Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Rosedale at Eduverse Symposium 3

With the Virtual World Conference and Expo barely underway, two conferences are lined up for Europe. Probably the biggest of these is the Virtual Worlds London edition (20-21 october), but the more promising one is happening right at my doorstep (well... practically): The 3rd Eduverse Symposium.
The Eduverse Symposium 3 is scheduled for September 23rd in Amsterdam and has an impressive line-up:

Some (like Philip Rosedale) will be present in the flesh, others will be adressing the symposium through a variety of media.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Forecasting on 2008

In my previous post I already did some forecasting on 2008 and 2009 in terms of where the NVE industry is going. Today, Virtual World News (the guys from the VW Conferences) released a survey on the trends for 2008. In this survey some 45 industry leaders participated.


For a good overview of the contents of the 36 page whitepaper visit Fleeep's blog. My general observation is that each of the respondents is very positive about the developments of the industry. 2008 will see explosion this, massive growth that and so on. Since the majority of the respondents are either from MDC's (Metaverse Development Company) or from MSP's (Metaverse Service Provider) this positive view can be expected. I'm not sure it's fully safe to base your investment plan on their opinion.


The Questions


The questionairre is simple, it's not a long list to pick and choose, but 5 open questions which makes it possible for all of us (not among the 45 chosen) to ponder them ourselves. The questions are:



  1. What are your top 3 trend predictions for 2008?

  2. What business goals have you set for 2008?

  3. What challenges do you expect 2008 to bring for the virtual worlds industry?

  4. A number of new platforms are launching in 2008. What are the biggest impacts this will have on the industry?

  5. How will the above changes affect your specific segment of the industry in 2008?

The Answers

  1. What are your top 3 trend predictions for 2008?
    At this moment I don't have a clear top 3, I see a number of scenario's and trends emeriging this quarter though, here they are:
  • In 2008 we're going to be disappointed in Virtual Worlds. As I've pointed out a few times in the past weeks on this blog the current setup is it's Dozens of Them (which by the initials DOT is probably heading for another dot-world crash). What I mean by this is that we've seen about a hundred big companies immerse in Second Life, all with pretty much the same content: Information stands, auditorium and some entertainment stuff. While these are created with great skills by the MDC's it's pretty much the same stuff over again. Right now, most of these virtual enterprises are Marketing & Communication department babies and they're going to be disappointed as they don't bring USP's and ROI's. From this angle we have to differentiate between type of immersion, like:
    - mere presence
    - branding
    - crowdsourcing
    - engagement
    and forget about Business Development.
  • As a result of this disappointment, more MDC's will have to cut down capacity like ESC, or bring in different expertise. 2008 will see a slight shift from the current MDC's to more traditional IT companies like Sogeti or Capgemini who have longterm relations with their clients and a proper supply of Business Analysts who know their clients core business and have the ability to translate that core business to IT and VW solutions.
  • The former means that 2008 will focus on integration, creating API's and mashups, providing data-mining tools etcetera.
  • From a social point of view there will be disappointment in Virtual Worlds as well, mainly produced by lag and hardware power. 2008 will be a good year for NVidia, Intel, AMD and other hardware producers as both the Gameverse and the Metaverse will require a boost in sheer graphical and processor power. Another fundamental part of this new univerese will be the availability of bandwith as worlds like Second Life use streaming technology and are producing over 8 Gbps in data traffic. It will be up to Internet2 / Lamdarail to put their 100 Gbps network into full production (which will probably be beyond 2008) to service this bandwidth need.
  • The Metaverse in general will concentrate in general on the Extraverse, the branded or themed worlds. Since we do not have the ability (in most cases) to translate our core processes into virtual representations, the NVE industry will still be an instrument in marketing media in 2008.
  • As far as extraverses go, they will get more and more aimed at specific groups, for instance girl worlds like Barbieworld and GoSupermodel will grow rapidly. 4th quarter 2008 might see it's first VW specifically aimed at 50+ agegroups in beta.
  • The majority of funding will be coming from governemental organisations exploring virtual worlds in serieous gaming ventures.
  • Social Worlds will lean heavily on the gameverse to find the key to upgrading registered users to active users. This will mean that more and more storylines will be implemented in the Metaverse and offer new handles for interactive media (convergence with television a.o.)
  • Another challenge for Social Worlds will be the mashup with social networking sites like linked-in, Facebook and the likes. This also brings in the all important question of Identity Management (and in its wake interoperability and portability).
  • On the part of Second Life we will see improvement in stability as Aric Linden's QA team will be finalising their tests on the new Windlight client in January, making it the most stable release Linden Lab has ever produced. Havok 4 will be implemented somewhere mid 2008 as physics engine.
  • Aside from taxlaws and other governmental regulations the industry will gain some significance for retirment funding and insurance companies as more and more people will earn their living in virtual environments.
  • A huge issue will be the "What if I die" scenario: What happens to my second life and my virtual assets when I'm no longer there. When I'm gone, who owns my identity, will there be successionrights?

