Playing WoW for real

The decision of Blizzard, maker of the World of Warcraft, a blockbuster MMO game of the last decade, to introduce real ID in game wasn’t a big surprise for many (that doesn’t mean, though, that it didn’t annoy quite a lot of people). In response to the growing number of phising, spams, scams, and other type of abuses Blizzard forced the merges of the WoW accounts with battle.net, where the players had to use their real email addresses as the log-in information (and some people have immediately questioned the safety of this step itself).

I can’t really comment on the security issues, but I do know that such moves do impact the game experience itself. I remember similar debates (and actions) in Second Life, a virtual world by Linden Labs. There too the registration of the avatars became impossible without linking it to the credit card numbers (= real personal identity). I argue that it eventually destroys the whole point of games as imaginary transformative spaces. It will leave them, of course, as mere entertainment platforms (i.e., how they are seen by the majority of people, both outside and even inside the game-worlds). But their capacity to provide a new places for experimentation, including experimentations with your identity (-ies) might be lost, very unfortunately.

Metamorphosis: New Design Probe from Philips Design

Philips Design has presented a range of new futuristic concepts combined under an umbrella name Metamorphosis. The key idea is a new re-alignment of the technological and natural rhymes, and an achievement of new synchrony between them. For example, the above concept, Shimmer, is an concept designed to facilitate well-being through surprise, movement, natural noise management, air movement and natural light dispersion. The „stripes‟ are based on flexible elements that emit natural light and channel air. They can transform to change the interior characteristics of a space in response to people and the atmospheric/lighting conditions outside.

“The elements of the system are a composite laminate consisting of a light diffusing material; air/vapor capillary system, flexible audio membrane and structural and decorative elements. Space is transformed as the „stripe‟ elements are flexed, changing the volume, affecting the airflow and the sound characteristics. The tension is altered by a system of cables connected to small motors with a gearbox, allowing natural light conditions to be transported from the outside into the interior space.”

More concepts can be viewed at their webpage, Metamorphosis