11 Reasons Why Massively Multiplayer Games Will Change How Business Works: Part 1

This is the first part of my list of noteworthy aspects about massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs), like Second Life and World of Warcraft. (See Part 2)

I focus on the challenges and opportunities these environments offer for businesses (including news/media organizations), and how we need to reposition our notion of what media is before we can make any sense of it.

       
  1. The media IS the business environment. The convergence of media and technology into what we now call “new media” requires that we redefine what we mean by media. Once we accept that media is more than paper or airwaves, it becomes clear that games like Second Life are part of the media. The main difference is that the media used to be a tool for business. In contrast, this media encapsulates business and becomes an environment rather than a mediator.

  2. Resources are suddenly unlimited. As long as massively multiplayer games remain populated, there should be no reason why these “worlds” can’t scale infinitely — never risking environmental depletion.

  3. The economies are just as real. Second Life is perhaps one of the most poignant examples of a thriving virtual economy that has a real-life corollary. There have been several success stories — particularly in the area of property development. The key driver of this type of economy is in its extension into the real world.

  4. Outdoor advertising is back in fashion. If the real world were safer to walk about we’d probably have much better outdoor advertising. In virtual worlds like Second Life, outdoor advertisements can be interactive, with embedded functionality like a direct link to a call centre, or ordering capability. Also, you seldom have to worry about muggers or vandals interrupting you.

  5. Proximity matters again. The Web made proximity and location irrelevant. There is no such thing as “closer” on the Web (although that could change with the current net neutrality debates). However, in virtual worlds the value of being closer to where a character lives or works is significant — much like in real life.

See tomorrow’s post for points 6-11 in this list.

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