Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Take on the Amazon Game Category Controversy

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A promotion for Second Life on Amazon sparked a controversy yesterday, centering on the virtual world's placement in the Video Game category. Tateru Nino wrote:
". . . it is certainly embarrassing to be associated with the idea of Second-Life-as-a-game. Many folks do consider we dedicated Second Life users to be a bit crazy because we ‘play’ this ‘game’, when they know from having tried it that it is not one. The ‘game’ label seems to make most people unable to look beyond it, and see its essential potential (realised and unrealised, both) as a content platform."
Gaga Gracious posted:
"If it wasn't for the fact Linden Lab is headed by a game's industry heavy weight like Robvik Humble I think they could be forgiven for marketing Second Life as a game package on Amazon recently when everyone that knows the beleaguered virtual world and has experienced it would, in the majority, be inclined to say it is not a video game".
Although I sympathize with the general objection to categorizing Second Life as a game, the criticism is misplaced in this instance. This move isn't a reflection of some overall Linden Lab initiative to reposition Second Life as a game, it's because Amazon's program to distribute software linked to outside accounts is called Game Connect:
Game Connect is a service provided by Amazon which enables customers to discover and purchase virtual items on and have these virtual items sent directly to their linked game account . . . Customers can link their existing accounts with their account in your game to purchase digital items, delivered directly to their linked game account.
Take the time to click through Second Life's primary web presence and it's easy to see that Linden Lab is not marketing Second Life as a video game. What they're doing with Amazon and Steam is adding distribution channels equipped to sell their software.


Scarp Godenot said...

You and your silly rationality.

Wouldn't it be more fun to be hysterical all the time?


Talla Adam said...

Yes, but if SL is marketed in video gaming channels it will eventually be seen as just a video game.

IMO, a culture changes because people make it change. If Second Life is seen as just a video game the culture will change with the kind of people video games attracts. The is enough shooters!

I have a lot of contempt for Linden Lab and their failure to treat their customers as partners given the level of contribution they make besides money so I am equally scathing of their disregard for the general culture of Second Life which is more diverse then any video game.

Botgirl Questi said...

Gaga: I agree with you that Linden Lab has a long history of blunders including terrible customer relations. I just don't think it applies in this instance. If they end up changing their web site to position Second Life as a game, or Rodvik starts describing it in those terms in the press, then I'd be happy to jump on your bandwagon.

Talla Adam said...

I agree it has not been stated in a press release but I know where Rod has come from, what he is about making and where I suspect he is heading with Second Life. There are just so many pointers now.

Unknown said...

All virtual worlds can be classified as a kind of game, even if they do not share some critical criteria that other games might have. The way we frame "game" will change faster than people's attempt to make a new category.

Wizzy Gynoid said...

It's the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day they're gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it's my turn to leave. -Tupac

Anonymous said...

Hit it spot-on, Botgirl. Said something similar myself.

And while this should not be taken that I believe SL is a "game", it's also probably worth pointing out that while it does not have all of the classic aspects one associates with games and gameplay - nevertheless it is the ability for people to engage in various types of gameplay within SL (and other similar VWs as well) which has actually (and still does) fuel its appeal for many.