In the article “ The New Cyber-City: The Interactive Game Industry in the New Millennium,” written by Stephen Kline, he explores the video game industry and the influence on the world. The video game industry, he argues, is a combination of Fordist (large scale production, intensive marketing) and post-Fordist (segmentation and niche targeting by demographic markets). Post-Fordism is described in this article as a multitude of “small enterprises, organizing production as high-technology craft-work and forming vibrant community networks of ...human-scale business.” The whole video game industry, he says, has three sectors: the computer industry, media conglomerates, and the toy industry. All of which play a key part in the success of the gaming industry.
Major companies that have made consoles since the early 1990s have been in fierce competition. These companies were argued to expand the computer industry because of “high demands for processing speed, graphics display, and networking capacity,” (Kline). These consoles developed into high-powered machines (rivaling personal computers). Many people predicted that the personal computer would take over the game market, but the consoles have dominated.
The Sega Dreamcast console failed due to Sony’s release, which demonstrates the risk of technological markets. Not only is it the highest performing console that generates success, it is also the accompanying games and market strategy. Developers purchase rights to console games from console-making companies; for computers, the design makes it pretty easy. This industry results in a very complex system with an ever-changing amount of companies, many of whom are small development companies, where the top developers that rise to fame in large production companies start their own. Marketing strategy also plays a large role in the industry. Since there are so many titles, developers need to bring attention to their specific title and so they turn to larger companies with more capital. Their capital increases access to the marketplace and can give access to toy deals, film, or television spin offs. There was digital divides among demographics, for example poorer people do not have access as those with more money, but these divides are changing. More women are playing for example so the market is full of “distinct post-Fordist niches,” not a homogeneous market.
He also explained the influence of video games on the militaries worldwide. Video game companies are developing more realistic war games every year, which help militaries with simulation and operation planning. Military investment in the video game industry is a way to marketize the military in a sense (by absorbing some of the cost), but it also serves to assist the military in training and war purposes.
I find this article interesting that success and failure of a company depends on the player’s entertainment level and awareness of the title. Although large companies aren’t needed to develop these games, developers turn to corporate sponsors to compete in the market, making it a Fordist industry. I agree with Kline’s arguments in this article because I observe the competition on television daily. More video games are targeting specific demographics, like girls, and because the marketing is becoming more specific, I agree it is somewhat a post-Fordist industry as well. It is a complex system and this article was hard to understand at some points, but it was well organized and well written.