Are Social Media Games Reaching Market Saturation?

020909121934gameBig_farmville Social media is a fickle industry, and long-term success requires near-constant innovation and commitment. Yet social media games from titans like Zynga are drawing in millions of users while remaining fundamentally unchanged.

Could social gaming be in for its own version of the dot com bubble of the 2000's? Pixels and Policy investigates the risk of saturation in the growing social gaming market.

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Second Life Hosts 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

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In one of our first articles, Pixels and Policy took a look at how virtual worlds can play an important role in community interaction by providing a cheap, accessible forum for discussion.

Now Second Life activists are strengthening our argument as they participate in the Rutgers University "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence" campaign.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at how gender activism is thriving in the Metaverse.

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Are Virtual Worlds Sabotaging Interpersonal Relationships?

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Somewhere in the past few years, perhaps with the success of the Nintendo Wii, a paradigm shifted in how the general public viewed online game enthusiasts.

No longer are they the love handled basement dwellers of Dungeons and Dragon lore.

No, the pendulum now decrees that gamers are a heterogeneous group of men and women, married and single, productive members of society and deadbeats. Pixels and Policy looks at how perceptions of gamers are changing.

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Augmented Reality Comes to Interactive Gaming

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We've reported on how augmented reality has the potential to increase our efficiency and make us smarter consumers, but there's been precious little about how data overlays can make our lives more fun.

DigitalBeat has a great story on how one augmented reality company is turning the world around you into the biggest online game ever.

Pixels and Policy investigates.

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Expresso Exercise Bike Integrates Online Gaming Technology

Pc-bike2 Companies have been seeking ways to make exercise fun for years.

Now virtual worlds are providing the exercise-wary with virtual worlds to engage both body and mind.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at how exercise is getting some positive P.R. through the implementation of virtual world technology.

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Positioning Interactive Education in the Metaverse

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I applauded The Guardian's technology columnist Victor Keegan last month ago for intelligently outlining how the explosive growth of virtual worlds across all major demographics means we may see some permanence to the phenomenon of virtual worlds.

Now Pixels and Policy takes a look at how education will soon have to teach understanding of virtual worlds alongside grammar and biology.

The Importance of Virtual Education

Given that virtual worlds are expected to hit nearly $4.5 billion in revenue next year – more than the GDP of Guinea – it may behoove children to learn virtual worlds skills now for future e-commerce dominance.

From  a report by The Guardian:


In, say, World of Warcraft you have to do calculations for crucial
strikes and damage limitation while academic dissertations are already
being written on how skills acquired in multiplayer online games are
exactly those needed in industry as the digital revolution proceeds.

Clearly, [online games] that could engage kids in maths during their early
teens could eventually have an effect on the whole economy. Maths is
the bedrock of the digital age.

How true it is. In high school I wanted to learn computer coding, but I never grasped Algebra sufficiently to make heads or tails of it. Even managing HTML for this blog required a bit of learning on my part. I've met kids no older than 14, though, who are in advanced trigonometry and algebra courses.

These are going to be the kids who can adapt to the online world. These kids are the future ridiculously wealthy content creators. As we reported last week, future-minded schools that currently fail to register on the academic radars of teens are adopting innovative Second Life curricula, and even devoting entire course programs to Second Life and virtual worlds.

As virtual technology becomes more accessible across the socio-economic spectrum, I have no doubt the physical walls of schools will fall to virtual learning centers like those proposed for Kenyan students too poor to travel to school. This will not only increase the emphasis on a virtual world-savvy education, but will serve to democratize education across the currently unbridgeable poor-rich divide.

The inner-city school could well fade away, a bad nightmare from the pre-virtual era.

As we've said and as Mr. Keegan boldly states, the model of education is changing with the times:

It is possible we are not far away from a revolution in which formal
education will give way more and more to the attractions of internet learning including virtual worlds. Something is clearly happening.

We can hope the evolution to a math-savvy culture, where learning and play are seamless and where even the poorest can access a top-tier school through the virutal world, is a change not far in the future.

Augmented Reality Contacts Offer Consumers Enhanced Vision

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In the near future, consumers around the world could take a look at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and see a lot more than the White House.

Perhaps they'll skim through a drop-down list of every American President, or maybe they'll skim the most recent legislation signed by the President.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at a new report by CNET outlining a brave new world for augmented reality.

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Should We Preserve Important Virtual Creations?

Helm02 Virtual worlds are drawing in millions of new users, many of whom have no connection to their adopted world's original launch.

Is it worth the effort to preserve the history of virtual worlds for those who arrive late?

The Metaverse is an ethereal beast, with entire worlds flitting in and out of existence. Pixels and Policy looks at whether developers should make an effort to preserve especially important constructions for the historical record.

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Obama Administration Turns to Virtual Worlds to Expand STEM Education Initiative

3492645939_d9b4cd136b The Obama Administration made promoting engineering and science education a major part of their social agenda.

Now the White House is turning to the virtual world to extoll the virtues of a science education to skeptical students.

Pixels and Policy looks at how the White House is calling in the big guns to get their pro-technology education message out to the masses.

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Augmented Reality Finds a Partner in The Music Industry

MK-AZ169_advert_DV_20091028151855There are plenty of situations where a graphical overlay of helpful information might be useful, but augmented reality is still struggling to find potential consumer applications beyond iPhone novelty.

Now an emerging augmented reality company might have found a friend in need – the sagging CD music industry.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at how an old dog might be learning some new tricks.

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