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The Matrix For Businesses

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the synergize-the-white-rabbit dept.

Businesses 88

An anonymous reader writes "The idea of using virtual reality and gaming technologies to create training exercises and business simulations has been around for years. But recent advances in computer graphics, interfaces, and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have made it commercially viable to pursue simulations in the business world. Novel, a venture-backed startup company, is about to launch a new MMO role-playing game, called Empire & State, with an unusual goal: to use the technology and the lessons it learns from the game to create simulations for big companies that want to improve their human resources and hiring efficiencies. Imagine assessing employees' leadership and teamwork skills by jacking them into a virtual, multiplayer business scenario. That's the goal, but Novel will face challenges of all sorts — business, social, and technical — in its efforts to sell MMO technologies to the corporate world."

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88 comments

Obligatory (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535516)

Today's Dilbert [dilbert.com], quite on-topic!

Re:Obligatory (1)

hansede (1521535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536494)

Why is it that HR departments always want the employees to be doing something HR-ish instead of doing the work that makes the company money? Honest question.

Re:Obligatory (3, Interesting)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536798)

My Wet dream is to become CEO of a large corporation and immediately give all of HR the pink slip.

Seriously, I fantasize about this. For most companies this would be an immediate jump to the black.

My biggest beef with HR? Refusing to consider anyone that doesn't posses a degree that basically proves they acquired a certain level of book knowledge while marinating their brain in the toxic waste of micro-organisms ( yeast ) . They have No real operative knowledge on what the position requires hiring by alphabet soup and degree instead. They are lazy lazy people contributing jack squat to the bottom line.

Re:Obligatory (3, Insightful)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#32540104)

Who would you then hire to ensure that employees are well-informed about the law and policies that cover them, who ensure that employee grievances are handled properly, and who manage the paperwork and such for benefits and so forth? Who would be responsible for making sure employees were fully informed (in a uniform and consistent way) at interviews about company benefits, and so on?

HR does a lot more than managing hiring, doesn't it? Sure, we want to think of them as useless twits who either screen out the good applicants we want or screen US out when we want to apply via bogus job requirements, but not all of them are like that. Moreover, there are many important parts of any business/employee relationship which have to be fulfilled by SOMEONE.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32540466)

Then Management can *Gasp* Do it's *JOB*! Can you Imagine that?

Management actually Managing? Seriously, We had HR here and now it's gone. That chunk of money went to hiring an employee contributing to the bottom line, and we haven't looked back.

If we have questions about Legality the Lawyers take care of that.

You saying an HR person is an educated Lawyer? Check again.

- Dan.

Re:Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32538362)

You know, I don't give a shit about wifi data collected by google. In fact, google one does one evil thing afaik :

Google sells fucking first place search results!

I don't even really mind google selling BP the first place search results for oil spill, but I'd wish google would charge say $5 million per day, that's a fair price given the social damage done.

Google has sold us all out by selling that search result for less than even $1 million per day. fuckers!

WHO THE - (1, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535606)

THAT'S MINUS 50 DKP!!!!

Trust me, if Leadership in MMO's is going to translate into management positions, just kill me now.

Re:WHO THE - (1)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536412)

I can't wait to see the guild names or server names. I wonder if they would roll it out with specific servers in mind: Accounting for one, HR for another, Management for another, IT etc.

Guild names? 733+haxx0rz4hir3, NumberCruncherz, -WRHR-... yeah, this could be interesting. /yawn

Re:WHO THE - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536748)

But Eve-Online IS real life... (Isn't it??)

Kobayashi Maru (2, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535634)

That sounds great until somebody learns to game the game. Then what practical use is it to the real world?

Re:Kobayashi Maru (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535670)

That sounds great until somebody learns to game the game.

Elaborate please.

Re:Kobayashi Maru (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535954)

See his title. If you don't know the reference, please leave your nerd card at the exit.

Re:Kobayashi Maru (2, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535730)

That sounds great until somebody learns to game the game. Then what practical use is it to the real world?

Practical? Maybe not...

But folks these days game the game all the time. It's just called "office politics".

Re:Kobayashi Maru (4, Insightful)

DragonIV (697809) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535812)

That won't take long, either. Of course, depending on the interview, gaming the game might be just what they're looking for!

Re:Kobayashi Maru (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536058)

Learning to game the game is the very essense of business success. This is essentially what they are trying to teach people in B-School and MBA programs. What are the strategies and behaviors that will consistently produce results that exceed those of other players.

Many years ago, I described a system linking video game play to stock market trading. By crowd sourcing investment strategies using tens of thousands of players, new and innovative stratiges would emerge. The next phase would be to built out a real time gaming system that would harnes the game playing ability of the high scorers to drive actual investment decisions.

