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Professionalism and Communications Published by Jonathan Collinge (13/12/2011)
___________________________________________________________________________ Contents 1.0 | Executive Summary
1.1 | 1.2 | Proposal Scope
2.0 | Acknowledgements 3.0 | Introduction 4.0 | Main arguments
4.1 | Human Behaviour 4.2 | Sociality 4.3 | Health & wellbeing 4.4 | Other media 4.5 | Education
2 3 4
5.0 | Conclusion 6.0 | References 7.0 | Bibliography 8.0 | Appendix
7 8 9 10
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1.0 Executive Summary 1.1 Proposal The purpose of this publication is to discuss the influence of video games on our society. I will refer to various studies and articles from external sources, as well as analysing some primary research data from a survey I have conducted. I intend to construct an unbiased argument into the main influential factors of video games such as; their influence on other media, human behaviour, health and wellbeing, sociality and education. This paper has been designed to provide the audience with a collaboration of facts and opinion from reliable sources, in order for the reader to form their own understanding of how video games have influenced the society we live in over their brief existence and where the future might take us. 1.2 Scope The main points I will be discussing throughout this report will be ones that challenge controversy and myth but also reinforce fact and truth. The critical topics contained in this paper are listed above; here are brief descriptions of the topics content: ‘Video games influence on other media’ will look specifically at direct influences on other mediums. For example, video games in relation to films, novels and the television. The influence of video games on ‘human behaviour’ is a very controversial topic, in the light of public allegations that certain video games have been a major component in the concoction of murder, rape and suicide. As a player, what affect are video games having on our mental and physical health and are their motives always in our best interest? I’ll be discussing whether the stereotypical social reclusiveness associated with video games is a figure of fact or fiction? Finally I will be criticising video games use as an educational tool throughout human development.
2.0 Acknowledgements In this section of the report I would like to acknowledge individuals who have either directly or in directly aided the development of this paper. Jonathan Lloyd – For his research into the influences of video games on other media forms. Shaun Dodd – For his research into the influences of video games on sociality. Christopher Ferguson – For his research into the influences of video games on human behaviour
and his primary data.
Mark Sargent – For his research into the influences of video games on health and wellbeing.
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3.0 Introduction Video games are no longer the exclusive property of the reclusive adolescent hermit. In fact hardware sales currently show that 431.4 million 7th generation consoles have been purchased worldwide (Arnone & Walton, 2011) since their release just over 6 years ago (Wisniowski, 2006). “The game industry in 2007 was valuated at $41.9 billion (bn). This value is expected to grow 9.1% annually to $48.9bn by the end of 2011 and $68bn in 2012; making it fastest growing component of the international media sector (Caron, 2008). This shows the industry is expanding at an exponential rate and as the proportionality between market revenue and audience scale states, the industry must now have a greater demographic to influence. So, how exactly is this new media phenomenon establishing itself and its influence on the society we live in? The purpose of this report is to construct an argument based on a critical analysis of various aspects of the industries influence, in order to answer that very question. I have broken the question down into smaller subtopics to give a more detailed report of certain elements of video games influence. The main topics I will discuss in this report are the influence of video games on other media, human behaviour, health and wellbeing, sociality and education. I intend to do this by considering both sides of the argument and critically investigating their research and studies. My primary aim when writing this report is to allow the reader to develop their own interpretation of the argument and form their own opinion based on the evidence shown. However the scope of this report needs to be taken into consideration when making that decision. The secondary research has all been collected from public sources and is referenced in this document, however due to the nature of the report I cannot guarantee the integrity of the material. The primary research I conducted was only completed by a relatively small stratified sample and cannot be used to establish any definitive relationships.
