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My daughter plays a great deal of Webkins. They have a very smart business model. Every time she gets a new Webkin stuffed animal, she gets another room on her virtual house for her new friend to live in. She can play games and participate in activities to get currency to buy additional accessories and other items. Though she can only control one Webkin at a time, each of her Webkins can visit her other Webkins. They put a lot of thought into the modularity of all of this, for instance when a land creature visits a fish, the land creature will have a breathing apparatus and vice-versa when a fish visits a land creature (sort of like what they do on Spongebob Squarepants). It seems that corporate greed/intelligence is helping to drive at least a little of the innovation (for lack of a better word) in online gaming and shows a lot of the good/bad potential of the future.
I have several board game/video(computer)game hybrids, including the most famous such games for the Odyssey2 (inspired by what was on the Odyssey perhaps?), right up to the PS3's The Eye of Judgment. To my mind though, the more real-world external elements you introduce - be it game pieces, boards, etc. - the less casual and more involved the play experience becomes, resulting in potentially fewer sales and play sessions. Still, the fusion of real world/virtual world has always intrigued me and certainly - as evidenced by our long-running motion controls/tracking discussion thread - the future of this also looks bright.
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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