Monday, 11 January 2010

Virtual World Value

There is an interesting article on the Guardian site by Tom Chatfield called Why playing in the virtual world has an awful lot to teach children. The article starts off with some groundwork around yet more studies showing the possible harm that too much gaming can do developmentally and then explores some of the highly complex interactions that do indeed take place in and around these gaming worlds. While I do like to see this side explored, what is missing for me are are some simple checks that we are comparing the same things. When we look at young kids playing games, they often arent these large complex worlds, they are 2 characters spin-kicking each other, or a being one of a small band lobbing grenades at each other - plus the vast number of simpler games on mobiles, and consoles everywhere. This is a very different place to the complex social and political world that does exist in EVE and similar games. The complexity that arises there is generated primarily by much more mature players, it is adults that perform the analysis and create models like the DKP.
So - it would have been nice to see a clear distinction made between some 10 year olds all glued to their respective mobile gaming platforms vs the adults in their homes doing complex evaluations of strategy and statistics in the context of a player organisation with roots in-game and on the internet. Most of these other games have no form of in-game communication and dont generate (due to simplicity) the same level of discussion outside of the game. 2 WoW players can talk for hours about their respective experiences, while 2 minesweeper players cant really (insert one of many such games btw).

Oh and just one more thing, Lots of those "tens of thousands of comments" in the forums are from kids with not alot more helpful to say than "my lock pwns your class loser" or "pff I solo that dragon 40" - quality, not just quantity is the argument of the article - or should be.

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