|June 3rd, 2011|
- Virtual worlds have gained great popularity among the younger audience, dwarfing their popularity for most adults.
- Virtual worlds take a lot of time to engage in.
- Virtual worlds for adults have become less and less like worlds and more like single-player or multiplayer games.
- Adults use virtual spaces regularly, but with a very different form of identity control largely focused around real-world ties.
- Richard Bartle is correct in saying that virtual worlds are about self-knowledge. (“Virtual worlds are about identity” — Designing Virtual Worlds, p.433).
- The Laws of Online World Design (in the humbly named “Koster’s Theorem”) are right that “Virtual social bonds evolve from the fictional towards real social bonds. If you have good community ties, they will be out-of-character ties, not in-character ties. In other words, friendships will migrate right out of your world into email, real-life gatherings, etc.”
- Child psychologists the world over are right that youth is a time of identity formation and experimentation.
- Users grow out of virtual worlds. They may grow out of one of them, or all of them, if they achieve sufficient self-knowledge.
- Users might fall back into them if they lose their community ties or sense of identity, or have high amounts of available time.
- Kids find virtual worlds, and being at the prime age for identity exploration, dive headlong into them.
- Then they grow out of them, and don’t need them anymore.
- Most adults don’t need that sort of identity exploration anymore. Some do, and some just enjoy identity exploration in its own right.
- The virtual world boom was about those that did discovering this tool, using it, and then moving on.
A thought I have had for a while, but was brought briefly to mind by this post on NWN… basically, the question is whether it is in fact an inevitable destiny of the medium that it gravitate towards being for kids because of social and market pressures. This would make me sad — not because kids’ worlds are bad, but because they cannot fully express the power of the medium.