A webcast of the 2006 Symposium is available at this location in iTunes.
Virtual Worlds and Massively Multiplayer Online Games are hugely popular, they are huge business, and they are hugely hyped. Just a few years ago people designing, studying and discussing MMOGs and VWs spent huge amounts of time explaining their most basic features. Nowadays, most people have heard about these strange worlds, many millions of them play in them or hang out in them, and it’s hard not to be exposed to endless news/magazine stories about them. When the first State of Play Conference burst on the scene 4 years ago it was a revelation because it came at the beginning of this trend and asked “What are these strange new worlds?” Now it’s time to take a step back and take stock of virtual world research, and to ask “How did we get here?” and “Where now?”
The State of
Play/Terra Nova Symposium is going to do just that. This academic
Symposium is allied with Terra Nova, the blog about the serious study of
virtual worlds. This is a very small event that picks up on the
mission of Terra Nova: it is going to engage in the serious study of
virtual worlds by getting researchers to inquire into the nature of
research into these worlds. The Symposium will gather researchers,
scholars and thinkers together to ask how we should study virtual worlds,
what are the most fruitful lines of research, the most interesting
substantive developments, and the most fascinating voices from whom we
should be hearing? In short it will chart the rise of virtual worlds
research and ask where we go from here.
The Symposium is intentionally designed to be a small event, with attendance capped at 60 participants. With luck, good weather, and the application of liberal amounts of food and drink, we hope to create an environment where serious questions about these worlds can be asked and perhaps answered. Although the Symposium is arranged around sessions with set topics and with some identified speakers, there won’t be long presentations or extended set pieces. The panelists will set the stage for a discussion amongst all the attendees about all the most interesting topics in virtual world research.
We hope that you can join us.