“Greetings from the Third World”: strategies of distribution and customization of game-related content in Brazil

Title“Greetings from the Third World”: strategies of distribution and customization of game-related content in Brazil
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Messias, J. C.
Affiliation (1st Author)Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Section or WGCommunity Communication Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeCoCT4b
Slot Code (Keyword)CoCT4b
Time of Session16:00-17:30
Session TitleTactical Media, Art, and Creative Protest
Submission ID6041

Topic 5. Towards a Theory of Alternative, Community and Citizen Media Today market instigates consumers to ‘personalize’ their experience with a product or service in order to keep them bound (or better saying, attached) to a certain brand, manufacturer or service provider. This implied policy can be seen in cell phone companies, internet service providers (ISP), fast food chains, banks, among others. All across the globe, enterprises bet on the “need” (or desire) for individualization of the contemporary buyer not only to make monetary profit but to gain value (in this case, not in the customary Marxist usage of the word, but in the cognitive capitalism sense). At the same time, one of the consequences of globalization can be said to be the growing “informatization of production”, something already addressed by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt on Empire (2000). This means that contemporary labor is affected by computers and digital culture as a whole in a way that even the most manually-centered of the professions and workers are connected with, deal, depend or require it to ensure some kind of mobility in postmodern times.   Whether at the workplace or in leisure time, the production and reproduction of capital depends in some degree of the informatization and personalization of the production (along with other aspects), what the aforementioned authors named biopolitical production. This pair represents a side of the paradigm change defended by the thinkers, being strong tendencies inside of the so called hegemony of immaterial labor. In this context, this paper intends to bring this discussion to the Game Studies and try to apply some of those conceptions, such as cognitive capitalism, potency of the poor, and biopolitical resistance to a very specific site of the game culture – the alternative distribution and customization of game related content, that, made unofficially and by acts of hacking and modifying copyright owned content, could be called piracy. This paper will be focused specially in Brazilian customization of content and, as we believe, the way it enables the expression of subjectivities linked with the cultural and technical demands of the population (language, values, style, device, hardware disparities) in face of the global market of games. Thus, we sustain that the initiatives presented here are forms of resistance, biopolitical resistance, to be the precise, and, at the same time, a political statement from the community of Brazilian players. Once they are presented to these goods and do not have access or can’t adapt them to their particular affections, in a scenery of divide and scarcity, they rely on piracy.    Alongside Negri and Hardt trilogy, Empire (2000), Multitude (2004) and Commonwealth (2009), this paper will be based on the philosophical work of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Their reflections over the nature of power, biopolitics, control societies and specially the notion of becomings will be used to point out the necessity to include games as part of the political research and as distinguished form of expression (and maybe activism) of the 21th century. In the specific material aspect of this work, thinkers like Friedrich Kittler, Stuart Moulthrop, Bruno Latour, among others, will help us to investigate the particularities of digital and game culture as well as the fine tuning between the human and the machinery in the manifestation of subjectivities.

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