Modding to the big leagues: Exploring the space between modders and the game industry

Hector Postigo

Abstract


Modding is an important characteristic of participatory culture in video games. Studies have shown that PC game modders mod for a host of reasons not least of which as a means of developing the skills and portfolio needed to get a job in the video game industry. Modding culture can be thought of as a point of articulation between the industry and participatory cultural practices. Modding culture is not only concerned with accessing the game industry however, but also puts a high premium on modding for fun or out of love for a particular community or game. Because it effectively straddles market and non-market interests it is important to study how modders negotiate the two sides of modding, which has been at the leading edge of the participatory turn in media consumption and production. This article undertakes an evaluation of modding discourses, first through an evaluation of surveys taken by moderators of modding discussion forums and secondly through an evaluation of discussions regarding technologies used by modders. The article sheds light on the complex ways in which modders' understand the practice of modding. It is framed broadly within political economic theories that have attempted to map modding in post-industrial logics and within theories that have understood it as a participatory culture. Ultimately this paper discusses other participatory practices, drawing parallels with modding and venturing some observations about user participation in the new media environment.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v15i5.2972



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