The political economy of outsourcing: Video game development and media regionalization in Southeast Asia

TitleThe political economy of outsourcing: Video game development and media regionalization in Southeast Asia
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Chung, P.
Affiliation (1st Author)The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Section or WGPolitical Economy Section
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodePEW2c
Slot Code (Keyword)PEW2c
Time of Session11:00-12:30
RoomQ119
Session TitleThe politics and economics of videogames
Submission ID5072
Abstract

This paper examines the political economy of outsourcing in the video game development in Southeast Asia. The paper examines the political economic factors that contribute to the recent rise of independent video game production in Southeast Asia. Literature in media regionalization emphasizes on the role that transnational companies play in creating standardized effect in media consumption among consumers in the region of South America. The paper engages in the literature of media regionalization by applying an institutional approach to study the emerging video game (interactive and digital entertainment) industries in six Southeast Asian countries. The paper looks into the particular dimension of outsourcing in independent game development studios in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. By conducing fieldwork interviews with studio managers, game designers and visual graphic artists, the paper explores the transformation process that enables game industries in the six locations to emerge in global video industry scene.Politics involved in the transformation process will be examined at the level of global-local linkage. The paper conceptualizes media regionalization in Southeast Asia with discussion on the complicate negotiation process between global capital, institution, local labor and (developmental) state. The paper examines the politics of a collective Southeast Asian identity in the new media space. The intention is to articulate Southeast Asia by presenting active interactions that cultural producers engage in negotiating with the periphery position in the global economy. This paper discusses the problematic of a collective regional (ASEAN) identity in Southeast Asia. The paper also discusses the autonomy that is open up with transnational capital entering in the region creating an integrated niche for independent production studios in the region to connect to the value chain of global video game. The paper analyzes the various government regulation, local market mechanism and industry clustered synergy in each country and proposes political economic evaluation to politics derived in the industry formation process. This paper feeds the analysis to the creative industry literature and will conclude the paper with a detailed industry mapping of Southeast Asian game development. An overall clustered effect enabled by transnational capital in Southeast Asia will be used as an emerging form to re-conceptualize new media regionalization in Asia. It will also be offered as an adjusted position tore- define cultural industries thesis in media studies.

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