Global Digital Culture| Video Games and the Asymmetry of Global Cultural Flows: The Game Industry and Game Culture in Iran and the Czech Republic
Video games are a global phenomenon that pervades much of society irrespective of age, gender, or social status. The global video game culture is inherently asymmetrical, with games produced in particular regional centers dominating the markets. As a result, local video game production and consumption are intrinsically hybrid cultural practices that accommodate cross-cultural encounters. This article analyzes the personal, institutional, and cultural dimensions of video game production and consumption in two increasingly important, yet understudied, regions: Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It uses case studies on the Czech and Iranian gaming scenes as examples. Beyond the politico-economic aspects of video game production, the article empirically analyzes the manifestation of Czech and Iranian gaming cultures on social networking sites and their connections to global game culture. It examines the audiences of global, Iranian, and Czech gaming sites on Facebook and explores their similarities, differences, and affinities through normalized social distance computed based on their fans’ likes. Overall, the article aims to offer a more nuanced picture of game cultures across diverse global contexts.