Hallo, TN readers.
For some time now I have been processing thoughts on the matter of, if virtual world facilitation of real world social connections and interactions is a previously somewhat unknown essential key to success, which game designers need to have stronger focus on in the future? I guess my question asked, positions me as part of the “suits”, with a question to the “talents” as categorized by fellow guest author Robert Bloomfield, and also reverses Roberts direction arrow of real world actions migrating into virtual worlds, to an apposite scenario of whether virtual world interactions migrating into the real world prolongs the lifetime of the virtual world because of those potentially new bridging connections.
Some months ago I was riding the Metro home from work and observed two separate groups of youngsters in separate booths immersed in World of Warcraft tales of skills, items and battles. Both groups were loud and seemed to pick up the common theme of each others discussions thus both groups started interacting and exchanging experiences from WoW. It turns out that both groups were battling on the same server and before long, exchanged contact information. I admit an encounter of very low probability for happening on a larger scale, but new social connections where made.
Furthermore, in the process of writing this piece, I consulted my younger brother about his experiences with WoW and real life interactions. And he could inform of fierce rivalry with his and neighboring schools, maybe not making new sustainable social connections because of the rivalry but prolonging the virtual interactions because of rooted real world local awareness.
The metro experience and the fierce rivalry among schools added to the core of the question and the need to share my thoughts on the matter. The WoW country specific servers for Germany, French, and Spain etc. would by default have a greater potential of avatars randomly meeting and connecting but would the answer to the question be game quests that have real life interactions implemented for completion (still within the fantasy of the game) or a virtual world extension using context aware mobile phone technology to facilitate migration of social interactions like trading between avatars?