Speaking at today's Game Developers Conference's Social and Online Games Summit, the lead designer of Habbo hotel has suggested that virtual worlds are loosing out on an opportunity to welcome more users because of an ingrained blinkered focus on real time interaction.
In his session, titled What Virtual Worlds Can Learn From Social Games, Sulake's Sulka Haro shed light on the fact that many virtual worlds only engage their customers in real time when the player is in the world.
"Virtual worlds are historically too obsessed with real time," stated Haro, adding: "The problem with that focus is that if a virtual world is synchronous, it is temporal. In other words, if the player isn't there the world doesn't exist."
Suggesting that companies maintaining virtual communities continue 'out of game contact' with players through emails and reminders about in-world events and activities, Haro concluded: "If you're making a virtual world you should always constantly remind people that that world exists when they are not playing."
In the same session, Haro outlaid the following four point plan for sucess for all those building virtual worlds to consider:
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