Console video games, as massively multiplayer online environments, need to be examined beyond the traditional MMO. Here’s why!
“As Henry Jenkins (2008) explains, we live in an era of convergence: technological, economic, aesthetic, organic, global - and they all intersect to redefine and reconstruct how we interact with mediated environments. One such mediated environment is Xbox live which has evolved from a mere console video game to a massive entertainment outlet providing games, movies, TV, music, social networking, and more (Gray, 2012).
The above quote reflects the need to redefine how we interrogate console gaming environments. A term that encompasses the nature of seventh generation console video games is Console Multiplayer Mediated Environment or CM2E* (C, M, squared, E). By incorporating old and new media to provide choice for the gaming audience, Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Nintendo Network (formerly Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection), have situated themselves to reach millions of individuals who may not necessarily be gamers, but who may decide to utilize the console to satisfy varying entertainment and functional needs (Gray, 2012). As Quinn (2005) pointed out, the popularity of media convergence originates from the need to reach as many individuals as possible to grant them unlimited access to information when and wherever they want it (as cited in Gray, 2012). Although Quinn was referring to news media, the statement readily applies to other entities striving for convergence. CM2E’s have continuously repositioned themselves as convergent medium's and have successfully maintained a following of users (particularly true for Xbox 360 and Playstation 2/3).
So in a nutshell, what is a Console Multiplayer Mediated Environment? A CM2E describes the virtual communities that comprise Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Nintendo Network (formerly Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection). The Big Three represent the seventh generation video gaming consoles. These consoles, specifically Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (and soon the Xbox One), represent a true convergence of media intersecting major entertainment outlets. Specific features from Xbox Live are featured below:
- Video Gaming
- Kids Entertainment
- Sports (ESPN, UFC, instant streaming, etc)
- TV Shows/Movies/etc (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon onDemand, Flixteretc)
- Premium Cable Channels (HBO, Syfy, among others)
- Pizza Ordering (yeah so we ordered from Pizza Hut the other day. I"m still tripping on this one)
- Music (instant streaming, purchase, etc)
- Social Networking
- Fitness and Wellness
- Instant Messenger
- Voice chat
- Text chat
- Video chat
And many many others. This is a new concept I'm interrogating and hope to further develop this framework and genre. Any suggestions or feedback (both positive and negative) are welcome.
Gray, K. L. (2012). Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Xbox Live Examining Minority Gamers’ Responses and Rate of Adoption to Changes in Xbox Live. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 32(6), 463-470.
Jenkins, H., & Deuze, M. (2008). Convergence culture. CONVERGENCE-LONDON, 14(1), 5.
*This phrase was adapted from the work of Wanju Huang, PhD, as she explores the need to incorporate mobile within the computer mediated communication framework - thus the use of M squared. The same concept applies to these virtual console gaming environments.
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