A technological ‘Walled Garden’ is often used to limit a user’s access to certain content, which in this metaphor lies beyond the safety of the ‘garden’ – for example, Apple won’t allow its users to use or access 3rd party content on their devices. The reasons for this vary from trying to avoid compatibility issues to trying to achieve a monopoly in a market by cutting off access to competitor’s products; but whatever the reason it does control your usage of the device and your access to content.

Some devices that use the ‘Walled Garden’ principle include gaming consoles like Playstation and Wii. Console companies control which select games they will allow to be released for their consoles, limiting the consumer in choice in order to attempt to create a quality standard. This seriously limits indie game development on these platforms as these developers have to work with pre-determined standards in order to get released – limiting their creativity and causing many indie games to be released and developed on the computer instead, where they have the potential to release a game on a site which has no quality controls (O’Donnell 2014, pp. 223-224). This demonstrates that while a ‘walled garden’ may create safety, it also limits creativity and choice.

walled garden image

(Made on http://imgur.com)

Full article reference:

O’Donnell, C 2014, Developer’s Dilemma: The Secret World of Videogame Creators, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts

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