Edited by Christoph Beat Graber and Mira Burri-Nenova
Chapter 3: User Created Content in Virtual Worlds and Cultural Diversity
3. User created content in virtual worlds and cultural diversity Mira Burri-Nenova* INTRODUCTION States have felt compelled to intervene in conventional markets for audiovisual media to correct the inherent market failures and secure some public interest objectives, among which cultural diversity has been prominent, in particular in the European tradition. In the past decade or so, however, the media landscape has been profoundly transformed due to the pervasive digital technologies, the emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web, which between them have changed the entire information and communication environment.1 They have also given birth to distinct new phenomena and processes, such as peer production, user participation and interaction. These correspond to new patterns of business and consumer behaviour that surface along the whole value chain of cultural content creation, distribution and consumption, and transform it. It is not unlikely that these novel processes, which are essentially dynamic in nature, have in store even more radical changes down the line. While it is debatable (if not to say improbable) that the existing analogue/offline cultural policy measures can still appropriately achieve their objectives in the modified ‘old’ audiovisual media, such as television,2 a question that is becoming increasingly pressing is whether indeed the ‘new’ media, such as digital games, are themselves in dire need of culturally-oriented intervention. The urgency of this need is contingent on the augmented economic, societal and cultural value of these virtual realities and their effect upon real * Thanks for comments on earlier drafts are owed...
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