Who really gets this area, Americans or Europeans or Asians?
In the States, I've been at conferences about games and stuff where everyone has a laptop linked by 802.11 to the world and each other, the whole thing being live-blogged, comments flowing around, everyone clicking and clicking and clicking. Nobody's playing avatar games though.
I just got back from Manchester. There wasn't any wireless, but there was lots of reference to buzzing academic activity - game-design programs all over the place, government-sponsored game research from places like Ireland, the Game Research Center at ITU Copenhagen (/em drool), the Ludologists, etc.
I've never been to an academic game conference in Asia, don't even know if they have them. I've never met, or even heard about, a MMORPG researcher who has played Lineage. (Grad students: will someone PLEASE get a Fulbright to Korea on this?) But they have subscriber numbers that dwarf those in US/Europe.
So, Asia has the code and the users, with the US a distant second. Europe has the government interest and the research centers, with the US again a distant second. What does America have? Highspeed internet access in the hotel, so you can ditch the last conference session and go do some more blogging...
I'm making worthless generalizations of course. What's the reality?