for a huge portion of the gaming industry, they are also to thank for such trends as Pokemon which in the west sold over 10 million copies, but on the other hand the Japanese culture is very different in many ways, obvious factors of this would be the language barriers between the mostly English speaking west and the Japanese speaking Japanese. Therefore translators are required when companies are conducting business with one and other.

Furthermore, the Japanese are known to release games in Japan would not appeal to a western audience as these games consist of a certain style which people in the west may find as strange. In addition to this, a good example of a cultural difference between the west and Japan would be the release of soccer games, when first released in Japan they acquire a different name to be released there as the Japanese audience does not have as broad a soccer knowledge as they do in the west, because of the games being developed in Japan when it is translated into English the wording in the actual game can be wrong at times.

The culture in Japan is simply very different than in Europe and the USA; even though culture in Europe and the US is different it is not to the extreme than in Japans case where it is a whole new way of life in the far-east. With many major technological developments stemming from Japan, they deserve a lot of the credit for making the video games industry what it is today.

As a result of Japan being so technologically advanced this enabled other countries such as the USA to become just as advanced, with this came about the first ever video games console in 1972, the Magnavox odyssey was released to start off what eventually one day would be one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. Grossing over $10 billion each year between all companies.

In 1972 the Magnavox odyssey was released along with other consoles such as the Fairchild entertainment system and PONG, all of these had the same basic concept which incorporated the idea of basic black and white table tennis being played on the television screen, PONG was the most successful at the time with a PONG machine being found in most pubs and clubs you went into.