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4.0 Main Arguments Video games are an interactive experience predominately designed for their entertainment value. Nonetheless like any form of media, they are built with the fundamental concept of creating a communication channel between developers and consumers. The messages that are passed through this medium to the user can often be cryptic or subliminal and are rarely filtered harshly enough by the BBFC or similar certificate organisations. Every player who engages with a video game will be receiving messages from the developer to enhance their stimulation and understanding of how to succeed at the game. However this concept works on the assumption that every individual will interpret the game as the developers have accounted for. It is the unfortunate reality that some individuals interpret the messages in a negative manner and in extreme circumstances as reality. Whether the developers purposely use the hypodermic syringe theory or not, they must now understand the implications of leaving video games open to personal interpretation. 4.1 Human Behaviour Violent video games not only expose the consumer to scenes of graphic violence, but also force the user to interact as an active participant in the experience. The debate whether this exposure can influence an individual’s mental state enough to increase a user’s levels of aggression is still inconclusive. Dr Simon Green from the department of psychological sciences refers to a study conducted in 2003 by Dr Douglas A. Gentile and Dr Craig A. Anderson (Anderson et al., 2007), in his argument from the new edition of the AQA publication: A2 Psychology. He states that this study provided a “definitive link between video games and aggression” (Green, 2011). The study investigated 600 adolescents and recorded their exposure to video games and instances of violent behaviour, the resulting correlation between the two was said to have shown a clear positive relationship. Anderson then went on to state “a link does not necessarily show a cause, simply a link” (Anderson, 2003), meaning that the relationship between the two variables may be caused by their exposure to video games or it could be just as credible for the link to be caused by pre-existing personality traits. Another supporting study was issued by Edward Swing, Bradley Bushman, Muniba Saleem and various other doctorates of psychology. This study measured the effects of an individual’s exposure to violent video games in relation to their behaviour, thoughts, social life, mood and state physiological arousal. The findings proved that short term exposure was significantly associated with temporary aggression, however no long term conclusions could be made (Swing et al., 2010). This is backed up by the survey I conducted which shows that 81% of candidates admitted frequently getting angry temporarily during gameplay (refer to Appendix 1.0). The research supporting the link between aggressive behaviour and video games, as Professor Tanya Byron declares “remains highly controversial and inconclusive” (BBC News, 2008), a view reiterated by Professor John L Sherry who in 2001 stated that “the relationship between playing violent games and aggressive behaviour is weaker than the relationship between watching violent television and aggressive behaviour” (Sherry, 2008). Much of the research into this area is still highly speculative.
Page 5 of 11 4.2 Sociality Another influential factor involving video games is the pro-social effects experienced by the gamers. A study carried out in 2007 by Dr Craig A. Anderson investigated the effects on 430 7-9 year olds at two points during an academic year, where they were rated by themselves, teachers and their peers. The study found that children who had high exposure to video games were less sociable and willing to help others (Anderson et al., 2007). In comparison a study performed by Dr Tobias Greitemeyer and Siliva Osswald in 2010 titled ‘Effects of pro-social video games on pro-social behaviour.’ Showed 4 experiments which examined this hypothesis and the findings reveals that “in fact participants who had been in contact with video games were more willing to help after an accident, devoted more time to providing assistance and intervened more often in a harassment situation” (Greitemeyer & Osswald, 2010). This point is reinforced by the findings of an experiment conducted by Professors, Kevin Durkin and Bonnie Barber in their paper ‘Not so doomed: computer game play and positive adolescent development’ (Drukin & Barber, 2002) which tested various characteristics of gamers and non-gamers over a period of time, the study concluded that gamers were more adept than their peers in terms of family closeness, activity involvement, positive school engagement, positive mental health, substance use, self-concept and friendship networking. Taking this evidence into consideration, the link between video games and antisocial behaviour is undefined under normal circumstances, nevertheless in extreme cases; overuse of video games, reclusive behaviour and the possibility of addiction are all still very valid issue. 4.3 Health & Wellbeing Video game developers are currently tapping into a previously inaccessible market, games that benefit our health and wellbeing. Games that train your intelligence such as Nintendo’s ‘Dr Kawashima's: Brain Training’ game which sold over 5 million copies in its first year (Bennallack, 2006). The game comprises of a variety of mini-games designed to give brains a workout, such as Sudko or quick fire arithmetic. In 2008 Nintendo also released the first motion controlled console, the Wii, selling over 10 million copies in the US alone. The console released with a collection of games focusing on exercise and keeping active, for example Nintendo’s very own Wii Fit. Wii fit gives the player access to various activities such as maintaining their balance or adopting certain stretches to improve the user’s physical health (Dembo, 2008). Wii Fit has also been reported by Professors; Heidi Sugarman, Aviva Weisel-Eichler, Arie Burstin and Riki Brown from ‘Centre for the Health Professions’ to provide significant aid in the treatment of certain medical conditions (Sugarman et al., 2009). Microsoft and Sony soon followed suit, releasing their very own motion control devices in 2010 which include titles such as ‘Just Dance’ and ‘MotionSports’ both of which actively encourage exercise and pro-social behaviour. On the other hand we must consider the potential risks involved with these motion control units. There have been many reported cases where users have damaged themselves, others or property while using the devices. Studies have attempted to link the use of these devices with the increased risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI), however there has not yet been sufficient time to construct a conclusive study (First4Lawyers, 2008). Whether you think they’re a fad or not, it cannot be argued that motion controlled devices have expanded the games industries influence over society, with Microsoft’s Kinect recording sales of 10 million units and the Playstation Move hitting 8 million units (Sliwinski, 2011).
