(Running notes from the LeWeb3 conference in Paris.)
-- by guest blogger Susan Kish
Japanese entrepreneur and investor Joi Ito opens his speech by looking back at what he spoke at LeWeb in 2005, which was about iPod and the Pepsi commercial they had just released and the generational gap between those who wanted to post content and the restrictions that they had to face. Then he talks about other, current gaps -- between games and the web, and between games and Hollywood, and the fact that the people who make decisions often have no idea about what gap they are dealing with.
Joi complains that there remains a huge huge stigma to games, even though most of us have used games. We use words like “addicted”. There is always the language of online vs. real world, however, Joi notes that for kids the internet is ubiquitous, it is not something you log in / out of. The internet is part of the real world, it is not like you are offline when your mobile is in your pocket.
Multiplayer online game World of Warcraft is 9.3 million users today. When Joi asks the crowd, almost 30% of the folks in the room raise their hands to indicate that they play WoW.
For two years, Joi went to the Molten Core in World of Warcraft two times every weekend, coordinating a global team of 40 people. It is a very sophisticated activity, and is like a formal ball -- a 40 person raid can fall apart in a moment. John Seely Brown calls it an "ensemble", with the sense that you are bringing 40 people towards a common goal.
Joi goes on to note that MBA’s suck at leading these raids as they don’t listen. The best are those in the service industry (night shift nurse, etc.). Joi runs, as a Mage, a guild, and has a real-life priest in the guild. The priest has often stated that running a guild is a lot like running a congregation.
One of the key characteristics of WoW is that it is very working class. Joi states that in his guild, he has people who are practically illiterate. "You have 8 year olds who play with ex-cons, and you need to explain to them that the diversity is very important".
In WoW they use team speak, and have developed a series of protocols so that they can manage the open audio space for as much as 8 hours. There is a different skill set, which this generation will bring into the workplace.
Joi speaks briefly about the issues involved in running his guild, his forums and extensive by-laws. There are regular "town hall" meetings, and people are very focused on being fair and clear.
Joi then talks about machinima, a comparatively old technology which uses game engines to create content and movies. He shows varied forms, including a music video, an ad for Coke in China, and an advertisement for a Toyota truck, which is very amusing. Here it is:
Joi closes with a plea to the audience to support these cultural connections and content creation, and to use the Creative Commons framework to ensure that content can be shared, mashed, mixed and worked through. They are currently working with Wikipedia to standardize across the licenses.