– Because you know the world has no point…Really
Are you a big spender, a lowlife, a gamer or a business man?
What’s the point you probably ask. Until recently it didn’t matter one diddle-ley-do if you were one or the other. But with Blizzard’s biggie-big launch this week, things could begin to look a whole lotta different for a lot of people – and the industry. But alas, the future of gaming is under rapid change these years and from several sources. STEAM, streaming and rent-on-demand services – you name it. The gaming industry is suffering from the same “cloudy” business as did the music and video industry some years back.
But wait, that was me getting momentarily distracted. Therefore I should like to start with a little history first to nicely warm up this topic.
In the year of 2008 I had the mixed pleasure of writing my masters assignment about virtual worlds – particularly the big gig “Second Life” which at this time had one hell of a party in the Danish Media. Ofc all the leading companies in Denmark had to be present in Second Life, so ofc we tried to get them to talk about their engagement in Second Life. In the sobering light of afterthought I now know that they would not share their experiences with us, because… well, they didn’t really have that much of a experience to talk about. So we had to rely on some public institution who gave us their version of the show.
The outcome of all the Second Life-buzz made two things very clear though:
1. Companies with an online profile in any virtual world or social media – should also be online and therefore present in this or that media and/or world. In other words: Don’t enter social media if you havent any intention of fullfilling your presence. And if you don’t, well boo hoo for your online image!
2. Real money in virtual worlds are changing the way we participate, communicate and act when we’re logged in. We all know the story of that chinese “real estate” lady whom apparently made a fortune in Second Life. The ability to channel your funds to the real world offers a whole set of new opportunities.
3. Since Second Life quickly died out, other worlds saw a boom too – although these worlds were so small and insignificant that they hardly mattered to the greater part of the population.
All that is about to change now.
Second Life required extreeemly big talents for managing your character, your keyboard and your level of boredom. Because, let’s face it, why did people come into Second Life? …Why do you think there’s so many pages on the internet containing barely dressed women??? Whereever you go on the internet, sex will pave the road.
Or will it?
The new, online computergame with massive delay has finally hit the red carpet of the gaming centers around the world. In its short lifespan though it has managed to piss off more gamers with its server troubles than Obama did the Americans when failing to swirl a magic duster over the economy and create growth and health. Well, technically, he increased the possiblity for a better health with the free-hospital-for-some-package, but let’s leave that out for now, shall we? 😉
In a short time Blizzard launches the new real-money auction house, where you will transfer your hard-earned gamers money into a lot of real Lincoln-monis. One could say that Blizzard is tired of the massive amount of gold sellers for the WoW-game, which is not a lie – so maybe they just took the economy into their own hands – or game – instead.
Nevertheless: Real money and gaming has finally blended together, if not in a new way, then in a deeply intertwined way. There are 3 reasons why I think this will add a significant “something” to the gamer culture:
1. The amount of players: We’ve already seen how the industry of gold farmers in WoW has changed the way we play. If I want money to buy things – I buy them, be it a mount, a shiny new flying carpet or whatever else that has taken my fancy. Both in Blizzard’s own store, and outside you are able to buy stuff and money to buy stuff. Instead of trailing that road for mining nodes with determination and patience, the new generation of gamers has grown impatient and we wantz goldz! (Well, not me, but – but – them!!! Evil teenagers!!!) Also, you buy virtual property to be used in a virtual world – with no other purpose than to show off and obtain more expensive stuff. You can’t deny the human nature… 😛
2. Human nature wants expansion. That is what they get with Diablo III. The ability to game your time away in a leisurely fashion – and even earn money on it. Ofc there will be a lot of gold sellers sniffing up those winds and they will undoubtly try to expand their – er – business, but overall, Blizzard has made a very tempting cocktail for those males (and females) – which of whom always dreamt of becoming a stock broker but didn’t have the cash to pay the university bills. Here is a chance to prove you don’t need musty old books – or professors – to earn money.
3. The gamer society. Compared to Second Life, Entropia and all the other small-ish virtual worlds, Blizzard has a faithful share of gamers in their big hand. Back in 2008 you were lucky if you even met another person when traveling the roads of Second Life. Diablo III will have a much larger userbase than Second Life or whatever else world in the cloud that you know. Say hello to entrepreneurial minds of Diablo. I know one of them. He’s called “boyfriend”. This boyfriend has already made up a big Excel sheet with various rows and pivot tables. He’s ready to rumble, I tell you… And he’s giggling like a girl when he buys up stuff and sell it again with a big profit. Working this game as a business man has it’s perks…
Therefore it matters if you’re a business freak, a stock broker, a banker or a person with ambitions of becoming either. The interesting thing is, how hard this will affect the overall gaming society – and whether Diablo III will be a new business adventure for those really hardcore people like the “Second Lifers” – or just another casual game for most.
A qualified guess is that it will be something in the middle. How many of the “Second Lifers” were actually gamers and not web developers anyway? 😉