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Some Thoughts on Youtube, Recession Proof Videogames and the Resident Evil Trailer Controversy

When I went to my colloquium on Thursday a fellow Ph.D. student gave a presentation on his thesis: the use of popular video sharing platforms amongst teenagers and young adults. Something that stuck with me were his remarks about how Americans apparently engaged differently with these platforms compared to Germans and how this is already reflected in the platform's page titles: Youtube's "broadcast yourself" compares to Clipfish's "Funny Videos. Fun Video for Free" or Myvideo's "We have the funny videos, clips and commercials".

In short: Americans seems to engage more actively with these platforms while Germans seem rather content with just consuming. This in turn also implies that Americans regard these sites more as a counter public (by stressing the active part).

Of course the next question would be: Why are there these differences? Is it a fear of being publicly humiliated? Is there something in US culture – Hollywood? The promise of 15 minutes of fame? An excessive star cult? – that makes Americans more comfortable with self-portraying? Does it have to do with a German reluctance of engaging with new media in general (due to socio-historic reasons)? The penetration of Web 2.0 seems comparatively low in Germany – to me at least. Possible socio-historic reasons are something I'm going to look into in the next weeks (months…) in connection with videogames and the resistance they're facing in Germany in terms of censorship; a fate they share with other media (from film to television, radio being an exception), so stay tuned.

On another note (we had this before): Are videogames recession proof? The short answer: Yes. The long answer can be found here but basically boils down to yes. (Told you so. Please transfer 20% of the gains you made on the basis of this information to this blog.)

Instead of fully devoting my day to John Hirst's "Australia's Democracy. A Short History" I spent quite a lot of time following this discussion. I'm really on the fence on this. I won't go into detail (I doubt that I have anything to contribute to this discussion that had not already been said in one of the comments) but can kind of see where N'Gai is coming from. Especially the excuse that this game is not programmed by whites by but a Japanese developer rings hollow in view of Japan's racist history and attitude. Should black zombies be censored on the other hand? Certainly not. And I don't think that this is what N'Gai implies, but he rather hints to the fact that Capcom is stepping into a minefield here when proceeding uninformed (also see one of my old posts here – in which I actually defended the game by hinting to its Japanese creators. I guess you never stop learning).