Mobilizing Games, Disrupting Culture: Digital Gaming in South Korea
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The South Korean mobile gaming market has grown rapidly in the past few years, adding to Korea’s already vibrant digital gaming ecosystem. Amidst these changes, however, some important elements of Korean digital gaming culture have persisted. Rather than replacing other digital gaming platforms, mobile games complement Korea’s rich history of PC-based online gaming. By looking to the recent past of PC-based online gaming, we can better understand the social and cultural impact that mobile games are having in contemporary Korea. This chapter explores the importance of place, time, and activity for a normative model of Korean digital gaming sociality, the implications that this has had for gamers whose behaviors mark them as non-normative, and how discourses around digital games and sociality inflect current evaluations of mobile gaming. Although mobile games afford different ways of coordinating place and time with respect to gaming, these factors remain salient not only for gaming experience, but also for evaluations of normative gaming sociality, just as they have been for PC-based gaming. Such evaluations can sometimes have serious consequences for gamers whose behaviors are identified as non-normative, including their enrollment in institutionalized disciplining strategies and techniques designed to “calibrate” them with normative gaming sociality.
KeywordsSouth Korea Digital games Sociality Time Place Addiction
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