King 1 Brian J. King C&TE 665 31 March 2008 Using a MMORPG to Teach about New Media & Web 2.

0 Business Models & Competition in Saturated Markets & Integrative Thinking INTRODUCTION As our society and our technology evolves so have our business models and with this to survive in the highly competitive marketplace today’s business people must become highly aware, adaptable, and agile to stay afloat. Existing marketplaces are generally saturated with competition that is already meeting the market need presented by the consumers in the marketplace. An example of an over-saturated marketplace would be the soda business; Coca Cola and Pepsi are very obviously not the only two companies in this market although companies such as Faygo are not going to overtake the competition in this specific marketplace. As business and marketing undergraduate students learn in most general education institutions is more about how the past worked, how traditional markets work, and very rarely anything about how the markets of today are and how to best compete in these highly saturated and competitive marketplaces. The students need to be learning subject matter that teaches them integrative thinking skills and know how to compete in a marketplace of the present. The marketplace of today is saturated with red oceans1 and needs to teach students about how to create blue oceans2 of these marketplaces according to W. Chan Kim the author of a Harvard Business School Press publication Blue Ocean Strategy. A chart taken from INSTEAD (a

An example of a red ocean is Coke vs. Pepsi, a marketplace that is already saturated with competition and is highly unlikely to enter into this marketplace without drastic innovation instilled. ( 2

King 2 division of Wharton’s business school) shows the difference between red and blue ocean competition strategies.

Table 1

Businesses today are increasingly able to compete with the creation of the Internet and the diffusion of technological advancement. With that has come the arrival of new media & web 2.03 companies and principles. These companies are very different then traditional marketplaces that generally have a product they produce themselves, or a store like Target that distributes products from many companies. These traditional companies require large start-up costs, large liabilities, and are already inside of a very saturated marketplace where competition generally can be easily diminished by the massive power of the established brands such as Target and other corporations.

King 3 Although today’s new media and web 2.0 companies have an interesting quirk to differentiate them from the traditional marketplace economics. These companies generally allow for mass customization and personalization and information sharing, as well as the dissemination and delivery of non-mainstream content, products, services, and more. Additionally they generally thrive on user generated or submitted content. With a business model such as this you require very little startup costs and low risk as a business owner and can almost distribute your work load to the people (community) of your website. Many of these companies have developed ways to utilize integrative thinking, technology, and evaluated red ocean markets to develop very specialized niche markets and created market demand where it may not have previously existed; in turn creating a blue ocean. DEFINITION OF PROBLEMS The problems faced is that in today’s university environment as a business student you simply are taught about the traditional marketplaces and how these work, although are not given any (or generally very little) insight into the present time marketplace and how it is evolving leaving many graduates entirely obvious of these companies existing and how they have created a competitive edge against many traditional businesses and business models. There needs to be an engaging and educational simulation game that engages students to learn, foster community, and ideate with these new media companies; in turn providing assurance that the students are prepared for the current state of the marketplace. SOLUTION FOR PROBLEM To address the problems above I believe a MMORPG4 game would best fit how to educate these business and marketing principles in an interesting and engaging environment. Research conducted by various people such as Prensky (2001,2005), Van Eck (2006) and Gee
4 - Massive Multiplayer online role playing game

King 4 (2003-2004) have found that games can be beneficial supplements for the learning process. The environment would allow for participants to join an online environment similar to the popular game The Sims and even similar to SecondLife and will be given a certain amount of currency and will utilize their own ideas to develop a new media or web 2.0 company that follows the principals of the current marketplace environment. They will select from a realm of various basic ideas they would like to start with and begin their business, other players in the environment will have the opportunity to invest in, use the product/service offered, or to vote that the business will sink5, or lastly they can message the user that owns the company and suggest a partnership of some sort. As the users evolve through the game and partner businesses will either succeed through people utilizing their businesses, investing in them, or partnering with other businesses to create mashups6 and to share information through API7’s and RSS8, etc. Players will have to develop a successful business by utilizing the tools above and develop their own business entity as well as invest in others to create a viable market. Utilizing unique monetization techniques such as earning revenue from advertisements, premium services, etc. THE LEARNERS & SURVEY A MMORPG environment that is based on the same community involvement and survives strictly on other players utilizing it to become educated I believe is a lesson in itself. This will be beneficial to the learners as they participate in the MMORPG and will fit the learners’ needs. The learners I would be targeting for this would be ranging in age from high school to graduate college mainly. Although any age group (especially those involved in the market themselves) would provide a wealth of knowledge to assist in educating those that are
5 6

In this instance I utilize this term to symbolize the business not financially succeeding. 7 8

King 5 less knowledgeable and would be given more credibility points in terms of if they voted a business would sink this would have more impact then anyone with no credibility points or very little. The game would present usable feedback by providing outside resources and links to videos, articles, and other media content as well as commentary from those that invest in your business or vote that it will sink. This type of feedback method goes hand in hand with the community-based involvement of the companies the MMORPG environment participants will create. The players in my target audience are digital natives familiar with technology (aged 1824 approximately) (Prensky 2001) thus utilizing the MMORPG environment should be fairly straightforward although a wiki of help resources would be provided. The game will adapt and account for individual differences as you can gain credibility points that have larger impacts on your investments and voting on a particular business in the MMORPG environment. The access to computers should be no issue as most high schools and universities have public computer lab access readily available. Additionally anyone that wants to participate in the MMORPG can do so from any Internet connected computer. CONCLUSION In conclusion the above MMORPG I believe would allow for participants to learn about companies that are truly creating new dynamics in the economic marketplaces of today. The MMORPG will teach about how to create new market needs and utilizing blue ocean methodologies as opposed to competing in an already saturated marketplace with traditional business models and traditional business economics. These are skills and knowledge domains that are essential to compete in today’s competitive and innovative marketplace and should be learned. Utilizing principals of those businesses themselves in an enjoyable gaming environment

King 6 to teach about these principles will solve this need.

King 7 References Application programming interface. (2008, March 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:25, March 31, 2008, from title=Application_programming_interface&oldid=202160916 Blue Ocean Strategy. Retrieved March 31, 2008, from Blue Ocean Strategy - Questions Web site: Gee, J. P. (2004). “Learning by Design: Games as Learning Machines.” Gamasutra. Retrieved March 23, 2008 from Massively multiplayer online role-playing game. (2008, March 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:44, March 31, 2008, from title=Massively_multiplayer_online_role-playing_game&oldid=202302656 Mashup (web application hybrid). (2008, March 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:34, March 31, 2008, from %28web_application_hybrid%29&oldid=202122890 Kim, W, & Mauborgne, R (2005). Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space & Make the Competition Irrelevant.Harvard Business School Press. RSS. (2008, March 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:33, March 31, 2008, from Web 2.0. (2008, March 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:47, March 31, 2008, from Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Game-Based Learning. New York: McGraw-Hill. Prensky, M. (2005, September/October). "Engage Me or Enrage Me". EDUCAUSEReview , pp. 60-64. Van Eck, R. (2006, March/April). Digital Game-Based Learning: It's Not Just the Digital Natives Who Are Restless. EDUCAUSE Review. Van Eck, R., & Gikas, J. (2004). READY Survey. Retrieved March 25, 2008, from The University of Memphis: Retrieved March 31, 2008, from

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