In large part, this is because the online game industry is a symbol of digital technology and its integration with youth culture. Several global media and computer corporations, including IBM, Philips, and Disney, have expanded their roles in the game sector globally, and several local-based TNCs, including Shanda in China and SK Telecom and Samsung in Korea, have become involved in this booming digital economy and culture. These TNCs became global megamedia giants by acquiring smaller developers and publishers. Digital entertainment can evolve from the blossoming of the small-scale high-tech industry amidst post-Fordism, as the expanding power of media conglomerates unequivocally demonstrates (Kline, DyerWitheford, and de Peuter 2003, 171). The online game industry has been a battleground among major TNCs seeking global leader status in the dynamic, high-margin game world. The online game industry has adopted commercial strategies similar to those of the Hollywood movie industry, the cultural industry perhaps most closely associated with the process of globalization for the past 80 years. Major online game companies have expanded on a global scale, vertically and horizontally integrating through capital investments, alliances, and takeovers, as they seek to control platforms, content development, publishing, and distribution (Kerr and Flynn 2003). More importantly, many online game firms have transnationalized through the exchange of people, new business models, and financing systems. Very few scholarly works have been written that explain the recent transnationalization of the online game industry and how these changes have transformed the industry. This chapter examines the structural transnationalization of the online game industry, recent trends of TNCs, and their engagement in the online game industry to ascertain whether these trends are confirmation that TNCs play pivotal roles in the cultural market.
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