The future of virtual world commerce

 Posted by (Visited 10550 times)  Game talk
Jan 262006

This link popped up in a comment on the OGLE stuff, and it’s worth reading for the mercantile future it envisions for virtual spaces.

It may be quasi-dystopian (and it’ll certainly run into some issues regarding privacy and personal information) but it’s also highly plausible.

  5 Responses to “The future of virtual world commerce”

  1. Advertising in MMOs is interesting and likely one day will become more mainstream but… Product placement in an interractive world bring lots of problems with it when the players choose to not interract with the products in a manner befitting the product.

    The Sims Online tried this and I’m not sure anyone’s come up with a solution to the challenges players will put on your brand.

    The Sims Online

    I’ve always thought there was a future for this but right now I don’t see how advertising and commerce ever get beyond novelty for out-of-game brands. How long till we have a slander or defamation case agains tonline speech in an MMO where branding is concerned?

  2. Raph was kind enough to alert me to this post.

    In response to Derek, I can already tell you I’ve spoken with a few senior corporate marketing types and what you raise – the “manner” in which people might use virtual representations of their products – has come up. However, my argument is that it’s already happening. People can easily grab any number of branded items from the local grocery and make an offensive home video and post that online. In fact, with the arrival of Google Video, YouTube and all the rest, it gets easier every day.

    At some point they’ll come to the realization they have extremely limited control over how their trademarked and copyrighted logo is used. They really only control how they treat the consumers who buy their products (and this relates to Mark Cuban’s recent entry on blog maverick on how theaters are really selling an experience – not a “movie” – and need to be aware of that basic fact. If interested, you can read my entry on his post – Link)

    Let’s not all forget however that as we consumers become empowered, we’d be wise to consider the consequences of entirely ignoring the idea behind intellectual property. Even Lawrence Lessig believes “free” doesn’t always work and that creators should have the right to choose how their work is disseminated. As I’ve stated before, I can both hate what the corporations have done to IP laws through greed and corruption, and still agree that the basic premise makes good sense for everyone. And “everyone” in the future includes individuals creating products that are distributed online for fabrication at home by their customers. The technology currently used in mass production is as old as putting two halves of a mold together. That will change and the world will change dramatically as a result.

    So while the picture I paint is “quasi-dystopian”, it is we, the consumers, who truly have the final say in how “quasi” it becomes. We only have to overcome our apparent addition to accumulating Stuff – our own greed – to avoid it. I’d suggest the first thing we do in the U.S. is ban long-term storage facilities!

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  4. Link died, so I can’t comment on the article specifically. But as for advertising in games, it’s not that difficult for a game like WoW. Instead of the same piece of static art that serves as the loading screens between instances or when loading up the game, just insert ads in some non-easily avoided fashion. The zones are the best given their quickness of the load – as opposed to when you’re first logging on – because you typically don’t have the time to get up and out of your chair. Same thing with the boat from Eastern Lands to Kalimdor in which case, if you’re away for too long, the boat will leave docks back for your origin spot.

    If you can target them to the demographics of the gamer, all the better.

    People will complain, but it’s not like the WoW forums are an area for great academic discourse at the moment.

    Recently, Blizzard accidentally created the most laggy, overpopulated server in the game by opening up a new server to some of the largest PvP servers in the game. Defying previous patterns, a lot of big, established guilds jumped. So, atm, Mug’thol has some of the most established, most practiced PvP guilds and players in the game.

    If only it didn’t have queues – north of 1000 prime time for the past two days – and lag that was worse than the places they left. But if only because the people in queues keep coming back to check to see how they’re doing in the queue, they could even implement scrolling ads that change every minute.

    It certainly solves the problem of ruining the environment of game play or concerns about people interacting with your product in an unintended fashion.

  5. […] Just wanted to make mention of Raph Koster’s heavily-trafficked blog where he’s posted an entry (Link) pointing back to my earlier post outlining a potential future for global commerce (actually, my entry is about the future convergence of virtual and real world commerce). I suspect there might be a few interesting comments posted there, so I’ll not link to my entry in the hopes you’ll come across someone else’s thoughts which spark new ideas/questions/concerns on your end. Enjoy. […]

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