Macromedia (too)

Perhaps even more than print, the movie industry has epitomized the macromedia (few-to-many, or broadcast) model of cultural distribution. In two penetrating articles, Hugh Hancock examines the impact of electronic games software and impending virtual reality technology on film production. Extreme change seems inevitable.

As with any social process touched by computers, the basic tendency is to decentralization. By down-streaming productive potential into ever-cheaper digital systems, the ability to execute complex media projects is spread beyond established institutions, encouraging the emergence of new agents (who in turn stimulate — and thus accelerate — the supportive techno-economic trends). Since the Cathedral is primarily a political-media apparatus, which is to say a post-theistic state church reproduced through the effective delivery of a message, these developments are of critical importance to its functional stability. It seems the unfolding crisis is destined to be entertaining.

February 12, 2014admin 8 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Technology


8 Responses to this entry

  • Igitur Says:

    An apparatus xor a process xor an organism?


    Posted on February 12th, 2014 at 11:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    If anything the videogame industry has been consolidating fast in massive companies which buy and ruin smaller studios in their pursuit of scale.

    Big games these days are more expensive than Hollywood movies and command huge groups of developers.

    Calling Minecraft “beautiful” has to be ironic. Graphics-wise it’s a blocky game of huge bricks not dissimilar to a Playstation game of 20.years ago.

    There will always be some number of creative geeks who produce their own entertainment with digital tools. They’ve been around forever. But to think that the sub 120 IQs are going to play the same game is the same category error as thinking the newest education policy will make NAMs become engineers.


    Valvar Reply:

    There is a difference between the subjective, aesthetic quality of graphical design and how technically advanced it is, and they are not necessarily correlated. You mentioned Minecraft, and I think it’s a great example: it actually is beautiful, and a lot of people (including the “sub 120 IQs”, I am sure) agree. It’s not ironic, it just indicates that beauty is a subjective word which cannot be measured by the resolution of the textures. There are many other examples of indie games with beautiful art design.
    So that’s the first reason for why graphical fidelity is irrelevant. The second reason is that it is actually accessible to those who want it, including small indie studios. Unreal Engine, Cry Engine and Unity are all capable of producing games with high graphical fidelity and they do not require significant resources (there should be plenty of examples which demonstrate this, do some searching).
    The third reason is of course that the quality of the graphics is not necessarily correlated to the quality of the game play. Graphical fidelity is important to some people, but our last generation of console rehashes has clearly demonstrated that people are actually not that picky.
    Also, *makes pointy gesture in the direction of mobile games*.
    Up until just a few years ago, what you were saying was true. But we have seen the indie scene explode during the last couple of years and it doesn’t look like it is slowing down.


    spandrell Reply:

    Maybe. I got in a twitter argument with some indie developers who were making progressive games to appeal to women and minorities and whatever. Making money with social justice! I made the huge error of playing one. It still haunts me.

    So if anything indie prevalence will end up making games as retarded as mainstream movies. At this rate we’ll get Oculus Rift games with Minecraft graphics about how to empathize with tattooed black lesbians.

    I still think eventually EA will buy them all, but anyway.


    admin Reply:

    Print media disintegration seems to be proceeding at a rapid (and accelerating) pace, doesn’t it? Is there any special reason for ‘pessimism’ about more immersive media — beyond the fact that they’re further down the curve?

    Valvar Reply:

    Well, with decentralization you can’t pick and choose. People make what they want. But on the flip side I wonder how many people are going to be interested in paying for or playing games exclusively about Social Justice?
    EA will act in its best interests, and (try to) buy what turns out to be more than moderately popular (if the developers will let them, which is often not the case). But they are fighting an uphill battle; they can’t just buy the entire market. It’s too late for that at this point, and there really is no way to do that any longer except to try to monopolize platforms. Which is also futile, because there are many forces (like Valve) that profit from more open playing fields.

    Posted on February 13th, 2014 at 12:49 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    As Vladimir is fond of saying, decentralized media got us Tumblr and Gawker, and for every smart kid that discovers NR there are 100 who discover social justice radicalism in Twitter.

    The few intelligent publications that used to have smart commentary have all gone down or become leftists, while the NYT can always find a Carlos Slim to fund their drivel.

    I wondered too who the hell would pay for a game where you play a black lesbian and be lectured a morality tale on the evil of discrimination, but it seems there are quite a lot of bored bitches out there who pay for that stuff.
    Of course more people pay for Call of Duty right now, but still.

    Decentralization doesn’t mean people will start to think for themselves and suddenly acquire good taste. It means people are forced to think for themselves, don’t like it, and go holier than thou because it’s what they’re familiar with.


    Kevin C. Reply:

    As they say ’round these parts: this.


    Posted on February 13th, 2014 at 11:22 am Reply | Quote

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