Well, as usual, I’m running late with my preparations for a conference – I leave for the AOIR meeting in Copenhagen tomorrow. Not since I was a research fellow over 12 years ago have I been able to plan my trip properly! I have however made a point this time of printing off the programme as it looks really interesting – in fact it’s one of the most interesting programme’s I’ve seen in a long time and I’m really looking forward to presenting our work on SingStar. Who would have thought that I’d end up presenting in the Music stream! As I’ve mentioned before, I am doing some work with Elaine Ferneley and Gordon Fletcher regarding how the move from the PS2 to PS3 platform has reconfigured the gamer’s experiences (or not) and the experiences of those who gamers interact with beyond the game. Here’s the title and abstract…
Access All Areas? The Evolution of SingStar from the PS2 to PS3 Platform - Despite many challenges to technological determinism it is fair to say that technological development is often still presented to, and by, those in organisations and society as inevitably good. The internet is positioned as affording access to a range of information and services that can qualitatively improve our every day lives. Whilst this clearly can be acknowledged as the case, we also know that the internet can raise difficulties and even disadvantages. Understanding this interconnected complex domain of sociotechnical experience precludes broad generalizations and requires recognition of the nuances that surround specific sets of sociotechnical assemblages. By drawing upon Dutton’s (2005) reconfiguration of access arguments we investigate the use of digital games within recreational environments. The ideas in this paper are based upon two intersecting ethnographies and a qualitative non-participant field study of the console based game, SingStar. Through this approach we demonstrate that the sociotechnical choices associated with different versions of the game have constructed a reconfiguration of access to SingStar that critiques the automatic association of new versions of technology with improvement and examines the ways in which non-use and, in effect, non-access could similarly alter and even extend a game play experience. More broadly, studying the evolution of what was, in effect, a ‘stand alone’ digital game to a network enabled version demonstrates how a move to becoming an internet based platform may restrict rather than enable access. Utilising an entertainment oriented activity and technology to examine the issues that underlie Dutton’s rubric of ‘access’ also permits intersecting consideration of the respective roles that developer, user, non-user and technology have in the mediation of social experience.
You can find a copy of the paper here (aoirv7 )- admittedly we need to work on it some more. Comments welcome!
Meanwhile, I need to get home, get packed and go for a guitar lesson….