Gaming Communication: When Not Playing Games
Social gaming is something I enjoy, and it’s one of the main reasons I game. I like the community aspect of gaming, whether it’s just social, or moves into the competitive realm (which is also social to me). The hard part with this is what The Mighty Viking Hamster (amazing name for a blog amirite?) was talking about:
So, am I the only one who thinks that MMOs should allow players, both current and old ones, to access some chat channels, including guild chat, through a separate IM program, even when they are not subscribed anymore?
Before I break this down, I want to say that I agree completely. Having social systems outside of games that we play is an amazing added benefit to gaming.
Sure, there are other ways that guilds/friends can keep in touch outside of a game, but that’s not really the point here. The point is that keeping touch outside of the game (currently) is dichotomous in nature. If you’re in the game, you’re communicating in game. If you’re out of the game, your’re communicating on forums on an instant messenger or Vent or Mumble or something. What if I want to keep in touch with my friends when they’re playing and I’m unsubscribed from the game? Or at a family get together?
The separation of “in game” and “out of game” communication is what needs to go away.
Because it encourages us to come back to games
Companies may be loathe to say “you can’t communicate in game with your friends when you don’t have the game!” (in a subscription based model), but I think this is incorrect. If I was chatting with guildies and they were doing really cool fun stuff, and I wasn’t playing, it would just want me to play more! A feature like this may not create new revenue, but it sure will bring back old players.
WoW already does this to a certain degree, allowing for mobile armory and chatting in guild chat from a phone, but these are separate services in addition to the game itself. I’ve seen very few people actually using it, but it’s pretty cool when they do. Making it free would only encourage a higher participation rate. It’d be like txting from your phone, but it’d be guild chat instead. Want.
Because it encourages us to stay in the game
A communication system that spans on and offline would also encourage retention of players. Supporting ease of communication between guild members just facilitates keeping a group of people together, which means people play the game longer. This is great for subscription-based business models, but it’s great for any game. Moar players = better.
Imagine a chat room connected to the guild forums, but that chat room is guild chat. Then you can chat in guild on your phone, on a computer that can’t run the game, wherever! Imagine those moments that get quiet when everyone is at work or gone, or just can’t log on… now you can all still talk! Sure, you might be the only person logged into the game, but now you have more people to talk to! I think this would just increase the social abilities of guilds.
Other, similar, programs already exist
Steam does this really well; I just think it’s missing something. Primarily, the ability to do group chat, or a “guild chat” type feature (or maybe I just don’t know about it). 1 to 1 chat/IM on Steam is amazing, but if you added in a group chat feature, it would catapult it from amazing to mind boggling. Steam would turn into a social network (more than it already is).
There are also other programs, such as Raptr, but I know very little about them as I have not really used them. There doesn’t seem to be a huge pick up rate to them (though I see Raptr growing among my friends).
So just build it already!
I’m just kidding. Building something like this would be a monumental programming effort. I’m just spinning some gears over here about the theory of why this could be cool and a good way to implement it. I know it would take a ton of effort. I just hope someone does!
There needs to be a way to communicate with gaming friends both in game, and out of game at the same time. Do not separate the communication into two different spaces.
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