Global Game Industry News Blog

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Media and Society Essay: Free/Open Game Development

I decided over the weekend that it was high-time to move my old essay from Flow TV, "The Wii-volution will not be Televised" into the academic arena. In particular it was several recent (not so recent now) articles about Sony "opening" up the PS2 that seemed to push me over the edge. While I have not decided upon a particular venue for this essay yet, though my initial estimation is with New Media and Society.

In part this was due to watching several people at conferences in my relatively recent past talk about precisely what I had written, as if it hadn't ever been mentioned before. I have actually written about it twice now, once in Flow TV and once in my dissertation, but if my words fall in the forest and no one is listening, apparently it doesn't really make a sound or matter.

So, with that in mind, I've decided that given the significant amount of data that I have already gathered on this particular topic that I need to update and think a bit more about. Not to mention that I've seen a handful of recent articles about how Sony is "opening" up PS2 development. At this point I remain largely unconvinced. That isn't to say that a lot has changed in the last couple of years. However, most of the "open" consoles require either the same old licencing/NDA crap (Wii-Ware) or they largely lock you into proprietary languages and tool-chains (XNA Express on the Xbox 360 or the iPhone). I am continually bothered by the "same old stuff" being talked about as open or different, because it certainly isn't. I cannot go to a Sony web page and download an SDK for the PS2. I don't blame Sony for this, but I don't expect to be downright lied to.

Then there is probably the most insidious, which I have to wonder if it will ultimately rear its head in the upcoming Global Game Jam, is the use of proprietary NDA covered technologies that ultimately prevent education and industry wide learning andadvancement . Sony has "opened" the PSP or PS2 in such a fashion here in the US, but those agreements specifically go against any sort of pedagogical ideal that learning is connected with sharing and collaboration.

Still mulling, but pulling things together.

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