Applying Hybrid Interactive Rhetoric Engagement (H.I.R.E.) Concept to Study Digital Game Advertising: Theoretical and Methodological Implications

Applying Hybrid Interactive Rhetoric Engagement (H.I.R.E.) Concept to Study Digital Game Advertising: Theoretical and Methodological Implications

Yowei Kang (Kainan University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3114-2.ch008
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Among many popular digital game platforms, MMORPGs is a popular game genre that attracts a lot of attention. Companies have increasingly used digital game platforms to target young gameplayers. In examining digital games in general and MMORPGs in particular, digital game and advertising scholars often conceptualize gamers' interactions with hybrid interactive contents in advertising embedded in digital game platforms as an object that can be studied and analyzed to develop a theory of intertexuality to understand its praxix as demonstrated in this popular advertising platform. This chapter introduces the concept of hybrid interactive rhetorical engagement (henceforth, H.I.R.E.)—to examine players' multi-modal interactions as intertextual objects when they interact with digital game advertising. The chapter examines how H.I.R.E. can be applied to study the intertextuality of digital game advertising by exploring its theoretical and methodological implications for digital game as well as intertextuality scholars.
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Digital Game Research as an Emerging Discipline

The digital game market is predicted to grow 1% annually until 2017 (PRNewswire, 2014). According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (2015), it is estimated that global digital games revenue will grow steadily through to 2019 and reach $93.18 billion by 2019. The estimate by U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (2016) provides a similarly rosy figure, suggesting the global digital game revenue will reach $93.2 billion in 2019. Digital game industries around the world have been growing rapidly (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, cited in Bureau of Industrial Development, 2013) growing from $52 billion USD in 2008, $55.42 billion USD (in 2009), $61.29 billion USD (in 2010), $62.19 billion USD (in 2011), $63.44 billion USD (in 2012), $68.13 billion USD (in 2013), and $73.32 billion USD (in 2014) (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, cited in Bureau of Industrial Development, 2013). The global digital game sector is expected to reach $77.93 billion USD (in 2015), $82.61 billion USD (in 2016), and $80.98 billion in USD (in 2017) (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, cited in Bureau of Industrial Development, 2013). In the United States, digital game revenue is expected to reach $19.6 billion by 2019, showing a 5.5% from $16.8 billion in 2016 (International Trade Administration, 2016).

Data from the trade association, the Entertainment Software Association (henceforth, ESA) have stated that digital game companies directly employ over 42,000 people in thirty-six states in the U.S. (Siwek, 2014). The U.S. retail sales of digital game products and equipment have reached $15.4 billion in 2013 alone (Siwek, 2014). Overall, the digital game industry has added $6.2 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Siwek, 2014). Compared with the entire U.S. economic growth of 2.4%, the annual growth of the digital game industry is steadily at 9.7% per year (Siwek, 2014). The best-selling digital games in 2015 includes Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Madden NFL 16, Fallout 4, Star Wars: Battlefront, Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K16, Minecraft, FIFA 16, Mortal Kombat X, and Call of Duty (Advanced Warfare) (International Trade Administration, 2016).

In addition to the economic rationale, the growing importance of digital game research as an emerging discipline is justified by the rapid gamer population growth. The global diffusion of various digital gaming platforms has also led to the rapid growth of gamer populations around the world (Soper, 2014). It is estimated that there are 1.2 billion gamers around the world (Soper, 2014). The Asia-Pacific region has the largest number of players (PRNewswire, 2014). Digital game revenues in Asia are expected to reach about $20 billion in 2015 (equivalent of 38% of the world market) and $21 billion in 2016 (SuperData Research, 2015). Among many countries in Asia, Japan is the largest digital game market in Asia, with its annual growth being 16% higher than that of China (SuperData Research, 2015).

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