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December 22, 2005

Future Of Gaming To Shape Reality, IBM Expert Says

Courtesy of TechWeb News

Online games will change business, politics and even urban planning as it shapes the way people interact over the Internet, according to experts who podcast to IBM investors Thursday.

The podcast, "The Future of Gaming," was the seventh in an IBM series that predicts changes to come in several areas, including crime, sports, work and privacy. Gaming is changing and growing at such a rapid pace in Asia that experts are watching the region to learn what will happen worldwide.

Not only will today's young gamers expect to be able to interact with networks without using a keyboard, but they are becoming accustomed to paying for virtual products and using virtual money to exchange goods in the real world, according to IBM experts.

The gaming world is also opening up a whole new universe, socially. That new universe is one in which people from all different cultures are interacting. It's also one where social scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, planners and others can test their ideas and gauge online community reactions before proposing policies, zoning or starting businesses in the real world.

"All of those people would have an amazing opportunity here, not only to observe behavior in a new network environment, but also to experiment with things and try online social actions and see how people react to it and have a very good idea of what could happen in reality," said Quentin Staes-Polet, who leads IBM's online game practice in Asia Pacific. "I'm thinking about the Sim [City] game, where you have to build your own cities. Well, urban development is a big policy issue. I bet quite a few politicians around the world, around Asia could learn quite a bit from going into [Sim City] and interacting and see what people have done."

The gaming world is also pushing the limits of Internet capacity, forging new patterns of sharing among participants and providing huge platforms for advertisers and service providers.

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