Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Play = communication = learning = creativity

Experience economy has been topical since the beginning of 90s. In 1992 professor Gerhard Schulze wrote about Erlebnisgesellschaft (experience economy) and noticed the rising importance of 'experiences' in our society. In 1996 Michel Maffesoli in his book "The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society" linked the discussion of neo-tribes with postmodern time and described what he perceived to be the transient, spontaneous and affective communities that make up late modern consumer-based societies.

This came even more evident after internet became widespread everyday tool for many with different channels and short- or longterm groups or tribes. In 1999 James Gilmore and Joseph Pine (“The Experience Economy”) and Rolf Jensen ("The Dream Society. How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business") linked the discussion of neo-tribes and experience economy with business.

That was the real kick-off for “experience economy” era and end of information society as technology-driven office-desk community. Where as information was technology, experience is content, participation and emotions. Speed, real time interaction, profit responsibility and experiences have become ideals which will lead to the stage where decision and action is not controlled the same way anymore and where cause-effect start losing its meaning.

Communities, UGC and playfulness all focus on packaging, sharing and delivering the information in an interesting way. People want to have fun, they want to contribute, rank and rate things. They want to stand out, build reputation and have their 15 seconds of fame.

I was involved in Virtahepo project (2005-2006) where we studied how youth workers could utilize the net more 'youth-friendly' way. We made a survey (N=1572) at Habbo Hotel (Finland) and asked what kids (10-18 year olds) would like to do at the online youth house. They wish to have surveys (20% girls /20% boys), one to one discussions (20% / 11%) , games (19% / 35%,) events (15% / 14%)... etc. That was something current Netari-environments Habbo or IRC-gallery could not provide. It seemed difficult to think of any service which would combine all these things together.

Now when talking about the possibilities of elearning or edugames, digital youth work arenas and casual gaming -- it is clear which service is answering many current needs of flexibility. That is of course Facebook. It is a service where people can create something by themselves, modify, share information, add applications, communicate or distribute content, do networking with people from best friends to acquaintances, form groups, play together, share ideas, arrange happenings and invite people to join.

I would claim that Facebook type of "gaming" will be a new trend in casual gaming. It also gives a lot of potential to edugaming, virtual youth work and ways to link benefit with pleasure. People who really are not into nerdy things or gaming like to play with their friends at the context of Facebook where it is not really Playing, it is hanging around and communicating with friends. Also one can compete with their actual friends, not just with random people who have played Zuma for 24/7 for the last five months with unattainable high scores. Playing is not only Game-games, it can also be a "game" to send a fish to someone's acquarium or to compare super hero, TV-program or favourite drink ratings. Anything and everything from hard core to casual gaming, from "Who wants to be a millionaire?" to poker tournaments.

TechDigest has listed 101 more cool Facebook applications. It gives a nice overview of the scale of F-applications. The interesting thing is that many of these applications are mixing benefit with pleasure – offering possibilities for communication and variety of information in a game/fun/experience/entertainment format.

An addition to this because I just learned from another blog:
"Facebook developers recently added a Daily Active Users metric to their Applications page, and those numbers drastically changed my thinking of what games are currently working on the social network." INTERESTING!

"In fact, most FB games attract everyday usage of around 10% or less."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Call for (Finnish) researchers: Youth & SNS

Just a quick note (mainly) for Finnish readers-- we (Finnish Youth Research Network) have collected quantitative data from Japan, South Korea and Finland. The focus group is youth from 15 to 29 year olds and the topic of the survey social networking (online & mobile), users as content creators, web communities, attitudes and trust, etc. Anything and everything related to media use from the "social media" viewpoint. We hope to utilize the data as efficiently as possible. If you are interested to use the data and write an article -- let me know before 1st of Nov. >> skangas [@] welho [.] com.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

FPS / pro- / money fusion gaming

Money gaming is not just gambling or pro-gaming tournaments. So far money gaming has been conventional gambling or "winner takes it all" type of pro-gaming. Now at least Kwari is trying to introduce a bit different approach with their money skill gaming. Kwari is a FPS where every time you hit another player you make money and vice versa. Also e.g. doing damage to yourself, breaking crates or picking up additional weapons have a cost attached. There are different jackpots to go for. Kwari is a skill game where (if I understood correctly) there are no subscription fees but people would pay for ammo and additional weapons.

Another a bit different approach to money gaming is Moola. "Moola is something like a free super-jackpot game show, which allows anyone to become a millionaire on the internet, rather than watching others do so on TV. "

Both Kwari and Moola are now on beta. For me it is not that interesting to see whether or not these games will be successful. I find it more interesting just to look at such "genres" or variations and ponder the future of money-fun game mixtures. What types of "fun games" will have money aspect in them and in what way and how much current money games can contain aspects from fun games (skill, casual...) not to raise a discussion on targeting to youth, game addiction and responsible gaming.

Other "pay for money" games: e.g. SkillGround,, Pogo and Bet on Battles.