‘Making Sense of Virtual Worlds and User Driven Innovation’ Day Two

I continue my summary of the Virtual Worlds and Innovation Workshop held by the Virtual Worlds Research project at Roskilde University. Day two began with a keynote presentation by Associate Professor Mia Consalvo (School of Telecommunications, Ohio University) entitled ‘When casual became hardcore, and social went asynchronous: Exploring the changing landscape of virtual worlds and online games’. The video stream of the keynote is available from here. For an introduction to Mia’s presentation here is an extract from the Abstract;

This talk explores how conceptions of virtual worlds and online games have changed radically just in the past several years, from a predominant focus on hardcore FPS and MMO players to new types of games and new sorts of players. To so do it draws from recent empirical research exploring the “casual” MMO Faunasphere and its player base, as well as analyses of social games currently popular on the Facebook platform. In doing so, it questions how useful current theories of gameplay are, how we can best understand players, and how game studies must evolve to better confront such challenges.

In the discussion that followed Mia’s presentation, Jay Bolter made the point that Consalvo calls into questions the procedures centered on game play across cultures. She does this through a combination of culture, technology and play in the analyses. In a similar approach Mitchell Harrop from Melbourne University said that Australia, as a predominately European culture is situated in a predominately Asian time zone when it comes to online game play. As a result most Euro-Australian gamers play with Asian gamers. The implication is that there must be cross cultural exchange as a result? Research into this area of online gaming is needed and promises to be an exciting development.

Following a short break we were treated to a PechaKucha 20×20 session of presentations. I had never attended a PechaKucha before:

PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace. (MORE)

The PechaKucha session was comprised of five presenters. HUMlab friend Maria Bäcke presented on Leadership in the role-playing community Midian City in Second Life. Mikala Hansbøl presented on Researching processes of agentizations and emerging circulations of Mingoville.com. Simon Bignell spoke about Developing Innovative Problem-based Teaching in Virtual Worlds. Ates Gürsimsek gave a presentation on Co-creating “Second Life”: An analysis of collaborative co-design processes of interactive virtual environments in community-authored social virtual worlds. Finally Damon Hernandez gave a presentation on The Building Industry of the 21 Century.

The PechaKucha is effective for providing a fast overview of the topic areas. It was an intense session but it did give insight into what the presenters were doing in their various research and work fields. What was learned in the PechaKucha could be taken up in breaks and the workshop sessions.

In the evening of day two of ‘Making Sense of Virtual Worlds and User Driven Innovation’ we were part of a Metanomics broadcast entitled New Market Dynamics: Metanomics Mixed Reality Broadcast. The entire stream for the broadcast can be accessed from the second link. Some background:

This Metanomics Mixed Reality Broadcast, hosted by Robert Bloomfield, will comprise a panel discussion between Robin Teigland, Edward Castronova, Tom Boellstorff and include streaming from the RL research workshop ‘Making Sense of Virtual Worlds and User Driven Innovation” in Copenhagen comprising 40 international participants and co-hosted RL by Sisse Siggaard Jensen.

The business aspect of virtual worlds research and use is not something I am so familiar with but I am glad I have been introduced to it.

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