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4.4 Other media Many successful video game series have now been converted into films, novels and some have even released their very own soundtrack. So, how have video games influenced other media? It is the norm now to see a BBC news reporter stood outside a game retailer with a 1000 strong line of queuing customers waiting for that next ‘must have’ midnight release. This mainstream media exposure triggers a snowball effect on demand, as people don’t want to miss out on such a desirable product they didn’t even know existed before. Video Game commercials on TV are now common occurrences and many game franchises are now on par or ahead of blockbuster movies in terms of air time. Need for Speed’s latest release aired a commercial that was directed by ‘Transformers’ chief Michael Bay (Hypebeast, 2011) which shows the global recognition the industry is now receiving. Video games have even featured in two separate CSI: Miami episodes; entitled “Game Over” and “Urban Hellraisers” (IMDb, 2005), as well as having inspired such novels as Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance (Bowden, 2009) and Halo: The fall of reach (Nylund, 2001). 4.5 Education The levels of concentration and engagement that video games induce from the user are now being exploited in order to deliver factual content and knowledge. It’s not a new concept to use video games as a learning tool, but has presently not been successfully implemented in many constitutions. One example of where it is being successfully used is at West Nottinghamshire College where they use “Neverwinter Nights (NWN) as a means of delivering key skills and showing IT designers how to understand the coding of games“ (GameBanshee, 2005). It is also the view of Dr Henry Jenkins that “educational video games allow a platform on which peer to peer learning can develop along with personal and interactive teaching opportunities delivered in an immersive fashion” (Jenkins,
. This view is underpinned by Dr James Paul Gee’s research and the supporting study founded by Derek Robertson which showed brain-training games such as ’Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Age’ have a positive impact on behaviour and on learning when played during school (Gee, 2003). The potential for video games to play a more influential role in education has been recognised by the government, who now provide funding and grants to
academic institutions, non-profit organizations or corporations who propose to research and develop new educational technologies, including simulations, computer and video games, virtual worlds and avatars that serve as tutors (Entertainment Software Association, 2010).
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5.0 Conclusion To summarise, it is undisputable that video games now have the global dominance to effect society on a catastrophic scale. In regards to violent video games and their relationship with violent behaviour; the link has validity from such studies as Anderson’s 2003 research into adolescent behavioural alterations. Not substantial enough to be able to claim proof but evidence none the less. The pro-social implications of videogame usage were recognised by two separate studies (Drukin & Barber, 2002)(Greitemeyer & Osswald, 2010) to be beneficial to the users. Counter studies were performed (Anderson et al., 2007) which challenged the findings but did not provided conclusive evidence. Video games influence on our health & wellbeing was claimed to be both mentally and physical valuable by a study into medical treatment (Sugarman et al., 2009). However resistance was provided by a report on the injuries resulting from motion control consoles (First4Lawyers, 2008). The generation of content in multiple media formats opens up the accessibility and availability of the content to a wider audience. Novels are being developed based on video game franchises (Bowden, 2009), however are games becoming too heavily exposed (Caron, 2008). The educational benefits of video games were reinforced by several studies (Bennallack, 2006) (Entertainment Software Association, 2010) (Gee, 2003) and evidence to contest these reports was minimal. My personal research (refer to appendix 1.0) presented figures showing that violent video games and the associated genres are popular among adolescents. With a large proportion admitting to suffering from ‘rage’ during gameplay, however 0.0% confessed to consciously exploiting other gamers for their own benefit.
Page 8 of 11 6.0 References Anderson, Craig A;, 2003. Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions. Thesis. American Psychological association. Anderson, C.A., Gentile, D.A. & Buckley, K.E., 2007. Violent video game effects on children and adolecents: Theory, reserach and public policy. New York: Oxford University Press. Arnone, Chris; Walton, Brett, 2011. vgchartz. [Online] Available at: http://www.vgchartz.com/. BBC News, 2008. At a glance: The Byron review. [Online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7316700.stm. Bennallack, O., 2006. Brain games aim to boost your IQ. [Online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4930996.stm. Bowden, O., 2009. Assassin's Creed: Renissance. [Online] Available at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7205214-assassin-s-creed. Caron , Frank, 2008. Gaming Forecast. [Online] Available at: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2008/06/gaming-expected-to-be-a-68-billion-business-by2012.ars. Dembo, S., 2008. Lose weight with Wii Fit? [Online] Available at: http://www.teach42.com/2008/06/03/lose-weight-with-the-wii-fit-the-numbers-dont-lie/. Drukin, K. & Barber, B., 2002. Not so doomed: Computer game play and positive adolescent development. Research study. Elsevier. Entertainment Software Association, 2010. Games: Improving Education. [Online] Available at: http://www.theesa.com/games-improving-what-matters/education.asp. First4Lawyers, 2008. Doctors warn of injuries cuased by Nintendo Wii. [Online] Available at: http://www.first4lawyers.com/doctors-warn-of-injuries-caused-by-nintendo-wii/. GameBanshee, 2005. Neverwinter Nights helping pupils. [Online] Available at: : http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/78125-neverwinter-nights-helping-pupils.html. Gee, J.P., 2003. Good video games and good learning. Green, S., 2011. Video games and aggression. In Psychology A. 2nd ed. AQA. Greitemeyer, T. & Osswald, S., 2010. Effects of prosocial video games on prosocial behaviour. 98th ed. APA. Hypebeast, 2011. Michael Bay's Need for Speed "The Run" Commercial. [Online] Available at: http://hypebeast.com/2011/11/michael-bays-need-for-speed-the-run-tv-commercial/. IMDb, 2005. CSI: Miami. [Online] Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0534850/. Jenkins, H., 2006. Reality bytes: Eight myths about video games debunked. MIT.
