Emergence of Gamified Commerce: Turning Virtual to Real

Emergence of Gamified Commerce: Turning Virtual to Real

Tracy Harwood (Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, UK)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/jeco.2012040102
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This paper, published in large part in Ciaramitaro’s (2011) Virtual Worlds and E-Commerce, reflects how gaming and virtual worlds have impacted on ecommerce in recent years. A dynamic commercial environment with massive growth in user numbers and an overspill into real worlds through gamification, virtual worlds have contributed new language, new ways of engaging customers in branded virtual experiences and new business models. Co-creation and co-production remain central themes within this environment. Convergence between online and offline proceeds apace, facilitated by ever more accessible technological interfaces such as mobile and tablets but also now micro-projection technologies that enable new ways of sharing and engaging. The paper reviews the convergence context and concludes with a discussion of how relationships between customers and businesses have changed, economies have emerged and boundaries between virtual and real have become blurred to form gamified commercial experiences.
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Characteristics And Features Of Online Games

Online gaming has had a varied path to its current metamorphosis into an influential sector that is now being used for much more than purely entertainment. The games sector’s rise has, however, been tied to the development of commercial networks and the internet. Table 1 identifies the origins of online gaming that can be traced back to the 1960s.

Table 1.
Early timeline of selected online games based on Mulligan (1999)
1960sSpacewar2 player, by early 1970s up to 1000 players simultaneously on PLATO service (time sharing system)
1970-77Star Trek, Avatar (became Wizardry), AirfightMultiplayer on PLATO service and first PC game
1979-83Multi-User Dungeon (MUD)University hosted by mainframe (DEC-10) which, through hacking and illegal copying of code, was distributed globally and eventually found its way to the internet
1982Islands of Kesmai (became Legends of Kesmai in 1984)ASCII text role-playing game for CompuServe; Legends still available
1982-98MegaWars1 (another Kesmai game)Longest running paid-for online game on CompuServe
1985QuantumLink (became America Online) graphics based online service for Commodore 64/128 users, first serious competition to CompuServe
1986Stellar Warrior (renamed from MegaWars 1)Released through GEnie online service (developed in 1985) – the first multiplayer online game
1987Air Warrior (Kesmai)
Rabbit Jack’s Casino
First massively multiplayer game released on GEnie
Released on QuantumLink (first online casino)
1988-1996Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: NeverWinter NightsQuantum Computer Services launches AppleLink for Apple II but it was not until 1996 that Apple signed Gemstone III and Dragon’s Gate
Quantum Computer Services buy license and run as a paid for game until 1996
1989Online gaming industry takes off

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