Okay, past bedtime now, the other questions will have to wait.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Future of Gaming

The first keynote of todays NGI convention on Serious Gaming was given by Marc Overmars, not the soccerplayer, but a professor at the University of Utrecht. Here are my notes:


The future of gaming




First computergame: 1958 brookhave national laborotory: tennis for two.

Development from 1958 to Wii :


  • Better graphics

  • Computer opponents (AI)

  • Storyline (gaining experience, buying better equipment)

  • Internet Play (no hotseat)

  • Interface (1st interface very simple, then lots of settings and now back to simple controls).

Platforms :



  • Consoles

  • PC

  • Handhelds

  • Mobile Phones

Genres:


When we talk about games we talk about a variety of games. It is not only hardcore shooters.



  • Puzzle

  • Sports

  • Strategy

  • Shooters

  • Etc.

NL Most popular games 2006:


Most popular games in the netherlands are relatively innocent games, only GTA could be considered as agressive.



  1. Braintrain (Nintendo)

  2. Fifa 2007

  3. New Super Mario Bros

  4. Grand Theft Auto

  5. FIFA Street.

Gamers:



  • Average age 33, and growing older.

  • 48% female

  • Gaming is a social activity (like in the old days)

Gaming Industry



  • Revenues: 30 billion a year.

  • Making a good game: 10 million +

  • 20 – 100 developers per game.

Serious Games:



  • Education

  • Training and Simulation

  • Decision Making

  • Marketing

  • Arts & Culture

  • User Interface

Why use games:



  • Motivating
    o Storyline
    o Challenges
    o Rewards

  • Adaptiveness
    o Reduction of frustration
    o FLOW

  • Direct Feedback on decisions
    o Better cognitive learning process

  • Always and Everywhere
    o Use of lost hours
    o Use at home
    o More time available for learning

Ingredients of a good game:



  • Storyline
    o Global motivation
    o Suspense or disbelief

  • Gameplay
    o Rules, rewards, challenges
    o Lasting interest

  • Simulation
    o Feedback on decisions
    o Not necessarily realisticE.G. Learning to drive: necessity to watch the rearview mirror, play a shooting game where every assassin comes from behind, learn to watch your back…

  • Social Interaction

In a good game these ingredients are well balanced.

Fields of application :



  • Training use of tools
    - Flightsimulation
    - Driving simulation
    - Simendo (medical)

  • Training procedures

  • Training facts and skills

  • Stimulate behaviour (Remission, Glucoboy)

  • Gaining insight in processes (Social, communication, businessprocesses)

  • Distraction (Pain reduction, Snow World etc)

  • Keep in touch (patients, elderly)

  • Marketing (e.g. America’s Army)

  • Etcetera

Making a serious game:



  • Don’t think you can design off hand, use professionals

  • It takes a lot of money

  • Think about implementation process

  • Train the trainers

  • Evaluate

The better the graphics, the more attention you pay to realistic behaviour. You have more freedom to act outside the storyline, but then the world doesn’t act the way it should anymore. (E.G. Destroy a complete shop in Oblivion and there’s no reaction from the shopkeeper, steal a feather and you will get arrested.)


Trends:



  • World Interaction

  • Adaptive Gameplay

  • Physical Interaction

  • Brain – Machine interaction

  • Location Based Gaming (GIS, GPS) – Frequentie 1550, Triangler (TNO, mobile gaming award 2006)

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