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Xbox, Wii, PS3--Gamers of the World, Unite!

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on September 30, 2007

The gaming community is one of the most thoughtful and passionate of all of society’s “new” social media communities that have grown up in recent years and there is enormous evidence of this in the two blog threads that shaped terrific conversations over the past week. “Xbox Against Wii And Playstation—Who Has The Strongest Community” really shows how a conversation over social networking via social networking can develop new insights—and community.

The exchange between b4hoops and csven was especially insightful—both agreeing that “letting go” and giving ownership to participants is the best way to shape gaming—and probably the best way to shape a gaming business model. Here is one quote from the exchange:

“b4hoops,I understand where you’re coming from, I just think the drubbing Nintendo has given both MS and Sony should push them both to be more innovative in ways *other* than hardware advances; especially when there is plenty of evidence to suggest that giving players some real sense of ownership can be a great way to build a community and strengthen a property (e.g. NWN). It’s instructive, I think, that Second Life’s *real* growth came after a change in the social covenant and not after the addition of some code or feature. By granting users ownership and facilitating their independence - in effect, by letting go - Linden Lab laid the groundwork for a platform that still has no contemporary and continues to grow in spite of its many failings.

In other words, I don’t understand why console companies don’t consider Open API-style practices relevant to their business. Unless, of course, they see it from only a technical point of view or an entrenched IP ownership point of view; neither of which has faired well of late.

We’ll see, I suppose. But if Nintendo announces a marketplace and takes the lead in promoting user-generated content, and as a result delivers a second slap to the faces of MS and Sony, I’ll not be surprised.

There are two ways to deal with competitive environments: cede the leadership and become a follower to avoid mistakes, or take intelligent risks and learn from the inevitable mistakes. Personally, I’m a “fail early, fail often” kind a guy.

All the best.

My question or rather appeal to the gaming community is how can you transfer this knowledge and this way of dialoguing to solutions, agreements and new forms of community in the political space? As the political season heats up, we are once again entering a political system incredibly divorced from our society. Social networking is direct democracy. Voting for a President is indirect democracy (you vote for representatives of an Electoral College who then vote for you—maybe). The divorce between the two realities is truly mind-boggling. As is the primary system, where a tiny number of partisans can determine all the votes for a state going into a convention. Again, the culture of social networking is antithetical to this political culture.

We have lots of use of the web by politicians these days, with videos on YouTube and partisan blogs and money-raising. But what is not happening is a restructuring of the electoral system and the political system itself to reflect how we communicate, think, design, and build new ideas through social networking.

Gamers are in the thick of social media. Maybe they can point the way.

Reader Comments


October 1, 2007 7:13 PM

For the record, I wouldn't say I'm a member of the "gaming community", Bruce. I don't belong to a guild, and relatively speaking, I don't play very many videogames. I don't spend very much time on mod forums anymore, either. And I have less time than I'd like to explore all the emerging virtual worlds popping up on the radar. And my consulting work to that industry was design- and brand marketing-based; not "game"-based.

If I'm a member of that community, then I'm also a member of the independent, low-budget film community (we just happen to currently have a very good discussion going regarding film distribution problems for indies, btw).

I'd also then be a member of the marketing community, since I spend quite a bit of time on marketing blogs (more time than on game sites) and my own blog is somehow considered by many readers to be a marketing blog, which surprises me.

Add me as well to whatever community is trying to develop business models that incorporate both new technologies and the sometimes business-model breaking activities users prefer. As a result of my blog and entries on those topics, I count among my acquaintances a number of impressive business thinkers - some of them editors.

And I guess I'd be a member of whatever "global" community is considering other, bigger issues... from "Molecular Rights Management" to the economic and social problems facing weavers in India.

I've also been known to go a few rounds with some well-known pundits on the subject of intellectual property and DRM. Not sure there's a "you're both wrong community", but if there is one, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool member.

The truth is, even though I no longer moderate on the Core77 forum or submit news entries to their main site, and even though I find much of what's discussed on design blogs and elsewhere to be painfully myopic, I still consider myself a member of the Design community. I'm just not constrained to talking about the shape or texture or interface of some object of the moment; not when I can be trying to figure out how to develop a business that sells responsible products on-demand using all the new realities and technologies facing businesses today; both technical and social, good and bad.

From my perspective, members of the Design community should be engaged in and with as many other communities as possible. When so much is converging, what other option is there?

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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