Social Question

ragingloli's avatar

What do you think of this Marxist critique of Video Games, as written by an AI?

Asked by ragingloli (50890points) 1 month ago

I think it is pretty much spot on:

“As a Marxist, I view videogames as a manifestation of the capitalist system in which they are produced and consumed. In this system, the videogame industry is driven by the pursuit of profit, with companies competing to create games that will generate the most revenue.

This profit-driven approach leads to a focus on profit-maximizing strategies such as microtransactions and loot boxes, which exploit players and extract additional revenue from them. It also leads to the commodification of videogames, with players seen as consumers rather than active participants in the creative process.

Furthermore, the videogame industry is characterized by a hierarchical structure, with a small group of executives and developers at the top controlling the production and distribution of games. This hierarchy reinforces the unequal distribution of power and wealth within the industry, with a few individuals holding disproportionate influence over the direction and content of videogames.

Additionally, the videogame industry relies on the exploitation of labor, with workers in countries such as China and Vietnam working long hours for low wages to produce games. This exploitation allows companies to maximize their profits by minimizing their costs, at the expense of the workers who create the games.

Overall, the videogame industry is an example of the capitalist system at work, with its focus on profit, commodification, hierarchy, and exploitation. As such, it reinforces the unequal distribution of power and wealth within society, and contributes to the perpetuation of capitalist relations of production.”

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25 Answers

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Seems like the same level of writing and understanding as a teenager just learning about Marxism from the lens of far left-wing propaganda. Like when you’re 17 and just learning about what anarchism really is. Completely ignores the most basic economic concepts like buyer power, elasticity of demand etc.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No worse than some other idiotic essays I have read. No better.

ragingloli's avatar

“First, it is important to note that my examination of videogames from a Marxist perspective is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the industry, but rather a brief exploration of some key Marxist concepts and how they apply to the videogame industry.

Additionally, my examination does not ignore the concept of buyer power, as it discusses the ways in which the profit-driven nature of the videogame industry leads to strategies such as microtransactions and loot boxes that exploit players and extract additional revenue from them. This demonstrates the power of companies to extract value from consumers, even if those consumers are not actively choosing to participate in these practices.

Furthermore, my examination does not ignore the concept of elasticity of demand, as it discusses the commodification of videogames and the way in which the industry is structured around the pursuit of profit. This commodification creates a market for videogames in which demand is relatively inelastic, as players are willing to pay a high price for access to the latest games and content.

Overall, my examination of videogames from a Marxist perspective is not an oversimplification or a product of far-left propaganda, but rather a nuanced exploration of how Marxist concepts can be applied to the videogame industry.”

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Did the AI write that too? I can sort of tell. It can refute pretty well but still does not get the concepts. Makes it easy to spot.

ragingloli's avatar

Of course it wrote it. Though often you have to make the prompt quite complex to get the bot to be more verbose.

“Buyer power refers to the ability of consumers to influence the market by choosing which products to buy and which companies to support. In the videogame industry, buyer power is limited by the commodification of games, which creates a market in which players are willing to pay a high price for access to the latest games and content. This inelastic demand allows companies to extract value from players even if those players are not actively choosing to participate in microtransactions or loot boxes.

Elasticity of demand refers to the responsiveness of consumers to changes in price. In the videogame industry, demand for games is relatively inelastic, as players are willing to pay a high price for access to the latest games and content. This allows companies to charge high prices for their games, and to extract additional revenue from players through microtransactions and loot boxes.

The videogame industry uses a range of mechanisms to manipulate player behavior and extract additional revenue from them. These mechanisms include addiction, gambling, and FOMO (fear of missing out). For example, many games are designed to be addictive, with mechanics such as progress bars and rewards systems that encourage players to keep playing. This addiction allows companies to extract more value from players, as they are more likely to spend money on microtransactions and loot boxes if they are hooked on a game.

Gambling is also used by the videogame industry to extract additional revenue from players. Many games include loot boxes, which are virtual items that can be purchased with real money. These loot boxes often contain random rewards, creating an element of chance and encouraging players to keep buying them in the hopes of getting a valuable item. This is effectively gambling, as players are spending money on the chance of getting a valuable reward, and the industry is profiting from this gambling behavior.

FOMO is another mechanism used by the videogame industry to extract additional revenue from players. Many games include social features that allow players to compare their progress and achievements with their friends. This creates a fear of missing out, as players are afraid that they will be left behind if they do not keep up with their friends in the game. This fear of missing out can encourage players to spend money on microtransactions and loot boxes in order to catch up.