Page 9 of 11 Nylund, E., 2001. The Fall of Reach (Halo #1). [Online] Available at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60229.The_Fall_of_Reach. Sherry, J.L., 2008. Violent video games. Research. Michigan State University. Sliwinski, A., 2011. Sony: 8 million Move units shipped. [Online] Available at: http://www.joystiq.com/2011/04/15/sony-8-million-move-units-shipped-50-million-ps3s-soldworldwi/. Sugarman, H., Weisel-Eichler, A., Burstin, A. & Brown, R., 2009. Virtual Rehabilitation International. Research Experiment. Kiryat Ono: Centre for the health professions. Wisniowski, Howard;, 2006. Analog Devices. [Online] Available at: http://www.analog.com/en/pressrelease/May_09_2006_ADI_Nintendo_Collaboration/press.html. Swing, E. Bushman, B. & Saleem, M.2010. Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy and prosocial behaviour.[Online] Available at: http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/2010-2014/10asisbsrs.pdf
Wohn, D.Y. et al, 2011. The "S" in Social Network Games: initiating, Maintaining and enhancing relationships. In the 44th Hawaii international conference. Kauiu,HI.2011.
Sung, K.,2011. Recent Videogame Console Technologies.[Online] Available at: http://www.cs.siue.edu/~wwhite/IS376/Readings/15a_RecentVideogameConsoleTechnologies.pdf
Oguni,H. et al.,2001. Myoclonic-astatic epilepsy of early childhood--clinical and EEG analysis of myoclonic-astatic seizures, and discussions on the nosology of the syndrome. Research.Tokyo:Department of paediatrics, Tokyo Women's Medical University.
Bartholow,B.D.,Bushman,B.J.& Sestire,M.A.,2005. Chronic violent video game exposure and desensitization to violence: Behavioural and event-related brain potential data.Experiment.Elsevier.
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Contents 8.1.0 | Primary Research _______________________________________________________________________________ 8.1.0 Primary Research
Number of Consoles owned 1 2 3 4 More than 4 18.2% 36.4% 18.2% 9.1% 18.2%
How many house on average per day do you play video games for? 0-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5 More than 5 Top 3 Games? Counter Strike Source, League of Legends, Starcraft 2 Mario Kart, Just Dance, Kinect Adventures counter strike source, unreal tournament, rainbow 6 raven shield FIFA 12, GTA IV, L.A Noire Portal, Tombi 2, Phoenix Wright: Justice For All F1 2011, battlefield, gta Top 3 Genres? FPS, RTS, DoTA I don't know FPS Sports, Action Adventure, Mystery Puzzle, platform Racy shooty, bit of both FPS, RTS, Strategy Survival horror, open-world fantasty, stealth/action. action/FPS platform RPG, Racing, Sport 36.4% 9.1% 18.2% 18.2% 0.0% 18.2%
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Out of your top 3 Games, how many include violence of some form? 0 1 2 3 27.3% 18.2% 9.1% 45.5%
Do you get angry when gaming? If so, how do you express this anger? yes, mostly dying, i hate dying Yes. When people throw shells at me in Mario Kart :( Yes, angry with team mates or poor performance Yes, up my game. Shout at the TV Yes, get a tank/ram them off the track/ bit of both Occasionally - I leave the game and take a break for a few minutes [read something, make some food] It depends, if the game is challenging I just try harder. If the game is badly made I generally just wait for a patch or stop playing it. Yes, shout and swear No. Yes, nothing In an ingame scenario, would you help or exploit another player? Help Exploit Depends on situation 27.3% 0.0% 72.7%
Motion control = more family interaction? Yes 36.4% No 63.6%
Simulation and adventure games help develop strategic thinking and planning skills? Not so much Yeah. I like solving puzzles and therefore planning well yes Yes and Yes Yes I have a flight sim and I'm a pilot I don't play either genre. It really has. It's certainly helped me gain knowledge as well, as some games are factual without even intending to be. Yes without a doubt Yes and no. Yes Have you ever used a game to aid you in a test? Yes No 63.6% 36.4%
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