Worlds are going to have to turn themselves inside out. What was once closed, will have to be open (Wonderland).
The very notion of the MMO being the hub of our social networking and gaming life is appealing, but I must say, I have numerous reservations about how this could and should be implemented.
MMO and Social Networks
We can use these to target specific groups though, and to talk 2-way with our consumers. Social Networks reached over to the game space and pulled games and gamers into their networks in order to drive growth (Wonderland).
Social Networks could be used for so much more. Imagine:
- if they offered portable friend lists so you and the friends that you allow, can easily see which MMOs you are currently playing with character and server information.
- if friends you made in game (that you allow), could be automatically added to your friends lists on the social networks that you use to allow you to make deeper connections with these people.
- if there was an automatic, "online as ..." so your friends would know you which game you are on, which server and who you are playing.
Of course, all of these features would have to be opt in, and have privacy options that would allow you to choose who and when these notifications are visible, but imagine the deeper connections you could make with other players if these features were enabled across all MMOs.
MMOs and Virtual Worlds
I am not a big fan of virtual worlds like Second Life, mainly because I do not know many people who use them, or what I could do there.
Like many of you, my time is limited, and I tend to spend my time in City of Heroes where I have friends and know what I am doing. If I could easily import my toons appearance into one of their virtual worlds I would be much more likely to try them out.
I frankly don't have the patience to create dozens of avatars simply for the purpose of trying out a virtual world. It would also be nice to know if any of my friends are online without having to log in to find out. These features would increase the chance that I would try these out.
MMOs and Other Games
So many games today have an online component, and it is a no-brainer to bring these into a more inclusive social network for all of the reasons I mentioned above.
MMOs as a Three in One
...you have V(irtual)W(orld)s, Social networks and Game space: MMOs are the meet point for all three. As these three worlds combine, the MMO becomes a unique meet spot and launching pad to take the best of these worlds together (Wonderland).
I can see their argument that an MMO is a mashup between the three, but they need to be opened up for more user involvement and out of game connections.
How? I will go into more on the hows in the next post in this series.