Overall, the practices of the videogame industry, including its use of addiction, gambling, and FOMO, distort the market and allow companies to extract additional revenue from players. These practices are ineffectual in terms of promoting competition and fair market practices, as they exploit players and manipulate their behavior in order to extract more value from them.”

Blackwater_Park's avatar

That’s pretty cool.

JLoon's avatar

No problem with the critique.

But what I find disturbing is that you – @ragingloli, have been seduced and enraptured by AI, and are surrendering your unique loliness to this wicked cyber-roboto incubus like a trembling virgin.

Is this droning similitude the sad end of the sweet, special perversion and intoxicating Germanic depravity we’ve all come to love? WHAT IS THIS, AND WHERE IS THE REAL LOLI??!

ragingloli's avatar

Worry not, it is “just a phase”.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

“phased” approach to assimilation perhaps.

ragingloli's avatar

In the 40 Watt range.

JLoon's avatar

@ragingloli – I’m watchin’ you 0.0

ragingloli's avatar

In other ways though, it is a mere tool to enhance and give form to my deviancy:

“In the depths of the ocean
Where the waves crash and flow
Lived a beautiful otter
With eyes that shone like the snow

Her sleek and graceful body
As she swam through the sea
Captured the heart of a human
Who had come to watch her free

Their love was forbidden
But they couldn’t help but crave
The touch of each other’s skin
As they danced in the waves

The otter’s soft fur
And the human’s gentle hands
Explored each other’s bodies
In a passion that demands

They swam and they danced
Under the moonlit sky
Their love growing stronger
With every kiss and sigh

Their bond was unbreakable
Their love unending
As they embraced under the water
Their hearts blending

Together they roamed
The vast and endless sea
Their love strong and true
An otter and human, meant to be.”

JLoon's avatar

^^^ You could do better. ^^^

ragingloli's avatar

I really could not.

JLoon's avatar

Snap out of it!

Zaku's avatar

I would say:

* In constrast, I view videogames as forms of art, and of play, and imagination. As a professional developer of videogames, I think of their “production” as what’s necessary to make them, and their “consumption” like I think about people viewing art, or playing a game, not usually in economic terms. I am concerned by the tainting of the art by capitalistic mindsets, as they tend to detract from the art, and from the fun, and from their value.

* This “Marxist” view seems like a negative perspective on that type of capitalist mindset, which I only see as useful inasmuch as it makes the capitalist mindsets seem awful, but I’m alarmed that it targets videogames themselves, rather than looking for a useful positive mindset for relating to the art and fun of games.

* The summary of profit-maximizing strategies is on point, but I think it is misleading to credit the AI with it. I am certain the AI has no actual understanding, but is borrowing from language humans have written on the subject.

* The blanket assertion about the videogame industry’s “hierarchical structure” is inaccurate, as there are many games being made by small companies, and even one-man operations. However where there are such hierarchical structures, yes that tends to suck, as described (no doubt by humans, not an original idea of (nor really understood by) the AI).

* The part about how “the videogame industry relies on the exploitation of labor, with workers in countries such as China and Vietnam working long hours for low wages to produce games” is, again, inaccurate. Certainly there are many exploited workers and bad working conditions, but that’s not ubiquitous, nor is it unique to videogame work, and it mis-characterizes most game efforts in the way it mentions China and Vietnam.

* The concluding paragraph looks like an ad-lib style template that I’d expect this “AI” to apply to practically anything it thought met the qualifications for “an industry”.

Not impressed.

ragingloli's avatar

“First, it is important to acknowledge that videogames can indeed be viewed as forms of art, play, and imagination, and that the production and consumption of videogames can be understood in artistic and playful terms rather than purely economic terms. However, it is also important to recognize that the videogame industry is embedded within the capitalist system, and that this system shapes the production and consumption of videogames in profound ways.

The Marxist perspective on the videogame industry is not intended to be a negative perspective on the art and fun of games, but rather a critical examination of the ways in which the industry is structured and operated within the capitalist system. This perspective recognizes that the pursuit of profit, commodification, hierarchy, and exploitation can detract from the art and fun of videogames, and seeks to understand how these forces shape the industry and its products.

It is not accurate to say that the videogame industry lacks a hierarchical structure, as the industry is dominated by a small number of large companies that control the production and distribution of games. While there are certainly small companies and one-man operations creating games, these entities are not able to compete on the same scale as the larger companies, and thus are not able to exert the same level of influence over the direction and content of videogames.

