Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Staying In Is The New Going Out

In a comment to my recent post on AdventureQuest 3D, Gen. Alexander commented "I was totally expecting a post about an in-game concert".  And I nearly wrote one. Or at least a paragraph.

There were a couple of reasons I didn't, the main one being that the concert in question took place quite a while ago. Also I don't really like Breaking Benjamin much. Or at all.

I'd never heard of them before the AQ3D gig. If it hadn't been for that appearance I most likely never would. Someone clearly likes them because this video on YouTube has over 165 million views.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the BB gig is the way Artix has installed it as a permanent event in the game. The screenshot at the top is from my recent visit and as you can see there were plenty of people moshing in front of the stage, possibly because the performance now comes with additional in-game benefits.

The encore is a direct result of the pandemic but AQ3D was already provided a virtual space for performance even before recent events, such as this one featuring Alice in Chains. Online games have long offered a potential stage and audience for performers but few developers or artists have chosen to take advantage of the possibilities.

As this fascinating article from Gamesindustry suggests, that might be about to change in a big way. Sometimes you can just feel the synergies colliding. This is one of those times.

All I really wanted to do was link that article, which says much of what I've been thinking these last few weeks and does so with some authority. I recommend reading it all the way through. It's going to seem prescient in a year or two.

My favorite quote comes right at the end:
"...when agents and promoters continue to dismiss virtual concerts as lacking the energy of live performance, they're missing the most important point: next-gen music fans -- the very ones they spend every day trying to reach -- have moved past the live entertainment model. The lack of that live interaction is not a problem with them, as they're already perfectly comfortable with virtual experiences. These next-gen fans are now awaiting the next step in the medium."
And so am I.


  1. I'm writing this comment while Twitch is on in the other screen. I was watching a video gamer, but I switched briefly over to the "Music and Performing Arts" section - total 20.2k viewers, and it's not even US prime time. There are 1.5k viewers watching a Russian in their room play live guitar, and she sounds fantastic too, though I understand not a single word.

    I barely use Twitch, I'm not really in the generation for it. Yet I've also attended Weatherstock in LOTRO once and we already have a mini-sampling of the potential of embodied avatars in GW2's Metal Legion concert meta. So I'm not at all surprised to see actual real concerts in places like Fortnite or Minecraft already taking place.

    The next-gen fans are not awaiting anything. They're already there.

    1. Watching live performance on a streaming service like Twitch is important but different, I think. Dave Graney, whose blog I follow, has been playing gigs during lockdown using StageIt, "an online venue where artists perform live, interactive, monetized shows for their fans directly from a laptop, offering fans unique experiences that are never archived." That's trying to create a one-off event-like experience akin to a live gig.

      The thing about streaming events, though, is they're still very much like watching TV rather than being there. The in-game gigs are trying to get closer to the experience of sharing a space. It seems to me like this is the potential killer app virtual reality's been waiting for, especially if someone can integrate it with the kind of technology Google Glass uses rather than the brick strapped to your head version.

    2. I think my take on this is that the next-gen are already used to inhabiting a virtual space without embodiment. Twitch chat and its abbreviations are a whole world unto themselves - I barely understand the spammed emojis but I'm sure the regular users do.

      Clinging onto the idea of embodiment and trying to get closer to the tangible experience of sharing a space may be counterproductive, like trying desperately to preserve the idea of downloadable music albums for a bundle price when the majority are off enjoying free or subscription-based music streaming.

      It may wind up like VR attempts - too much trouble for too little return, if the crowds aren't there to begin with. Granted, the crowds are very much there for Minecraft and Fortnite, so I guess we'll have to see how things evolve.

  2. I like Breaking Benjamin. Not as much as I did years (and years) ago perhaps, but it helps that they seem to be legitimately nice people too.

    Having said that... Er. 'Mixed' results at best I think for live performances typically. So I'm morbidly curious how they did for this concert. lol

    Enough so to install AQ3D and try it? Perhaps!

    1. It's a light install and it plays on Windows and Android. I keep meaning to play it on my Kindle but I never think of it until I'm in bed and then I would have to get up to go find my login details and I can't be bothered. Same story for Villagers and Heroes. They're both very solid choices for mobile MMORPGs and yet I stil end up playing Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. I wonder if the problem with mobile and MMORPGs isn't the content but the format?

      Sorry, wandered off topic for a comment reply there!


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