Virtual World for Hockey Fans

The Edmonton Oilers announced the launch of an online community for kids. Rinksters is a place where children between 6 and 12 can play games, learn about the game and interact with other fans.

Would be interesting to see how using this site would impact future online activity. Would kids move on to start their own site, have a higher tendency to engage with other fans or even contribute to the collection of information and knowledge out there?

Clearly the Oilers are trying to draw in fans of a younger age and get them ready to spend money once they become adults. But this could also be a way to tap into the online activity and behaviour of fans once they mature.

Image from Edmonton Journal.

Computer games

The prospect of including video gaming is going to haunt me until I either accept it or find a really good argument to avoid it.

First off, I’m going to use “computer games” to describe both video games,online games and of course the latest updates with virtual games, you can also review services by professional gamers here. Video games would include Mario Bros for Nintendo or Solitaire on your desktop. Pretty static games, single port to play and not much interaction with other players directly. Online gaming would include online checkers, where you play with another friend or stranger online or World of Warcraft, where you engage with milli When I’m playing League of Legends – I frequently need see folks using running services in competitive servers. ons of other users. For the sake of this posting, I’m going to wrap up all games under one debatable umbrella.

Without a doubt, it’s a huge industry with millions of players online. A ton of money is spent developing and promoting these games. A lot of interesting work has been done researching computer games well. Studies have examined its impact on society, how it’s used by various age groups, how it can used in schools and what lead to its popularity.

Sports computer games are pretty amazing right now. The amount of visual detail is something, but the intelligence of the computer is off the charts. Each ensuing version gets better and better, enhancing game play and realism. For example, at the start of the playoffs, a simulation using EA Sports NHL 2010 correctly predicted that the Hawks would win it. A.I. is defined here as well:

“artificial intelligence…uses real-life data from each team, such as player ratings and line combinations, and includes variances such as injuries and hot streaks to predict a realistic outcome of each game and series”

Online games are a way for the fan to learn more about the game/sport, get into roles they may never be in (game 7 of the finals), and get entertained. Computers games can work as that conduit between fans to generate ideas and collaborate. Information gathered from the game can be used, knowledge generated and ideas shared.

My goal is to examine an online fan community, and their interaction primarily through weblogs. Computer gaming technology is a great way for fans to interact with one another and create/share information. But the barriers to get into computer games and use information still exists. Fans rely on EA to create the game, they buy the gaming console and pay subscription fees. Sport video games don’t allow for much tinkering with the code to alter the game. Aside from creating and trading players, fans don’t have as much freedom as those that are using weblogs when it comes to “produsing” (Bruns, 2008). This could very well change dramatically in the next few years, so I can’t completely forget about it either.

Online fan community and culture

Just wrapping up a great course called Digital Tribes. The concept of cyber culture will probably sneak into the final project for good reason.

The one thing that stuck out most is the fact that culture plays an integral role in online behavior. A culture that is open to ideas, welcomes both participants and observers will probably be more successful. If you want to get people to contribute and share ideas and knowledge, you have to provide an environment that is open and ready. This culture is formed by the technology being used, the structure, including norms and values, and of course the people.

Perhaps this is why the Oilers online fan community has grown to be what it is today. People spread all over the world are talking about the Oilers, sharing ideas and generating knowledge regularly. One thing you will notice when surfing these blogs is the openness to comments. Some comments last a couple sentences, others go on for paragraphs. But both are accepted and reflected upon by the blogging community. The comments that are vulgar, or may be irrelevant are often ignored and eventually get phased out. The majority of the comments have some thought behind it and are typically responses to previous ideas.