MARKETING VIOLENCE IN VIRTUAL LIVES AND COMPUTER GAMES

Abstract

Author(s): Sinem GDM

In his book titled The Source of Love and Violence (1990:14) Erich Fromm makes a very profound statement saying: "Did Hitler destroy millions of Jews alone? Was Stalin eliminating his political enemies on his own? These people were not alone; thousands of people had helped them to kill and destroy”. The question "Is violence present wherever the people are, or is it present wherever life is?" is an open discussion candidate for a much philosophical subject. There is no doubt that the boundaries of the thin line between survival instincts and violence are redrawn in today's virtual world. Survival, which can be stated as one of the most basic human instincts, tend to reach its peak in violent games. At such moments, all the vital emotions of the individual reaches their peak, and the product placements, together with the application of subliminal messages in advertisements and marketing campaigns, will undoubtedly have an increased effect on the human, who tries to escape the monotonous routine of everyday life. In this case, can it be said that the virtual worlds, created as a result of advanced technologies, almost becomes a rival to the ‘real’ life, and this “simulacra” can be presented in a game format in some cases? Can the increased dosage of violence in Computer Games be used as a marketing technique in the ‘New World’ that hosts virtual lives? The aim of this study is to analyze how virtual violence can be observed through new media platforms, and how this is marketed in real life through computer games. In the means of this paper, the relationship between computer games and violence will be analyzed through case studies (game-based comparisons), qualitative content analysis and descriptive methods. Violence presented in the virtual lives created in games such as Mine Craft, Grand Theft Auto, and SIMS will be observed. Games which were chosen as subjects of case studies are gathered from the world-famous magazines such as PC Gamer and PC World magazines' ‘2015 list of the best computer games of the year" lists. Among the limitations of the study, the small number of published materials in Turkish and limited number of Turkish surveys can be given.

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