Hmmm, maybe it has been built out already;)

Re:Kobayashi Maru (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536126)

Then what practical use is it to the real world?

Then it is a lot of practical use, and those employees get appointed to the position of CEO. Or haven't you been watching the politics/developements (read games) played by large modern businesses lately?

Re:Kobayashi Maru (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536734)

The practical use is to burn up some flex time, or maybe ride the time clock for a few more minutes to suck up a little bit more overtime. Do it early in the week, rack up 15 minutes here, and 30 minutes there, and at the end of the week, you can get paid overtime to do real work, that way management won't think twice about authorizing it.

Game over man, game over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536844)

Learning to game the game is the essence of late stage capitalism.

Re:Kobayashi Maru (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32537340)

That's not even necessary. You may rest assured that that already happens all the time.

You are there in an environment where people know they are monitored constantly and that their ability is assessed. We jokingly once called it the company's Heisenberg problem: The system works differently when examined. And people actually do behave differently when they are under supervision.

The whole fallacy of all "leadership" models is still that people work for the company. They don't. They couldn't care less about it. People's primary goal is not to do their work. People's primary goal is to earn the most with the least expense. In other words, in the standard model of employment, make those 8 hours go by every day with as little strain as possible.

People CONSTANTLY game the game. I know, it's a pretty grim assessment of people's willingness to actually work, but that's simply how it is.

ThirdLife? (2, Insightful)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535658)

see subject. I think this has already been here before, with no real success.

Re: Or Eve (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536676)

“Our innovation is that players have never been given the ability to explore real business practices and politics before,” Olson says. “We’ve never had the ability to do anything but kill stuff before [in MMOs].”

Really? Because that sounds EXACTLY like every other MMO that tries to revolve around business and practices.

Empire & State even has a military element!

*sigh* People who think they are the first ones to do something need to do their research.

Imagine assessing employees (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32535666)

Imagine assessing employees' leadership and teamwork skills by jacking them into a virtual, multiplayer business scenario.

What would this offer above hiring them and seeing how they work out? Seems like a needless layer of rube goldberg complexity that doesn't make sense in the end. I guess this IS a matrix for business.

lol, let the firings commence! (4, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535676)

I can see it now....someone says something dumb, Frank from Accounting comes over to their side of the conference table, jumps up on it and proceeds to tea bag them.

Yeah, MMO-like corporate worlds could be fantastic.

Didn't they do this with Second Life for a while? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535702)

I remember hearing about business doing something like this with Second Life. It's an interesting concept, one that makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Heh, I can see the job posting now: "Need experienced creator of Second Life content do design our board meeting house. Red Light District experience a plus."

Re:Didn't they do this with Second Life for a whil (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536168)

actually as a business you can spin up a SecondLife type Server with a minimum of effort
you will need

1 a web server with MYSQL support
2 a copy of OpenSim
3 a few graphics types to create content

Re:Didn't they do this with Second Life for a whil (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536828)

You know, I was just saying yesterday that I'm so glad we don't get inundated anymore with news articles that present Second Life as if it's some great business tool, and that it's somehow "Important". That meme passed, and now it's all about how Twitter is somehow "Important".

This seems like regression; been there, done that.

Re:Didn't they do this with Second Life for a whil (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 3 years ago | (#32537608)

I can't find the article (believe it was here on slashdot) but the reason for that is simply that Linden Lab stopped paying everyone to say it was important so they stopped saying it.

Game Description (4, Funny)

milonssecretsn (1392667) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535706)

". . . but you'll need real world skills to be successful."

*sigh*
But I play video games because I DON'T have real world skills.

Not Novell (3, Informative)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535786)

It took me awhile of poking around the site to finally notice that this is "Novel", not "Novell". Reading carefully is important :)

Companies will WANT their employees to use this ? (3, Insightful)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535816)

FTFA: Players start out as citizens of an empire, and can collaborate and compete with other players to become leaders of young companies or presidents of countries. Depending on their interests, they can also become criminal overlords, military strategists, bounty hunters, or business tycoons. The game itself will be free, but Novel will charge money for transactions within the game, like when players want to purchase clothing, weapons, or housing. “Our innovation is that players have never been given the ability to explore real business practices and politics before,” Olson says. “We’ve never had the ability to do anything but kill stuff before [in MMOs].” ...Doesn't sound like something I would want my employees doing instead of, you know, being productive...

Re:Companies will WANT their employees to use this (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536146)

they can also become criminal overlords, military strategists, bounty hunters, or business tycoons.

