The digital game industry has been evolving at a phenomenal rate and can no longer consider console games and the Western market as its primary areas of focus. Social games, casual games, virtual worlds, indie games, and online games all expand the boundaries of what count as games. In addition, markets such as China and Korea and game development companies in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe are challenging the dominance of Western and Japanese firms. How is game studies responding to such changes? Likewise, how is the field coalescing, now that there are dedicated journals, book series, conferences, and academic programs spread around the globe? In this chapter, Mia Consalvo explores how game studies has moved from “indie startup” to mid-career in its own growth trajectory of the last decade. She surveys how scholarship has evolved, what approaches have intentionally (or not) become dominant, and what views have emerged about the “proper” way to do game studies research. The chapter concludes with challenges to the field, pointing to areas that have been overlooked, problems that remain, and the continuing question of the possibilities and pitfalls of making game studies research useful for popular and industry audiences.
Most academic fields have traditions and canons that have evolved over decades if not centuries, always being subject to scrutiny, but also bearing the increasing weight of tradition and expectation. ...