Despite the achievements in immersive virtual worlds and other network-mediated communication, for many purposes there still is no substitute to being there in person. I think this is especially true when making new contacts and when cultural boundaries are crossed. Here is a brief review of som
e upcoming events.
I was looking forward to State of Play IV, a multi-disciplinary virtual world themed conference to be held in Singapore. Unfortunately, it was postponed in December and the new date still remains to be announced. The preliminary program promised lots of content related to virtual economies and the booming Asian market, so I hope it does materialise. The only thing I was missing was a call for papers. Meanwhile, a Japanese-language conference on online games titled Asia Online Game Conference 2007 will be held in Tokyo on February 22-23. Speakers from industry and academia will address topics from community management to development and business models. Cross-cultural issues, RMT and fraud are touched upon as well. In the U.S., Show Initiative, the company previously behind Austing Game Conference, is organising an event targeted at companies interested in using virtual worlds as a marketing tool, among other things. Virtual Worlds 2007 is scheduled to take place March 28-29 in New York. An event I’m personally looking forward to has less to do with virtual worlds, but much with virtual economy. The Inaugural International Workshop on Electronic Payment Systems and Electronic Commerce in China, EPECC 2007, will take a serious look at the use of virtual money as a payment system for real goods and services. The workshop will be held on May 18-19 in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China. According to the organisers, part of the content will be in English. This includes a keynote speech by Bo Harald, dubbed the “father of European Internet banking”.