Furthermore, it is not accurate to say that the exploitation of labor in the videogame industry is not ubiquitous or unique to videogame work. While it is true that there are many exploited workers and bad working conditions in other industries, the videogame industry does rely on the exploitation of labor in countries such as China and Vietnam, where workers are paid low wages and work long hours to produce games. This exploitation allows companies to maximize their profits by minimizing their costs, at the expense of the workers who create the games.

Overall, while it is important to recognize the artistic and imaginative potential of videogames, it is also necessary to understand how the capitalist system shapes the production and consumption of these games, and how this system reinforces unequal power relations and exploits workers. This understanding can help us to critique and challenge the capitalist system, and to create a more equitable and fair videogame industry.”

Entropy's avatar

I mean, there are a few valid criticisms in there, but as with all things like this, they are blown out of proportion and fail the test of ”...as compared to what?” Capitalism is awful. When compared with an abstract utopian vision in our brains. But compared with the practical realities of other real world alternatives and outcomes, it’s pretty freakin’ awesome.

That doesn’t mean we don’t try to tweak and perfect the market. But we need to be cautious when we do that we don’t disrupt the market incentives that produce better outcomes than non-market alternatives. That’s what irks most market advocates – it’s the reckless disregard for preserving those incentives and thereby creating new problems. It’s not that we think markets are inherently perfect.

The other problem I would have with it, is that the general article feels like ‘Mad Libs’. I could name any industry, and supply a few nouns related to it to replace ‘loot box’ and ‘microtransaction’ with and it would read exactly the same.

HP's avatar

I don’t understand the requirement for the critique. What business in a capitalist landscape is not footed on exploitation of its targeted customers and the maximization of profits?

flutherother's avatar

Let’s not forget that it was the capitalist system that produced videogames and allowed then to flourish and grow into a fascinating and diverse new art form. Video games weren’t spontaneously produced within any other economic system least of all in the “planned economies” of communism that failed to calculate how many toothbrushes would be required for the next five year plan never mind producing anything new and wonderful.

Zaku's avatar

“It is not accurate to say that the videogame industry lacks a hierarchical structure, as the industry is dominated by a small number of large companies that control the production and distribution of games. While there are certainly small companies and one-man operations creating games, these entities are not able to compete on the same scale as the larger companies, and thus are not able to exert the same level of influence over the direction and content of videogames.”
– That’s applies, if your focus is on quantity of sales and consumption. From an artistic and idea perspective however, one of the crippling effects of the profit-focused decisions of larger game corporations, is that they tend to limit themselves to repeating previously-financially-successful designs and ideas. Meanwhile, the small independent companies tend to be the ones which are creating original games, and exercising freedom to do different things, and so they have been creating the games with newer designs. So in terms of who is influencing the direction of content of games, as measured by the range of ideas, and the creation of new ideas, I tend to think the small independent companies are the ones doing most of that.

Zaku's avatar

“Furthermore, it is not accurate to say that the exploitation of labor in the videogame industry is not ubiquitous or unique to videogame work. While it is true that there are many exploited workers and bad working conditions in other industries, the videogame industry does rely on the exploitation of labor in countries such as China and Vietnam, where workers are paid low wages and work long hours to produce games. This exploitation allows companies to maximize their profits by minimizing their costs, at the expense of the workers who create the games.”
– Does it? Do you have any evidence of that? It seems to me that the major large-scale corporate videogame producers I am familiar with, like most serious software for Western markets, are mainly produced by people outside of China and Vietnam, and do not depend on such.

gorillapaws's avatar

I would argue that video games are less capitalist than many other industries. Sure you have your AAA studios, but there is an entire landscape of smaller and even independent developers successfully crafting amazing games on smaller budgets with team members who share in the success of the game and often have a strong voice in how the company is run. I think Marx would probably like them to be structured even more like a coop, but would respect that the workers have significant equity stakes in these smaller companies.

Smashley's avatar

There’s a further critique the AI only danced around, that the purpose of micro transactions and gambling features is yes, the extract money from the users in general, but really, they’re there to hunt whales: those people who for whatever reason will obsessively spend thousands of dollars on even the most zero effort games. The industry behaves more like a drug cartel than anything.

Forever_Free's avatar

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.
Nothing but rhetoric here. Next question please.

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