Justin Hall tells Annenberg Center seminar about passively multiplayer online games
November 22nd, 2006

I posted a longer description and a screen shot from Justin Hall’s presentation on “passively multiplayer online games” on the DIY Media blog. Next month, Cory Doctorow and Jennifer Urban will be the speakers in the Annenberg Center DIY Media seminar series.

Justin has fun online, works online, studies and loves and plays online — and on his phone and his Playstation. Why can’t the whole thing be a game — a social game and a knowledge game? While he goes about his day’s surfing, blogging, chatting, tagging, gaming, posting, uploading, downloading. Justin wants to experience the same visible sense of goal-oriented progress he gets in World of Warcraft when he looks at his screens and sees exactly what level his activities have earned him. What if you could get points of various kinds for various activities, and compete with your friends? What if you and your friends and their friends could constitute a sufficiently large population to add collaborative filtering to the mix — making recommendations for things to learn, see, hear play, do? What if you could add social media for p2p and many to many communication, add your location-aware mobile telephone to the mix, and add a productivity function that generates and displays to-do lists? We’re already being surveilled by police and marketers. Why not surveill each other and make a game of it? (“I reserve the right to fit the entire Internet in there,” Hall said, during the discussion following his presentation.)

Hall calls the notion “Passively Multiplayer Online Games,” and describes it as ” a system for turning user data into ongoing play. Using computer and mobile phone surveillance, a user and their unique history. These resulting avatars can be viewed online, and they interact with other avatars online. Examples of data: web sites visited, email addresses, chat handles, contents of email or messaging, contents of word processed documents, digital images, digital video, video game moves.


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