Raph Koster did a 15m intro to the day's Summit, and here are a few notes and quotes.
One sentence takeaway:
Access-everywhere worlds available to people with simple systems on small screens and via social networks is where you'll hit your Really Big Audiences.
Virtual worlds turned 30 last year: the first one was in 1978, was called MUD 1, and it was in Essex, England.
Over half of American adults are gamers. [and presumably all kids]
Just a few amazing things that sci-fi writers predicted decades ago that are coming true:
- $38m being laundered in a Korean MMO.
- Project Entropia is now a real-world bank.
- Virtual goods, often 16x16 jpegs, sold for 99c, sent to a friend and thrown away.
- A congressional hearing streamed into Second Life.
- Taxpayer advocates request that the IRS issue guidance on the issue of virtual earnings and virtual currency.
- China levies a 20% on earnings inside virtual worlds.
- Google opened Lively, ran it for 4 months, closed it... and New Lively opened, in China, ripped to the very last piece of Google's original art. It's live today.
- URU Live - written off how many times - is back as open source and owned/run by its users.
- Lowcost middleware.. almost anyone can set up a virtual world using electrotank or smartfox or whatever
- It is no longer unusual to see a virtual world advert on teevee (as long asyou're on disney or nickelodeon). The cultural penetration at this point: if your kid isn't in a virtual world, they're just not with it. Other kids are probably making fun of them.
- Who's seen the beautiful ads for ComcastTown? That's an ad for a virtual apartment! Here's a cable company who has virtual apartments as one of the facings of their website now.
- We're seeing ARGs - once in a trough - now being used to make things that make me happy. Akoha - a pay-it-forward card game where you do nice deeds for each other. We've seen World without Oil do quite well in terms of garnering audience.
- We see a virtual world on Facebook - YoVille - as popular in North America and EU as WoW. That's a big step.
- We saw the launch of Happy Meal 3.0: McDonalds will give in login codes on every happy meal to get kids into their virtual world. [Noooo!]
And yet the road is not coming to an end, but (again) just beginning:
But we have no universal solution. Flash is announcing the Open Screen Initiative. Unity is gaining traction. The battle for owning the web interactive desktop is ON. That battle is yet to be settled.
The future is not in downloadable clients any more: we have not yet mastered the trick of what I call the "multi-head experience": the experience on your watch, phone, toaster, browser. The ambient world is coming. What is a virtual world in an environment when there is no place, you just have tweets and updates and feeds? Not yet fully answered.
Virtual goods starting to get really real: there are folks in Kenya who keep their savings in safari.com cellphone minutes. These are virtual goods! When we build virtual worlds we don't often think of masai warriors with cellphones. But we're here today to learn about this stuff. We might not solve the ambient cloud question, but we have the best folks working in the field here. It's real and we live and die by the data."