12 March 2007

Next step for games: social networking [San Jose Mercury News]

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“Running throughout last week’s Game Developers Conference was the theme that the industry wants to help create better social experiences for gamers,” writes Dean Takahashi in the Mercury News. “Developers are trying to mimic popular sites like MySpace, which enable members to express themselves in their own Web sites and create social networks with friends.”

“While I’m not sure any one company has this figured out, all the chatter clearly shows that everyone thinks there is a gold mine for those who can combine games and social networks. […]

This is happening because people in modern society are suffering from the “lost village” syndrome, says Trip Hawkins, the CEO of cell phone game maker Digital Chocolate and founder of Electronic Arts.

Hawkins’ theory: We’re all basket cases because we no longer live in closely-knit villages. People reside among strangers in big cities far from families, work away from home, and don’t know their neighbors. To him, we’re all desperately using technology to restore or extend our social networks so we won’t be isolated anymore.”

In conclusion: “Game consoles have penetrated only about half the homes in the country. Maybe social networking will get everybody involved.” Remains to be seen, I might add.

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