Week 7/8: Games, third places, meta reality spaces and how the marketplace has changed

 

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Photo Credit: GameSpot.com

Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s blog post about gaming, third places, meta reality spaces and how the market changed, I have combined two weeks work here together.

 

“You can describe anything as a game. A court of law is a game. An election cycle is a game. Life itself is a game.” –  Jeff Hull, creator of the Jejune Institute and its world.

So what is gaming?

The business Dictionary describes gaming as  A Technique in which a group attempts to create

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Photo Credit: Cliquist.com

(simulate) the essential features of a real-world situation of conflict such as a negotiation, court case, or war. The group is divided into subgroups which represent contesting parties and
where individuals play the role of rivals. Used in business schools, law schools, and military, gaming aims to detect and understand the dynamics of particular situations



Virtual Reality 

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Photo Credit: Maker Faire Rome

Virtual Reality is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell , the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world. The only limits to near-real VR experiences are the availability of content and cheap computing power.

 

Social Meta Reality theatre

While researching for this blog post I came across a very interesting article in the english business post.  Allison Crank, a British film-maker who has just completed her thesis in Contextual Design at Eindhoven has turned her attention to eCommerce (The Reality Theatre)  and the possible impact VR will have.  Allison Crank  looks at bricks and mortar retail through the prism of sociologists concept of ‘third place” (“inclusively sociable places” ) a concept made popular by sociologist Ray Oldenburg.  She writes how with the growth of eCommerce bricks and mortar retail is in danger of becoming obsolete. eCommerce at the moment lacks the social element (for example shopping with friends) and ‘theatre’ present in bricks and mortar retail but with virtual reality (VR) there is now an opportunity for the social aspect (multiplayer online shopping) to be brought into eCommerce and in turn for online retail to become  a “third place”.

 

Third Places –  Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)

MOGs are graphical 2- or 3-D video games played online, allowing individuals, through their self-created digital characters or “avatars,” to interact not only with the gaming software (the designed environment of the game and the computer-controlled characters within it) but with

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Photo Credit: Smite

other players as well. The virtual worlds that today’s MMOGamers routinely plug in and inhabit are persistent social and material worlds, loosely structured by open-ended (fantasy) narratives, where players are largely free to do as they please – combate and create and lots more.  The online gaming industry continues to prosper with nearly six million subscribers worldwide. Here is a really cool example of a 3D game known as MindCraft game where you literally can make and Create anything!

 


How had the Market changed

Lastly to finish, so how has the market changed in the gaming industry? for 30 years the games industry worked in a certain way. People rented offices and set up studios to create games; they employed staff to work in-house, then got those projects funded and distributed by publishers. Meanwhile, in the background, the business worked to the seven-year cycles dictated by the lifespan of the major consoles. It was a machine of discrete components. But that machine is rusting and falling apart. Something new is coming. It started 10 years ago. The dawn of the broadband internet era gradually allowed developers to distribute their games digitally, rather than as boxed copies, immediately cutting manufacturing and distribution costs out of their budgets. The arrival of the Apple iPhone created a stable marketplace for the previously chaotic mobile gaming sector, the release of new development applications like Unity, GameMaker and Twine meant that people didn’t need to know how to code to make games, or spend months – even years – developing their own graphics engines.

 

Result

The result is an industry that works in a radically different way than it did a decade ago. We are no seeing this at every level. Take console manufacturing for a start. Until this generation, console makers stuck with one architecture for the lifespan of their current machine, maybe altering the form-factor or HDD size, or adding new features but rarely tinkering with the processing capacity. Now, both Sony and Microsoft are likely to announce mid-lifecycle upgrades to their machines. The rumoured PlayStation 4 Neo should add CPU and GPU power to cope with virtual reality and 4K screens; Xbox One is likely to evolve closer to the PC so that it can run the Universal Windows applications that may unite computer and console gamers. The seven-year lifecycle may be over.

 

 

 

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Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, please feel free to add any comments you may have! tune in next week where I discuss the digital divide in the world today, bye for now 🙂

 

 

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