Researchers have long studied a few well-worn topics in games, particularly their violence and effect on social interaction. But newer, more sophisticated games, from ``The Sims'' to ``Everquest,'' take advantage of growing computer power to give players far more choices -- and more profound experiences.
You don't say! All familiar names in the article: Murray, Crawford, Jenkins, Aarseth, Frasca, Zimmerman. And Jesper Juul is featured as "the first person anywhere to ever get his doctorate exclusively in video game studies."
By raising the bar on game criticism and analysis, [academics] hope to also raise the bar on how games are made and how they are perceived by the public -- and the courts.
Update: Re the quote about Dr. Juul: a commenter points to Mary Ann Buckles, "Interactive Fiction: The Computer Storygame 'Adventure'", Ph.D. diss., University of California, San Diego, 1985. Obviously Dr. Juul is not the first person to study games and play. He himself has called game studies a "repeatedly lost art."
Update2 :Various perspectives in the comments field below. Nick Wadhams, who authored the article, explains his authorial intent. Thanks, Nick!