Online Gaming – Pleasure or Pain
Video Game Industry
Considered by some as a curiosity in the mid-1970s, the computer and video game industries have grown from focused markets to mainstream. They took in about US$ 9.5 billion in the US in 2007, and 11.7 billion in 2008. Modern personal computers owe many advancements and innovations to the game industry: sound cards, graphics cards and 3D graphic accelerators, CD ROM and DVD-ROM drives, are a few of the more notable improvements. Modern games are among the most demanding of applications on PC resources. Many of the high-powered personal computers are purchased by gamers who want the fastest equipment to power the latest cutting-edge games. Thus, the inertia of CPU development is due in part to this industry whose games demand faster processors than business or personal applications.
History of Video Games
The early 1980s saw the golden age of video arcade games reach its zenith. The total sales of arcade video game machines in North America increased significantly during this period, from $50 million in 1978 to $900 million by 1981, with the arcade video game industry's revenue in North America tripling to $2.8 billion in 1980. By 1981, the arcade video game industry was generating annual revenue of $5 billion in North America, equivalent to $12.3 billion in 2011. In 1982, the arcade video game industry reached its peak, generating $8 billion in quarters, equivalent to over $18.5 billion in 2011, surpassing the annual gross revenue of both pop music ($4 billion) and Hollywood films ($3 billion) combined at that time. This was also nearly twice as much revenue as the $3.8 billion generated by the home video game industry that same year; both the arcade and home markets combined add up to a total revenue of $11.8 billion for the video game industry in 1982,
Controversies Over Video Games
Controversies over video games often center on topics such as video game graphic violence, sex and sexism, violent and gory scenes, partial or full nudity, portrayal of criminal behavior, racism, and other provocative and objectionable material. Video games have been studied for links to addiction and aggression. Earlier meta-analyses (an analysis of several studies) were conflicting. A 2001 study found that exposure to violent video games causes at least a temporary increase in aggression and that this exposure correlates with aggression in the real world. A decrease in prosocial behavior (caring about the welfare and rights of others) was also noted. Another 2001 meta-analyses using similar methods and a more recent 2009 study focusing specifically on serious aggressive behavior concluded that video game violence is not related to serious aggressive behavior in real life. Many potential positive effects have even been proposed. Recent research has suggested that even some violent video games may actually have a prosocial effect in some contexts for example, team play. It has been argued there is generally a lack of quality studies which can be relied upon and that the video game industry has become an easy target for the media to blame for many modern day problems. The most recent large scale meta-anlysis-- examining 130 studies with over 130,000 subjects worldwide-- concluded that exposure to violent video games causes both short term and long term aggression in players and decreases empathy and prosocial behavior. However, this meta-analysis was severely criticized in the same issue of the same journal for a number of methodological flaws, including failure to distinguish clinically valid from unstandardized aggression measures and for failing to solicit studies from researchers who have questioned whether causal links exist, thus biasing the sample of included studies.
The Entertainment Software Association states that 20% of video game players are boys under the age of 17, 26% are over 50 (regardless of gender), and that the...