Global Game Industry News Blog

Friday, September 14, 2007

What's Really AFTER World of Warcraft?

Gamasutra - The Academics Speak: Is There Life After World Of Warcraft?

So, I feel a little bit bad, because I saw this headline on Gamasutra the other day, and my first thought was, "Yeah, what are researchers going to do once gamers have tired of World of Warcraft?" But, of course that's not what they were talking about.

Instead its an article about what the next big thing for gamers is going to be once they're done with WoW. The author talks to luminaries in the game studies world like Castronova and Jenkins, and it is interesting. But my original question I find more nagging. I'm all for asking about where they think gamers are going to go next, but I think there is a more fundamental question, other than following these gamers around to wherever they do go next, what is it precisely we're hoping to learn from online worlds and gamers?

Or more directly, other than watching virtual worlds and people in virtual worlds, what is it precisely we're hoping to achieve here?

It is also a bit troubling that four men and one woman was interviewed, a criticism of the article, not the interviewees. There are quite a few women researchers just as "luminary" as those who they did talk to, who have been studying MMO's (T.L. Taylor instantly springs to mind), but the best they could come up with was a Ph.D. Candidate (something you cannot pooh-pooh, nor would I, considering I am one as well). I was happy that she did manage to bring up gender, though that wasn't the word she used.

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