Mindtrek – panel on the Business of playing together
I’m currently at Mindtrek, a 700 person conference on all things in digital and social media. The conference has been great so far. Hearing Marc Davis‘ talk about Yahoo!’s approach to web 2.0 and world 2.0 was a great and inspirational opening to the whole event!
At Mindtrek I did a 20 minute segment on the Business of playing together track talking about the changes in the game industry. I’ll also post that presentation along with the audio track also as soon as I can bend Slideshare to my will ;-).
The panel discussion following the three segments (me, IRC-Galleria‘s Ville Mujunen and Ironstar Helsinki‘s Joakim Achren and host Peter Vesterbacka) was excellent and lasted for more than hour. We had a great audience willing to ask hard questions ranging from policy making in virtual worlds to EULAs to the distinctions between virtual and real items and whether we can have multiple lives (one in a MMO, and then real life persona). Here are some quick’n’dirty notes from the panel
- Virtual vs. real. This was a great discussion on whether virtual items are as real to use as “real items”. The simple answer is: YES, virtual items are just as real. Brain scanning has been used to show our primal responses to receiving an item are “oooh, shiiny!” regardless whether it is virtual item or real. This really comes back to the values we instill in the culture/world we are in. The gift you get your friend is much more the physical gift. It is a social expression of the feelings and emotions your friend has for you. The on-going credit crunch was also used to highlight how something as real as “money” has become highly virtual. If your bank goes away taking your money with you, your money just became very “virtual”.
- Multiple lives vs. roles. It is psychologically impossible for us to have multiple independent personas unless we are schitzophrenic. What we have are roles. I’m a dad, a business man, a colleague, a friend, a leader, a follower, a MMO player etc. I’m still one person and these roles affect each other. It seems there was confusion of the terms at the panel. Regardless of how we call it is clear that we want to have multiple roles to experience different lifestyles, to adapt to different types of social situations, for escapism, for just the fun of experimenting, …
- Funware. I’m a big proponent of a funware (the use of game mechanics in non-game applications). I gave highly opionated comments on how funware can be used e.g. the save world thru cutting carbon emission.
Overall Mindtrek has been a blast. It has been great meeting a lot of interesting people from Finnish startups, VCs, game reseachers and academics and other cool people. Just today I sat down with a lunch with a random person only to find out that he is interaction designer, programmer and game developer. Wow, we had an amazing lunch discussion and had so many shared interests to discuss. This is the best part of Mindtrek – it is a truly cross-discipline, international event with really interesting people.