I fail to see how the last position on that list differs from the first....

Re:Companies will WANT their employees to use this (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#32540156)

The criminal overlord can execute somebody directly. The business tycoon has a 50 person minimum.

Re:Companies will WANT their employees to use this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536452)

This one made me laugh.

“Our innovation is that players have never been given the ability to explore real business practices and politics before,”

It's called Real Life. Maybe the reason this has never been done before in an MMO is because people Do Not Want to 'explore business practices and politics'. I know I sure as hell don't want that. I just want to kill things, to get away from life's annoyances.

Re:Companies will WANT their employees to use this (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32538406)

Any word on what technology this is built on? IMHO there's no reason not to use a platform like OpenCobalt in favour of reinventing the wheel. Especially in a business environment, where bleeding-edge graphics power isn't the point...

Re:Companies will WANT their employees to use this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32539944)

What about people that don't want to become leaders? That's the problem with having "managing people" as a separate profession and putting them in positions of power. They set up the whole business structure around a few assumptions:

MBAs belong at the top of the food chain.

Everybody's goal is to become a manager.

If you aren't a manager, or don't at least aspire to being a manager (the most important job in the world, of course), you're worthless.

Don't these people realize that somebody somewhere has to do actual work for a company to survive? It can't be managers all the way down. Fucking around in powerpoint all day is all well and good, but somebody has to get off their ass and design the product, somebody needs to make it, and somebody needs to market it.

The *real* job of managers is to shield their people from all the political bullshit being generated by people higher in the organization, provide the things their team needs to be successful, and provide direction when the team isn't sure where to go next. Very important, but totally pointless without the people that actually do the fucking work.

If your goal isn't to become some sort of leader, this game they're producing is totally pointless, and just perpetuates the myth that the leader is the most important person in an organization, when they're really the least important.

Not really my thing (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535858)

I don't think this looks very fun to play, but I think it would be very fun to work on and research with. I've never tried writing games for business.

This summary sucks (4, Funny)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535870)

The summary sucks. You guys have no idea - it doesn't do it justice. I've RTFA. And to be honest, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

Sounds like an interesting game... (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535934)

... event though there are a lot of human elements in it I doubt it'll have real-world value. Game != Real-life, in terms of how people interact. Ask people who play FFA in real-time strategy.

Free-to-play model kills games (1)

CDigglesworth (1814266) | more than 3 years ago | (#32535972)

Any free-to-play game that requires purchasing items to make you better shouldn't exist. Your rank in a game shouldn't depend on how much money you spend. I don't think games like this stand a chance.

Re:Free-to-play model kills games (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536932)

I don't think games like this stand a chance.

Maybe it's cultural, but several games in S Korea would beg to differ, that is, if games were people (or dogs) capable of begging.

Even in the US, micropayment games are having some success... it's only a matter of time before we see more games with a macro number of micropayments being required for competing at the highest level.

Re:Free-to-play model kills games (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32537512)

All right, but this game should model a real world experience. And in reality, that's pretty much how it is: Your rank in a game depends on how much money you (are able to) spend.

Games like this not only stand a chance, they're pretty much the model our world works on currently.

Re:Free-to-play model kills games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32538986)

Evidence to contrary is Farmville. Zynga is pretty large stakeholder in Facebook these days.

Farmville, War of Legends, Lord of Ultima, Mob Wars, We Rule are the leading properties in the f2p with cash purchase MMO arena, by several different companies (Zynga, Jagex, EA, Indie, ngmoco) - some of which have other properties to their name.

It's depressing that the normal P2P model is being subverted, but it is simply the accepted model. It removes the gold-farming aspect and allows the developer to addict and then suck their user dry.

Re:Free-to-play model kills games (1)

Keerok (870468) | more than 3 years ago | (#32540162)

Try armada online then, its free to play*, and you can't buy anything. *well there are opportunity costs to be factored in, and electricity, and you sorta need a pc and an internet connection, and cafeen to fuel the beast and...but other wise totaly free)

Thoughts (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536042)

Imagine assessing employees' leadership and teamwork skills by jacking them into a virtual, multiplayer business scenario.

I could see this being used for new hires, where the typical interview process doesn't bring out their true capabilities. For already hired employees, I could see it being used as an indicator for future performance. Standard assessment methods could still be used effectively for present performance. So the virtual test might be useful as a way of preparing employees for dealing with future adverse business conditions, hostile work situations, different and/or increased responsibilities, or just normal things like how to react to rumors at the water cooler. :^)

Is Novell reinventing the square wheel? (2, Interesting)

De_Boswachter (905895) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536102)

Leading virtual world provider Linden Labs just laid off 30% of their employees, all of whom were working on a similar concept. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/09/linden_labs_lays_off_30_per_cent_of_staff/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Is Novell reinventing the square wheel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536136)

all of whom were working on a similar concept

No they weren't, enterprise was just one of their stupid directions.

