The reading for today was "Media Analysis in the High-Intensity Marketplace: The Three Circuits of Interactivity" by Stephen Kline, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Greig de Peuter. They address multiple angles in their analysis of media that include media theory: time/space bias, political economy, and cultural studies. Then they present the three-circuits model to show how all these concepts come together.
First, they talk about media theory and Innis' theories regarding it. They adopt Innis' concepts of the "bias" of communication technologies, their role in the rise of fall of "empires", and their relation to "oligopolies of knowledge." Innis says the media effects the perception of time and space. Info can be sent over great distance and some can preserve memory. Then, they discuss Innis' idea of the oligopoly of knowledge by those who create the new media by exercising their political and economic control over it. Then they introduce the ideas of McLuhan. He states that the notion of media an extension of our senses. As it applies to games, games should be a medium of communication and games (the example of NBA Live) translate the game at the virtual level to the reality of hand/eye coordination and screen navigation. Then, the authors go on to criticize McLuhan saying the he doesn't pay attention to the relations of social power that structure media (resources to be able to afford games), and criticizing that "media is the message" overlooks content issues (gender, violence, etc).
Next, they talk about the political economy and Marxist ideals. They go into depth about Garnham's ideas, that the role of media can be seen under two aspects. Media industries are themselves businesses, selling information and entertainment to consumers, with their own interest in speeding the process by which these commodities reach the buyers. This is media saturation of innovations. And Garnham says mass media are the bearers of advertising. This is the view that the market is oversaturated with media which contributes to the "mediatized" marketplace. With the case study of video games, the authors state that political economists haven't addressed games and are ignored because of their perception as being mindless entertainment.
Next, they look at cultural studies. They talk about how media influences our culture and how video games such as Tomb Raider can convey messages about culture regarding gender, consumerism, etc. They also bring to my attention the interpretation factor, in that all consumers won't interpret the same messages from the same media. For example, I take a different message away after playing GTA than a concerned parent would. The criticize cultural studies as well saying they don't address the specific qualities of new media (what makes video games different), they underplay the commercial structuring of the video game industry, and they risk taking for granted that audiences are shaped by the media already.
Then, the authors come up with the model of the circuit of capital, then the sub circuits of technology, marketing, and culture. The circuit of capital models the production of commodities and that brings in money through purchases to start the cycle again. The three sub circuits in respect to video games are cultural (designers, gamers, players), marketing (marketers, commodities, consumers), and technology (programmers, consoles and computers, and users). Then they add the "interactivity" aspect of games that include the degrees of openness or closure, option, and limitation.
As a reader, this article was very hard for me to grasp where the authors were going and with the diagrams it just made it more confusing. I agree with the authors angles of media analysis and their connections to video games, I was just confused with where they were going with it.