Passively Multiplayer Online Games

Justin Hall has been working on a new concept for Multiplayer Online Games for his Masters degree at USC Annenberg Center, that’s implementing a point giving system for searching the web, reading emails, texting from you mobile and lots of other activities not directly linked to an online game environment.

He calls it the Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG) where MyWare tracks and catalogues your online activity and assigns a point giving system so checking your email might yield you 10 extra attribute points for “wisdom” or reading the journal of experimental quantum physics gives you 25 attribute points to “intelligence”.

The concerns of the MyWare and sharing information with other players touches on lots of privacy issues and how to handle information in a safe manner. Justin defines the PMOG genre like this:

Passively Multiplayer is a system for turning user data into ongoing play. Using computer and mobile phone surveillance, a user and their unique history. These resulting avatars can be viewed online, and they interact with other avatars online.Examples of data: web sites visited, email addresses, chat handles, contents of email or messaging, contents of word processed documents, digital images, digital video, video game moves.

One of Justin’s design sketches illustrating his understanding of a web experience and interactions for modelling the game.


I think it’s a really interesting concept when you think of some of the research being done into combining game theory with work routines and making work routines quest based and maybe adding a visible reputation system at the water cooler etc.

And the hype being generate in 2006 on living in virtual worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft, this concept is adding a new dimension to the debate.

Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs, has posted notes from Justin’s speak on the DIY Media seminar weblog. The post also has a great discussion about the privacy issues, semantic web and valuing experience.

Link: Passively Multiplayer Online Games