Game over: how video games divided the world in half and what is behind it

Problem History

The idea to clean up video games "to the nail" is not new and goes back to the last century. Also in

back in 1976 questions from the publicappeared in the Death Race arcade, where the player could shoot down gremlins with a car. Owners of slot machines began to abandon the arcade, although no one exerted direct pressure on them: this was done for security reasons. But soon direct measures of influence also came to the gaming industry: for example, the action game Custer’s Revenge, released in 1982, in addition to cruelty, offered the player erotic content and even scenes in which many saw hints of rape. The game was banned in Oklahoma.

Everything changed in the early 90s, when the burdenThe Mortal Kombat series took over the accusations of cruelty. The pressure was strong, and this time it had repercussions that reverberated throughout the gaming industry. A compromise between publishers and the public was found in the form of the ESRB, which appeared in 1994, a rating system that offered to categorize games according to their appropriateness for children. All these Everyone, Teen, Mature and other inscriptions in a black rectangle on the box with the game are just the brainchild of that era. Later, others followed the Americans: the European PEGI rating, the Australian ACB and others appeared.

Mortal Kombat was the most controversial game of the 90s

But the accusations did not stop, and already in 1999 inmedia speculation circulated about the impact of games on the psyche of teenagers who staged one of the most high-profile and iconic mass shooters in US history. The theme of games pops up in such cases so far, and not only in the US, but throughout the world. Russia is no exception, which is only the case of Doka-2, when an expert on the radio accused a then non-existent video game of provoking violence. Why "then non-existent"? It's simple: the hype from the indiscriminate accusation has grown so much that Doku-2 was actually released.

Today, after Postal 2, Manhunt, GTA and otherssuch products with bans due to cruelty will not surprise anyone. Even taking into account the fact that, according to research, games do not lead to violence and do not affect the minds of gamers. But there are other motives forcing states to take emergency measures in relation to gaming products.

For example, Fallout 3 RPG is banned in India:according to rumors, due to the presence in the game of brahmins - two-headed cows. Legislators also have complaints about the gaming industry in terms of gambling: a loot box system that randomly generates a reward. Loot boxes do not open for free, which gives legislators a reason to see a "gamble" element in this mechanic. Of course, voices about the need to regulate this area are becoming louder, and in Belgium and the Netherlands, for example, loot boxes are already “banned”.

There is a similar one in Russia:in 2013, due to complaints in the country, the sale of the Company of Heroes 2 strategy was discontinued; the airport shooting mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was cut out. And recently, the deputies proposed to ban the games of the Assassin's Creed, The Last of Us series and other projects that, according to legislators, do not comply with certain standards adopted in the country. Prohibitions apply to virtually any state and have already become a practice around the world: from South Korea and Brazil to Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates and China, where the time spent in the game has recently been subject to regulation.

In Russia, a whole scene was cut from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

But “persecution” is only part of the overall picture, because the interest of states in the development of the gaming industry is only growing.

Is coexistence possible?

Gaming today is far from toys, butfull-length industry, the interest in which is fed by many players. There are already about 3 billion gamers in the world, by 2024 this number will increase by more than 200 million, and there is no end in sight to this growth. The same is true in monetary terms: the market is now valued at $195 billion and is projected to continue growing at a compound annual growth rate of almost 13%.

Purposefully supported by the gaming industrynot only countries like Germany or Great Britain are involved, but also powers that are very exotic for game development, including those from the Islamic world. It is no coincidence that even Saudi Arabia is included in the "gaming fever": according to the national strategy for the development of the country's gaming industry, games will contribute to the country's GDP and create about 40 thousand new jobs.

In the USA, where game development is developed to the maximum, the numbersquite different: the industry employs 720 thousand people, it brings the budget more than $ 40 billion in tax deductions. From the point of view of the state, the business is profitable, therefore there was never any talk of a complete ban on games - even at the time of the most violent attacks.

Games can play an important role ineducation: both in terms of increasing the interest of schoolchildren in technology, unlocking their creative potential, and in terms of education. The Pentagon, for example, is making full use of the potential of games (and not only) to increase the attractiveness of military service.

In the US, the gamedev industry employs 720 thousand people

In Russia, the attitude towards video games was not simplenever, but now things are starting to change: the state is declaring its readiness to support the industry. For example, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko instructed to work out additional support for the video game industry and eSports in the country. In addition, the media reported on plans to create a state-controlled developer and publisher, the development of which will require up to $ 50 billion.

Attitude towards the gaming industry, changing directlyin front of our eyes, even in countries that are not typical for games, opens up new windows of opportunity for game designers and publishers around the world. The growing audience and its openness to various projects is a chance even for "non-gaming" countries to declare themselves to the whole world.

Yes, along with the trend towards active regulationthere is no need to talk about a completely free market, but it is impossible to “bury” the industry, to discount it - and this is understood at the highest state level around the world. But will this lead to the emergence of thousands of local studios, whose products will be known to the whole world, or to the same type and gray gaming market, is an open question. So far, two processes are developing in parallel, forming a new look for gamedev and, what can I say, the whole world.

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