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A web without games

June 13, 2007

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There’s an interesting post on Lee McEwan’s blog showing the Future Exploration Network‘s mapping of Web 2.0.

The thing that struck me is the total absence of computer games, particularly the lack of MMORPGs. Second Life is in there as the virtual world poster boy, but sits somewhat awkwardly between the ‘social networking’ axis and the ‘content sharing’ (sharing?) axis.

While MMORPGs have been around since before web 2.0 they’ve positively flourished after it, starting with Everquest, moving to World of Warcraft, not to mention the hundreds of browser MMOs now available. Perhaps the 3D web, is too web 3.0 for the web 2.0 landscape or perhaps the ‘G’ word frightened them off. G as in ‘game’ that is. While there are just, if not neccesarily accurate critiques of the games industry, the same criticisms can be levelled at those web gurus who ignore the value of games to the growth of web 2.0. In fact the growth of the casual games market the success of the Wii and the even greater success of the DS suggests that games should be taken more seriously, not less seriously.

Gaming communities have long been some of the most consistent and strong on the web and through activities such as modding, addons and machinima have become some of the forefront developers of user generated content, including some of the first UGCers to see genuine commercial benefits from their activities, such as Counterstrike for example.

While some companies, such as EA, may be floundering in the face of web 2.0 and the growth of casual gaming, games have long been at the heart of opensource ideas, such as id’s Wolfenstein and Doom games and remain so. The thing to remember is that it is the hardcore enthusiasts who are responsible for some of the best UGC gaming content, it’s never going to come from the casual gamer, but the same is true for web 2.0 staples like Digg and Wikipedia.

So, I know which map I’m sticking with…

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