During these long, earthly days, which stretched into an uncertain future such as a long stretch of cream corridors, it was impossible not to miss hanging out with friends. Especially types of hangouts where you don’t really do anything in particular, don’t talk about one thing – just sort of creature.
As we continue to physically distance ourselves from each other, it may be difficult to feel socially present with the tools we have. Even with Zoom in and others casual chat application, video chat can feel flat. (And for those of us who are fortunate enough to work from home, visit friends after working with the same tools as before do the work doesn’t always feel great.) More often than not, we sit, stay in the designated video chat, trade reports from quarantine itself and maybe drag a cat or children or two or two.
But even in spite of our table with more fun video chat applications or innovations such as the Facebook portal and the eyes, there is still something other it cannot be conveyed. With a flat screen, we only feel our physical selves in relationships with each other. Apparently, socializing spatially is something that we might take for granted. But the game world has understood this for years.
Now, more than ever, we need creative ways to feel present with others. The whole crisis looks like a big opportunity for the gaming industry, but also one for a more transcendent digital social experience that doesn’t just look like playing a few rounds of Call of Duty after work. Hopefully these experiences can be so imaginative that we don’t even know what they are like.
If VR has fulfilled its initial promise, we all might live in it now. The idea of having several types of virtual worlds together is still strong, but additional hardware has proven to be too expensive to make the average person join (for now, at least) and even the coolest VR experience remains a niche. However, it’s clear that we want to gather, not only on DM DM Instagram and email threads, but also as avatars that navigate shared spaces. Somehow.
The virtual world does it right
If the success of Animal Crossing’s main crossover is indicative, people have a great desire for virtual space nowadays. Even with Nintendo’s really painful online multiplayer experience, there is something fun and special about visiting a friend, colliding with one another and showing them your new dig.
In Animal Crossing, this is truly an over-number-of-part experience. Last time I really laughed and can’t stop visit my sister’s Animal Crossing island right after the game is launched. Apart from a few interface emotes and hard character boundaries, his strange sense of humor managed to bubble through the limitations of the game. And that obstacle makes it more special, for several reasons. When I left the island, I felt sadness because it left its funny physical manifestations circling around my island. It feels different from leaving a video chat or leaving a conversation via text.
These experiences occur at the individual level, but also collectively – and people become creative. One writer from Rogue One just made it himself in the game Animal Crossing talk show, complete with a small guest sofa and views of the city.
A developer in New York even launched a dev conference that took place entirely on the island of Animal Crossing. Much like an ordinary conference, “DevOps Sepi Island“Bragging speakers, moderators and even talks to be uploaded to YouTube after the fact.
The pandemic shows us that the sweet point of the mainstream virtual presence might be something more than a Zoom-like video conference but less than a full virtual reality experience. Video games, or more specifically video games as the platform, seems to resonate now, even among people who will not be identified as gamers. The last part is important.
This is something Fortnite makers have been doing for a while now. There is a reason why Fortnite, like Animal Crossing, brings non-gamers into the fold. Sure, Fortnite is fun and addictive, but many games are fun and addictive – and Fortnite is a lot harder than many other games.
Epic’s real innovation is the social layer as soft as butter that seamlessly connects players across platforms. If you can talk to a friend to download the application, you are in business. Of course, other games also do this right (Minecraft comes to mind, of course, and everything else) but time is everything now. And the Fortnite team cleverly repeats its already good ideas.
This week, Epic added a new chill game mode called Party Royale to Fortnite – a new island just to hang out with friends. Full of non-lethal weapons like hamburgers that can be thrown and paintball guns, Party Royale is a designated space where you can take groups and chat while doing reckless but funny bullshit, like awkwardly kicking soccer balls around (I do this by kicking a total soccer ball around (I did this with a total stranger for 20 minutes for some reason!) or driving a virtual ATV off a virtual cliff.
And like many Epic battle royale hits, the island itself is very strange, filled with everything from pirate ships to music festival parks filled with colorful lights, giant neon dancers and highly psychedelic vibrations, not included in Molly’s body. There are even drive-in movie screens, such as other areas of the main game, which can signal interesting things to come. If we are lucky and Epic expands it, Fortnite’s casual online virtual space can evolve into something very interesting.
Fortnite is a game that seems to kill people before they kill you, but it is also a concert venue – and that implies a deeper Epic idea about the game as a versatile social platform. The game has a big event in the last game of last month’s game, this time featuring Travis Scott as tall as a skyscraper that appears when he invades a map of the rural version of Fortnite which turns into a kaleidoscopic. 12 million people listen, Beat 10 million who play for more simple Marshmello in the game shows EDM a year before. Whether you listen to the music or not, that wild, imaginative event is, basically, very cool.
Video games must evolve to fulfill that moment
For anyone who spends time playing massive multi-player online roles (MMORPG), this will all sound familiar. These games have a long and passionate history of pulling large numbers of people together into persistent virtual spaces together and letting them express themselves. Customizing clothes, decorating spaces, and even making choices around game styles and faction affiliation are all ways to express aspects of who you are and what you are about in cyberspace inhabited by others who do the same. As someone who has played World of Warcraft for years, this is the real attraction of the game for many of us. The game itself – search, dungeons, and so on – comes second.
All this time the highlight of ten years ago, World of Warcraft has as many active customers as players in the Travis Scott event – 12 million. Since then, the game exploded into the mainstream and at the end of 2018, Fortnite boasted almost 80 million active players. Online multiplayer itself also moves forward, largely through the success of blockbuster first-person shooters – usually a bleak, well-funded, and vague or blatant military game that routinely prosecutes one type of gamer. Fun and colorful shooters like Fortnite, Splatoon, and Overwatch appear to lend a hand to ordinary players, even non-gamers, but there is still plenty of room for online games to move beyond the shooter.
Wild popularity Minecraft carving out paths to cooperative games not only because building stuff is fun, even though it’s also true, but because doing something new with friends in a virtual space is really cool. Scrappier games like extraordinary No Man’s Sky can do to explore what Minecraft is doing to build, but with an indie developer budget, great ideas about multi-player games can only go so far. Historically, the bulk of industrial resources have still been channeled into reliable military style shooters. But with a changing world, trends can also change. Just look at the Animal Crossing social feng shui sale dominate sales during the first months of the epidemic.
There are great opportunities now for games that offer general social experiences that are interesting enough to attract people who don’t even play games. For those of us who are stuck at home, the imaginative game world not only offers them escape from the pressures of the moment, but also a way to share space when we can’t get together.
We just need more of them to visit.
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]