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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The New New Media 

With yesterday's release of the Xbox 360, we take another small step into the future of media. That future will dominated by people who understand and live with MMOG games. People like my nephew, who in his spare time is studying to be an architect, but in real life is a level 60 World of Warcraft character, and a member of a global clan that gets together online to play and talk (using a VoIP connection). My nephew has friends in Australia, New Zealand and Europe--and he's never met them in person.

The Xbox 360, which seems to be a thunderous success, continues to feature online play as a key part of the system. And it looks as though the ability to spectate--to watch others play, and potentially bet on the outcome--will become another big part of the online experience. See this post from Russell Beattie (via Josh Greene) who ponders online soccer tournaments.

Grab: Probably what’s missing is what XBox Live has added above: The addition of virtual spectators. I think that could *really* change everything, no? “Broadcast” on your TV set, just like you normally watch soccer. Just the idea that these games can be seen by an outside viewer is incredible. Who knows if the matches will be that compelling at first, but I can imagine they’d get good pretty fast - especially with the graphics power of the next gen consoles. Then they’d be content their own right - the *ultimate* in User Generated Content. Think about it! Imagine recording the matches and providing them as downloads as video podcasts? I’ve already seen sites that have videos of World of Warcraft vids… Virtual soccer matches would be just as compelling. Maybe more so.

So we have a generation that plays online, that will probably watch sports and virtual battles online, that already reveres great online players, that's used to gaming tournaments with significant prizes.

We have marketers who understand that they need to reach this audience online, within the games themselves.

The implications are signicant: in less than a decade, my nephew will be specifying building materials. How will architectural media reach him? How will all of us in b2b reach a generation, coming sooner than we'd like, of buyers who don't interact with media the way we want them to?

I think it will be a small step for this generation to transition from massively multiplayer online gaming to massively multiuser business-to-business communities, but it's a big step for us to make that transition. Our metaphors just don't work--websites are going to be old media, blogs are going to be old media, print is definitely going to be old media, trade shows will be old media.

Virtual business communities and virtual business markets, using the MMOG metaphor, will be the new media.

Here's an ad for the Xbox 360 which you should watch. It's funny. And it shows, I think, our potential "readership" in about 10 years. Via Ad Jab.

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