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Partial virtual world recovery

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Oct. 7th, 2008 | 07:20 pm

Well, in practice, since there were lots of people already in town with hotels booked, there was still Virtual World Forum activity after the shooting at the original venue, which is good because they're unlikely to be able to reschedule it before next year really. A bunch of people hung around at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden, "networking" and, today, doing some impromptu seminars on assorted virtual world topics, which worked out quite well.

I won't list the whole thing obviously but

  • Subscription-based models are likely to go out, and micropayment-based ones in; lower barrier to startup ("free to play but get your credit/payment card out if you want better stuff" is a lot easier to get people started on), better ability to have differential pricing schemes, all sorts of reasons not least that actually, you can run a subscription system with micropayments anyway.

    Discussion about dual- vs single-currency systems, different spheres of purchases for different currencies, social and game effects of these, secondary markets etc were good but a bit long for this summary, though I did have an interesting chat with someone involving in launching games in SE Asia about differences in attitude to RMT (Real Money Transaction) systems within games. According to him, and this was generally confirmed, it is considered absolutely fine to have got your Sword Of Infinite Ownage by paying for it and things like power-levelling are par for the course, whereas in the West they're usually considered "cheating" in some way.

  • Subscriptions are good for kids' games though, since they allow parents to pay but not have to worry about the kid killing their credit card.

  • In the next few years the major area of growth will be in SE Asia. After that, predictions are that it will be in Europe, oddly enough. I would have thought that Europe was quite heavily penetrated already but apparently not.

  • In this context, adjusting games to match cultures they will be launched in is very important. Some things just flop because there are no cultural reference points, characters don't behave in ways that players expect them to, and so on. Trad Western fantasy will not just work everywhere - WoW already had long experience of supporting Warcraft in China, say.

  • Entropia Universe, about which I've always been a bit "hmm" and "they're not going to last long" based on their activities and reports from people who've tried it, are not only still going but appear to have signed some massive deal with Chinese government and corporations (the distinction is a bit vague at times) to provide black-box servers for whole worlds. Either that or they're really good salespeople. Or both. Well, they'd need to be really good salespeople to achieve that. Anyway, they've gone up a bit in the "should pay attention to these guys" stakes for me though I don't have much interest in their game as it is myself. Quite personable guys I thought.

  • Nobody agrees with me about the importance of user-generated content in startup social worlds (games, it's a lot easier for the design team to generate enough content to keep people interested). Pfft. Experts - what do they know? Actually I think I really do have a good argument there and can back it up with lots of examples, but I didn't push it.

  • I have never seen so many MacBook Pros as I did in the Hospital Club. There were lots of them in the VWF area - everybody had a laptop I think, as you'd expect - but it's a large building and has a lot of people in it. There's a bar area which is apparently used a lot for little meetings and I swear that every single laptop there was a MacBook Pro, usually the 15" model that I myself have. Well, it's fair enough, it's a reliable and respected high-spec laptop that does well with intensive graphics work, and there is still Apple chic in the media world.

  • When asked "audio, video or interactive?" I am "interactive".

  • I still do not have the "networking" instinct, at least not offline.

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Comments {1}

soho_iced

(no subject)

from: soho_iced
date: Oct. 9th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
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You have to do the kissing on both cheeks thing, even if it's somebody you only know vaguely: that's the first step. Or does that work with techie networking? There must be some equivalent.

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