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Fun Inc.: Why games are the 21st Century's most serious business
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Fun Inc.: Why games are the 21st Century's most serious business

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3.41  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  30 reviews
People make many assumptions about video games; only teenage boys play them, they increase anti-social behaviour and they tend to be violent. Fun Inc. dispels these misconceptions, revealing that 40 per cent of all video game players are women, that most of the bestselling console games of all time involve no real-world violence at all, and how World of Warcraft's online c ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 14th 2010 by Virgin Books (first published 2010)
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Johnny
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, psychology
Fun Inc doesn’t really explain its subtitle (in the edition I read), “Why Gaming Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century.” At least, it doesn’t demonstrate “domination” in terms of dwarfing or controlling the vast percentage of the economy. A later edition calls it the century's "most serious business." That's a nice play on words, but is it true? Does author Tom Chatfield demonstrate the importance of games as a vital part of human experience? I believe so. Does he manage to show that the indust ...more
Anna
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, apl
The title and the promises on the covers were interesting. So how or why will the gaming dominate the 21st century? That wasn't really answered in a few clear points. I was expecting the why and how to be more around the economy aspects of the gaming.
There were some interesting parts in the book, e.g. gaming history, the current (when it was written in the second half of 2009 so already out of date) economical scale and impact of gaming and the industries and phenomena it has generated.
The aver
...more
James
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Tremendously well-researched and very thought provoking. It deals fairly with the concerns parents have with their kids excessive gaming, but it helped me see that there is much more going on than what I had written off as an antisocial waste of time. The subtitle on this edition-- "Why Play is the 21st century's most serious business"-- is different from the one I read, which is, "Why Gaming Will Dominate the 21st Century." I think both are true.
Alastair Heffernan
Each chapter offers an interesting description of one or other aspects of video games as a force for change. For example, in describing how video games can be used to investigate economic theories, or how sophisticated government structures can develop in worlds like EVE online and what this may teach us about governing online spaces in general. Other highlights included a description of the Scottish governments adoption of gaming in the classroom. I found these vignettes very informative and th ...more
Andre
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Good:
* This book serves as an acceptable introduction to the gaming world for people who don't play.

Bad:
* Very outdated: filled with quotes and facts from games, people and companies that don't matter/exist anymore. An example: XBox Kinect.
Mythreyi
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: work-stuff
Pretty good introduction to video games . Like a collection of essays one might see in newspaper. Touching on a lot of aspect. Personally, I would like more depth as a non-beginner.
Michael
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a comprehensive book championing video gaming, the "fun, inc." of the 21st century. If you don't know much about the gaming industry, you've come to the right place. Here you'll learn about the creativity involved in making games, unusual games (flOw, games for change), the history of video gaming, and the many uses of games (military, education, social action and awareness, etc.). The book is well written, but it tends to jump from one anecdote to another rather than engage in an extend ...more
Nick
Nov 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Greta
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was hoping this book would answer many questions I have regarding why people can spend their lives glued to a screen playing endless "games". But since the book was written by a self-professed gamer, he clearly didn't feel the need to explain that. There was a lot of information about various games and how they work, the origins of electronic gaming, and developments in gaming that have affected other fields. The majority of the book was spent justifying the usefulness and the potential social ...more
Dave Shields
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it


This is an interesting book about the way video games have changed as an industry and how it has changed global communities. The book has a heavy British influence since its author is British so many American readers may be unfamiliar with some of the company names or games but it doesn't cause too many distractions. The book is not as fluid as I would prefer and seems to randomly jump around a lot but overall it makes a good history book and great reading for those wanting to try to develop v
...more
Christine
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Repetitive & the author often loses his train of though, not proving his arguments. However, the gaming history overview is interesting and reading the way in which games are crafted (precise reward rates etc.) was fascinating. Its worth it just to read the last quarter of the book where Chatfield discusses "games for change" (ie. World of Greencraft & Darfur is Dying) and the military & educational applications of games. Would recommend. ...more
Steven Pilling
May 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is pretty good but it is also infuriating, it seems both broad and narrow at the same time and sadly narrow where i wanted it to be broad and vice versa.

Chatfield has a good style, the book flows (think Metzler or Lewis) but i went away not feeling much better informed and slightly infuriated
Craig
Feb 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: games
By now, there are older books that make this very same argument and make it better. This is written in too geek-out of a vernacular to register in pushing games into serious business (the point of the book). Please read GOT GAME by Beck and Wade instead, which has factual data to support its claims.
Becky
An interesting but rather lightweight apologia in defense of video gaming. The author presented several arguments, some based on research findings,on why video gaming is good (or at least not bad), but I felt like perhaps the other side was not acknowledged so it was hard to take the arguments at face value.
Chris Aylott
There are some interesting pointers to further research here, but this is mostly the standard apologia for Why Video Games Are Important. Which is a fine message that I'm sure many people still need to hear, but isn't all that useful to me. I did like the discussion of an epidemic spreading through World of Warcraft; it gives me evil ideas.
Alex
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
I've read that book after seeing a TED Talk of Tom Chatfield. According to the video, I was expecting more of a gamification strategy type of book, but it's not what it was. It only talked about video games, why people like to play, what they are... things I already knew!
Simon Bostock
May 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm kind of pre-sold on this particular idea so I'd already read lots of stuff that was quite similar and, therefore, there wasn't that much new stuff for me.

More of a book to buy for other people.
Ethan Fleck
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not too bad of a read, it gives a pretty concise glimpse of the good and bad of games, and, quite frankly, makes me really excited for my future as well as my children's, not just in games but technology as a whole
Booknerd Fraser
While an interesting subject, I can't say I actually learned all that much. Perhaps it is for beginners rather than an intermediate.
Derek Bridge
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This book treats a phenomenally fast-changing field: digital games. Inevitably, it is already out-of-date. Yet, I think this book is thoughtful, thought-provoking and well-informed.
Megatrend
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Kein neuer Gedanke, aber wohl bekanntes hübsch zusammengefasst.
Eurik
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Important, educational, though perhaps not as much fun to read as I was hoping :)
Saad Usman
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Got to know that the gaming itself is a multi billion $ market in itself.
Interesting way to link it with business.
John Carter McKnight
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: academic
Nothing new, original or interesting, but a decent bit of fluff to give to that family member or friend who doesn't "get" your gaming habit. Kind of a "Cultural Influence of Videogames for Dummies."
Sean
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
A not-too-critical view of the power and potential of video games. Some interesting bits about motivation and games for learning.
Ellen
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
brilliant, really great ideas and good examples for people who don't play games
Jonathan
rated it really liked it
Sep 09, 2013
Sonia Wellington
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable and interesting read.
Jay
rated it really liked it
Apr 16, 2011
Zack
rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2015
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Dr Tom Chatfield is a British writer, broadcaster and tech philosopher. Tom’s books exploring digital culture—most recently "Critical Thinking" (SAGE Publishing) and "Live This Book!" (Penguin)—have appeared in over two dozen countries and languages. He's currently writing a series of thrillers for Hodder set in the world of the dark net.

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