Soft Power of Videogames
Art And Culture

Soft Power of Videogames

Videogames are seen as a key element of soft power and soon “a creative economy committee will be set up by a presidential order in which videogames would also be included,” said Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati, at the closing ceremony of the 5th Videogames Festival on Wednesday (August 26) at Tehran Milad Tower.
Videogame industry is a vital economic sector. “International videogames earned $81.5 billion in 2014 but Iran’s share was only one percent of the global sales”, he said, hoping that the measures taken by the ministry would help improve the industry “achieve a creative economy.”
Producing high quality videogames is important,” Jannati stressed. Sociologists and psychologists believe that games are intertwined with the world of children and young adults and impact their interpersonal interaction and relations with parents, siblings and peers,” Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.
With over 1.7 billion users, it is one of the most lucrative entertainment industries in the world and “we cannot be indifferent towards its content.” The largest nations by videogame revenues are the US ($20.5 billion), China ($17.9 billion), and Japan ($12.2 billion). The largest regions are Asia ($36.8 billion), North America ($22.2 billion), and Western Europe ($15.4 billion).
“As a popular pastime, videogames involve adults too, besides kids, and because of their powerful personal and social impact, there is a revolution in the industry today,” Jannati said.
However, cautioning that they leave both positive and negative effects, he said videogames can help develop creativity, but improper content can lead to negative consequences, including neglect of studies.
Onslaught of foreign culture is easy in countries where knowledge and indigenous cultural values are not given enough attention. But, “on the pretext of the social harm it may cause, we should not stop producing quality local games, since technology is part of the children’s world in modern times.”
Domestic potential should be used to develop quality games based on Iranian-Islamic ethics and traditions that can convey valuable messages to gamers.
The best videogames and mobile game of the year were awarded.

 Quality Control Lab
Earlier in the week, CEO of Iranian Computer and Videogames Foundation, Hassan Qodusi said a videogames laboratory has been set up to provide control over quality of games produced for cell phones.
Mobile games form a major part of domestic game production but a major problem is the lack of equipment to control product quality. Accordingly, an agreement was signed between the foundation and the mobile market to establish a laboratory to improve standards.
“We should determine a mechanism to increase Iran’s share on the global arena. A five-member group is to carry out studies on global and domestic market trends.”
With more than 20 million gamers, Iran is the largest growing videogames market in the Middle East. Iranian companies in recent years have improvised the industry and produced a number of high-tech games which have been successful in the local market as well as drawn attention in foreign festivals.
Media is one of the most important platforms for promoting culture, and although videogames are an effective medium, they have not been regarded thus, and there is need to produce appropriate video games by improving quality and content.


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