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A Precarious GameThe Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry$
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Ergin Bulut

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746529

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746529.001.0001

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The Unequal Ludopolitical Regime of Game Production

The Unequal Ludopolitical Regime of Game Production

Who Can Play, Who Has to Work?

(p.30) 1 The Unequal Ludopolitical Regime of Game Production
A Precarious Game

Ergin Bulut

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents the notion of ludopolitics to center economic and cultural inequalities in the game industry. People need to move beyond grasping game production as simply an economic process based on trade-offs between two supposedly equal parties. Game production is a problem of social reproduction rooted in politics. A two-part question thus follows: Who can play, and who has to work in the game industry? This question illuminates how Studio Desire's workers are alienated at work but sheds further light on how this very alienation depends on the exploitation of others in different locations and settings. The chapter also introduces ludic religiosity as a heuristic device to examine how the definition of fun and escapism in the game industry relies on a dominant white masculinity, as well as the commodification of the Other. That is, one's creative pleasure and escapism are enabled by somebody else's pain. This new broad emphasis on inequality and social reproduction allows for shifting the focus from labor to life and life's materiality.

Keywords:   ludopolitics, game industry, game production, social reproduction, Studio Desire, alienation, ludic religiosity, white masculinity, inequality, materiality

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