Re:Is Novell reinventing the square wheel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536304)

I have better sources, like actually knowing those who got fired and working with said projects, not some regurgitated press release.

Re:Is Novell reinventing the square wheel? (1)

De_Boswachter (905895) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536432)

No, I have better sources, Mr. Spindoctor Anonymous. I have been working on said projects myself and got laid off. There. I said it.

Re:Is Novell reinventing the square wheel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536528)

No wonder why nothing ever gets done at Linden Lab, people who work there don't even know what the others are doing.

Re:Is Novell reinventing the square wheel? (2, Funny)

De_Boswachter (905895) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536546)

No wonder why nothing ever gets done at Linden Lab, people who work there don't even know what the others are doing.

Except for the Linden Labs Ministry of Truth. They know where your house lives.

Re:Is Novell reinventing the square wheel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536672)

Except for the Linden Labs Ministry of Truth. They know where your house lives.

Too bad management is too stupid to pick a direction on the map to get there :P

Get 1337 hax now! (2, Funny)

Eg0Death (1282452) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536118)

Become number 1 on ur server! go to EmpireAndStateHax.dum for free hax! Outscore your boss, become the new manager!

I've been involved in developing this. (1)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536172)

It's had some serious setbacks so far. Computers - with their inherent tendency to accurate process information - seem to have difficulty processing the normal levels of cronyism, petty gossip, office politics, nepotism. and "yes-man" traits required to to advance within normal corporate power structures. It's also been a major challenge to properly implement the Peter Principle. We're using a sort of inverted genetic algorithm in which the worst possible candidate is chosen to fill a vacant position. It's promising, but it seems to result in competent upper management too often to be accurate in the real world.

Fortunately, the Bullshit Buzzword component is complete; we outsourced that to this gentleman [robietherobot.com]. He's got an excellent grasp of modern business communications, and beta testers were unable to distinguish his algorithm-generated press releases from actual real-world examples.

Your mind makes it real (4, Funny)

clem (5683) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536186)

Neo: If you're fired in the Matrix, are you unemployed here?
Morpheus: The body cannot receive a paycheck without the mind. Well, except government jobs, but you get my point.

Real life Bosses respawn before you get your loot (1)

freddled (544384) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536192)

People play MMOs to tackle non-real-world problems where X hours of hard work according to precise set of rules R gives you precisely defined outcome O, with loot from [L1, L2, L3, ...]. They play precisely to escape from the fact the same effort in the real world gets you one from [nada, less than nada, peanuts, laughed at]. There is space for the use of MMOs to train people and it's not new, but most of the time it's set up by people who think that gamers need to be patronised. "Got Game" is an interesting read around this subject too.

WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536272)

hahahhahhaha

Using simulated gaming to solve REAL problems in the work environment, what a fucking CHEAP WAY of not hiring real humans.

And NO, being a GUILD leader in WOW does not make you a good CEO/Project Manager/whatever the fuck you want to call it, it's a FUCKING GAME

FPS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32536374)

"... to create simulations for big companies that want to improve their human resources and hiring efficiencies."

So it's some kind of First Person Shooter?

Wall Street may love it... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536692)

Consciences impede the rate of wealth harvesting in some sectors of the American economy; games requiring cooperation which also reward betrayal could provide quite useful information for, say, someone contemplating the creation of a hedge fund or the next variation of the synthetic mortgage-backed financial instruments scam.

From TFA.. (1)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 3 years ago | (#32536950)

"The new game is called Empire & State, and it will be in alpha release by the fourth quarter of this year,"

I would hardly call this "about to launch".

Sounds cool, Mac/Linux versions??? (1)

halfdan the black (638018) | more than 3 years ago | (#32537466)

Wonder if they will have Mac/Linux versions?

I will not be forced to install Windows just to play a game.

Re:Sounds cool, Mac/Linux versions??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32539386)

Empire and State is a browser based platform written in java. If you have a jvm you can most likely play the game.

