Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Raph Koster: AR (Augmented Reality) is an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online game)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 12, 2016

There’s a lot here that I’m still getting my head around:

AR is an MMO

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say AR is an MMO. Not fundamentally. But in the context of Pokemon GO…. they really did create an MMO, and set it in the real world. Even non-players are at least peripherally involved… or more deeply involved, when it comes to kicking players out of their back yards.

But neither AR nor VR need be MMOs. Especially VR. But AR does have the challenge of being set in real-world spaces, which by definition are shared. Playing a game of virtual blocks on your real-world living-room floor might technically have the potential to include other players or just other people accidentally disrupting your game, but I’d have a tough time calling it “Massively Multiplayer.”

But there is more to it than this… something I should probably explore more in a future post (and once I have a bit more experience in things, too). I’m talking about the impact VR and AR have on real life. Fundamentally, we’ve taken our entertainment and experiences to the point where they are willfully induced hallucinations, screwing around with our perception of reality in obvious but also potentially subtle ways. The lines between reality and fantasy, real-life and just-a-game are blurrier than ever, yet still within our control. So maybe some new lines may need to be drawn.

Filed Under: Virtual Reality - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • Kyle Haight said,

    I’m fascinated by this, because I think it’s the first instance in my lifetime of a technological development that may require the creation of new contextual limits on physical world property rights.

    An analogous historical example is the invention of the airplane. Before that, the question of whether you owned the airspace above your house just didn’t come up. It wasn’t relevant. After, the question required an answer.

    What Pokemon GO does is put a virtual overlay on top of physical property that is owned by other people — without the knowledge or consent of the owner — and encourages people to go to that physical space for the purpose of interacting with the virtual. One could see that as a form of trespass, but if so it would be a pretty novel one.

    The potential legal issues here are endless. What happens if a PokeStop winds up in a dangerous place? Can Nintendo be sued for creating an attractive hazard? If there’s a gym on my property could I charge people for access? Etc.

    Interesting times, indeed.