Resisting the Perpetual Update (new publication)

Jan Švelch, a postdoctoral researcher at the CoE GameCult, has published article “Resisting the perpetual update: Struggles against protocological power in video games” in New Media & Society. Here’s the abstract:

This article explores the evolution of video game updates and patches from a mechanism of customer support to a tool of control over the way games are played in the ecosystem of digital gaming platforms. It charts a historical trajectory across various cultural industries, including literary publishing, screen industries, and music, to show a shift from multiplicity of editions to one perpetually updated contingent commodity. Focusing on the issues of power and control enabled by the always-online platforms, the analysis shows that previously updating was often voluntary. However, now players must actively resist patches if they wish to play the game on their own terms. As illustrated by three case studies of update resistance, developers, publishers, and platform holders wield protocological power, which can be successfully opposed—although the outcome often remains localized and tends to alter a specific iteration of protocol and not the underlying infrastructure.

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