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    Howdy. This is Bob. The Bob of Bob Blog. This blog contains about five minutes of my thoughts each day. A record. A history. And occasionally worth reading.

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    Monday, August 11, 2003  

    I decided to post my response to some questions about the future of online gaming. Just my guesses. Not that of my employer or anyother person. However, I'm not sure if this will make 100% sense without the main thread that some of my answers refer.

    1) Where do you see online multiplayer gaming being in 10 years time? (Just a snapshot, in terms of size of market (broad terms, not numbers if you’ve not got them), kinds of games, speeds, communities, etc)
    A lot more like Yahoo games than EverQuest.
    I agree the social aspect is the key to multiplayer games.
    The broad audience doesn't want "game" as much as
    entertainment, a chat room, friendships, connections
    to people, a place to feel accepted. I like to think about
    this in terms of what games would my parents play, what games
    would my girlfriend play, what games would the business person
    want to play.

    The virtual holodeck that Dave talks about is why mainstream
    media were excited about SimsOnline and SWG. I still think
    there will be a niche for giant online worlds. With quests
    and adventures and politics and more and better of what
    the next wave of MMOs are promising. It is hard not to image
    worlds as convincing as movie effects except in real-time.

    Still not a lot of broadband in the US (especially out west
    where distances don't make as much sense -- unlike Korea/Europe.)
    There will never be enough bandwidth anyway since the limits
    are often on the server not the client.

    I envision a lot of cellphone/palm-centric games. I'm not sure what
    they will look like but imagine that Cathryn is on the right path.

    2 Even on console, the user base still hasn’t exploded. Can online gaming ever break out of the hardcore to become mass-market? Why?
    It will. Go take a look at Yahoo's numbers; they are significant.
    I agree with Dave -- not mass market numbers for hardcore games.
    But the mass market being entertained by interactive entertainment
    and online communities.

    Play along with Jeopardy or any other game show at home.
    Play keno on a wireless device while walking to/from lunch.
    Compete in an intergalactic trading game that lasts months if
    not years. Meet new people (near you physically) while at a
    sporting event or concert.

    Ever play the bar game of trying to predict football plays?
    What if 20,000-60,000 of the people in the stadium were playing
    and the winners gets a prize (their name on the score board.)

    3 Voice is doing great things on Xbox Live. Can you think of applications for that technology that we’ve not used yet? What?
    4 What about a similar thing with cameras and EyeToy’s over broadband. Could that add to games, or would people miss the anonymity?

    Dave hit this one exactly:
    "Most people want to express their personality in some form, not conceal it. If you’re going virtual clubbing, what you want is to be able to buff up without spending all day in the gym. With the right software, you can do that with your own image. And some people will still opt for virtual masks instead; it’ll be interesting to see how the "reals" react to the "avatars".

    I just found a reason for putting in the flat panel display
    next to my TV -- videoconference all my friends while watching sports.
    (I have a TiVo so it would be hard to coordinate with friends to watch
    TV live... but that might just be enough to get some people to view
    shows live.) We'll all look goofy with headsets on, so the mic system
    will have to get more advanced.

    I also think voice will become more of controller. And games that
    follow your eye/head movement for ingame movement.

    One problem with voice/video is the grief potential (hard enough to
    get a proper profanity filter on text).

    5 Are the fully-integrated Majestic-type games, which email you and SMS you, the future or a red herring?

    Can you envision your mom playing? If not, probably not the mass market
    idea. But I can definitely see a niche for this type of game.

    Giving out another free idea: local area assassin. Your cell phone
    plots your location and the location of others playing the game near you.
    If you get close (within a mile? 100 ft? ) your phone alerts you.
    If you can get a photo (from the phone) or hit their phone with
    an infrared message, you get the kill. Imagine the guy in the
    suit walking ahead of you suddenly starts running because his
    phone tells him he is being tracked by an enemy. Or you spend
    your 20 minute commute wandering the subway looking for a victim.

    6 Will all games eventually end up online and multiplayer?

    Agree again. Definite no.

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