1. bookVolume 9 (2021): Edition 1 (December 2021)
Détails du magazine
License
Format
Magazine
eISSN
2346-5522
Première parution
15 Dec 2013
Périodicité
1 fois par an
Langues
Anglais
access type Accès libre

Selling Elysium: the political economy of radical game distribution

Publié en ligne: 14 Dec 2021
Volume & Edition: Volume 9 (2021) - Edition 1 (December 2021)
Pages: 20 - 31
Détails du magazine
License
Format
Magazine
eISSN
2346-5522
Première parution
15 Dec 2013
Périodicité
1 fois par an
Langues
Anglais
Abstract

This paper explores Disco Elysium’s first major expansion, “Working Class Update” as emblematic of the potential fracture between the game’s themes and its politics of production and distribution. Our central claim is that in this update, the studio has reacted to the audience’s appreciation for the game’s labor themes within broader dissatisfaction with the industry’s otherwise exploitative practices, yet was constrained by the contemporary dynamics of said industry. First, we examine Disco Elysium’s radical political orientation and the platformized political economy of digital game distribution through ZA/UM’s origins within the Estonia-specific ICT scene. Second, we describe the current state of videogames distribution, in critical dialog with Dyer-Witheford and De Peuter’s concept of a “game of multitude.” We show the limits and contradictions of Disco Elysium to enact radical political stance in a grow-ingly consolidated and platform-dependent video games market. Finally, through a qualitative empirical analysis of the community’s responses to the Worker’s Class Update on Reddit and Steam, we examine the game’s fit into the above-mentioned framework through key themes of dissonant development, tactical games and software commons.

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