"improve their HR and hiring efficiencies" (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32537768)

There are plenty of ways to do this:
  • Use standardized job titles, definitions, and requirements. 8+ years of experience programming in C is a bit much for a junior programmer.
  • Have HR actually understand the job and requirements for which they are advertising and hiring. An help desk analyst does not need all the skills of an experienced WAN engineer and programmer.
  • Stop using buzzword bingo to filter resumes.
  • Actually respond to people who send in their resumes.
  • Don't require ridiculous skill sets or training requirements. You are not going to find someone who is both a current RN and 15 years current experience programming. You are not going to find someone who has 10 years experience with a brand new technology. You are not going to find a someone with 10 years of experience with the custom program used only by the guy who just quit your company.

Redundant (1)

Ed Peepers (1051144) | more than 3 years ago | (#32537804)

EVE Online already has an elaborate player-driven economy, corporations, an elected council, and so on. Where's the value added in Empire & State?

Re:Redundant (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32538184)

It doesn't have people like me going around blowing your shit up? :)

Re:Redundant (1)

Ed Peepers (1051144) | more than 3 years ago | (#32540628)

Then how is it a useful business simulator? I think PvP (and the horrible learning curve of EVE) are helpful in modeling real world business behavior.

It's here already. But they keep it quiet . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32537916)

"I visited their conference room where geologists, engineers, and executives gather to make decisions about where to drill. Suffice to say, it involves looking at scarily accurate maps and computer-generated images of cross sections of the earth’s crust on a 10-foot-high screen the width of the room. And it’s all in 3-D."

http://article.nationalreview.com/363733/drilling-in-the-offshore/mark-hemingway

It is here already. But it is such a strategic advantage, such an ace in the hole, nobody is going to give away the secrets. Why blab? Why invite espionage? Why show your competitor any of your cards, or that you even have cards or are playing the game at all.

BUSINESS IS WAR continued by other means.

Any of the Fortune 10 have their own equivalents of an Area 51.

I wonder what the stock dudes, hand picked and groomed world class geniuses, with unlimited cash, unlimited data feeds coming over unlimited bandwidth and access to mainframes, or any other hardware they want, are doing right now? And have been doing for the last 50 years? And no Dilbert Management.

You think they are using the same 10 year old, dumbed, down stuff, we are using?

Meditate on that this evening in your quite place.

Mr. Sony and Mr. Intel probably BUILD them custom hardware, that they discuss over golf.

I have already said too much.

From Novel (2, Interesting)

dyamanoha (1831602) | more than 3 years ago | (#32539276)

Hi everyone, my name is David and I'm the lead engineer at Novel Interactive. I would like to hopefully clear up some of the confusion related to the article posted here, which was recently published in Xconomy. Although technically similar, Empire & State and the business simulations are two entirely different products. While Empire & State is an MMORPG, you can think of our business simulations as being an MMO hr solution. These enterprise hr solutions are rooted in our MMO technology, but are tailored specifically towards helping to solve HR problems! For those of you who are interested in Empire & State, I encourage you to sign up for our alpha test http://www.empireandstate.com/pages/signup [empireandstate.com].

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32541044)

Don't know if it's been said already, but I quite like rdiff-backup. It keeps the most recent version of your data readily accessible, and then it keeps diffs between the most recent and a bunch of older versions, as far back as you like. It doesn't, however, keep an exact copy of your disk - just the files on it. But then again, with Linux, you just put those files back, get grub of lilo installed and you're up and running again in no time. So I think this is pretty much the best backup solution out there.

KHAAAAN! (2, Funny)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#32541848)

Imagine assessing employees' leadership and teamwork skills by jacking them into a virtual, multiplayer business scenario.

Sounds like the Kobayashi Maru scenario [memory-alpha.org] to me, just without any of the fun.

Not really all that novel (1)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32558102)

This seems to be following a trend where people think that adding "a game" to something mundane (usually related to soul-destroying work) can make things better. The recent example was Jesse Schell's talk at the 2010 DICE conference. There's also been a lot of people who have used the appeal of MMOs being able to gather a lot of people into one area to use these worlds as beds for research. There have been a lot of academic papers trying to glean economic insight based on the activity of players in different MMOs.

I think both these approaches forget that games and reality aren't the same. As a game designer, I would certainly argue that games can influence the world around us, but adding experience points doesn't make brushing my teeth more fun. Likewise, seeing how someone spends virtual currency that exists in endless supplies on an unending horde of enemies to slaughter doesn't necessarily give insight into how people would behave when dealing with "real" currency.

I expect that the "business" aspect to this game is something that the company founders used to stand out from the crowd of people who want to make MMOs. Given how the "business" aspects of Second Life have gone, and how much work making a game takes, I'd expect that the company is going to have a hard enough time focusing on making and maintaining the game.

Still, it's nice to see someone trying some that isn't just an underfunded WoW-clone for a change. ;)

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eedd (1835228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32597706)

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