The NYT tries to get its readers to ‘level up’

A new commenting system at the New York Times has drawn fire from readers, but the motivation for the move is sound. If media companies want to behave like communities (which they should), they need to encourage their readers to “level up” and become more engaged.

Do the Best Web Workers Think Like Gamers?

In the networked, geographically dispersed workplace of the future, the mental traits of World of Warcraft (WoW) enthusiasts — being bottom-line oriented, tolerant of diversity, comfortable with constant change, happy to learn, and intensely interested in innovation — may be hugely beneficial.

Should You Be Forced to Admit That You Have a Dark Elf Army?

Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the massively multiplayer — and massively popular — online game World of Warcraft, has touched off a firestorm of controversy in the gaming community by requiring that users divulge their real-world identities when they post comments in the company’s WoW forums.

PC Games on Your iPad, Courtesy of HTML5

The iPad is already a strong entry in the mobile games realm, with its large, high-resolution display, touchscreen interface and support for external devices like keyboards. Plus it has the iPhone/iPad development community cranking out innovative games all the time, too.

Handling Video Traffic Spikes: In the Event of a Michael Jackson or LeBron James Exclusive

When you run a news site and you get your hands on a video that you know is going to be huge — potentially-breaking-your-site huge — what do you do? In two recent cases, companies turned to new video platform providers that promised they could handle the strain. And in both cases, they appear to have done just that.
Celeb mag Us Weekly last month gained possession of a video of Michael Jackson sustaining the burn injuries that would kick off his lifelong (and ostensibly life-ending) painkiller addiction. The previously unreleased footage from a would-be 1984 Pepsi commercial shows Jackson’s head catching fire when on-set pyrotechnics went off too early. Damage he sustained during the shoot required multiple skin grafts.
[ooyala=dvbDhwOrk6W-3JHmIQ6oTEN9vy8xm_oJ]
Us Weekly’s staff knew they had the video exclusively (they won’t say how they obtained it), and that it would get millions of views as soon as it went up. And they had already been talking to video management startup Ooyala about making a switch from Voxant/Grab Networks, part of a larger initiative to include more video from the site’s new web shows, red carpet events and other celebrity fare. So in a coincidence of timing, the Michael Jackson video was the first video they posted with Ooyala.
Read More about Handling Video Traffic Spikes: In the Event of a Michael Jackson or LeBron James Exclusive

Booyah MMORPG App Aims to be “World of Lifecraft” for iPhone Owners

Booyah, which is available as a free iPhone (s aapl) app, is a new social MMORPG from a well-funded startup of the same name. But here’s the twist: Unlike all other online role-playing games (GigaOM Pro, sub required) , you don’t improve your character by performing fantastic otherworldly tasks, like looting dungeons or slaying hobgoblins — what gamers call “leveling up.” With Booyah, instead, you level up yourself, through real-world activities.

Get regular exercise and attain Booyah’s “God of the Gym” status, for example; jetset around the world enough, and Booyah dubs you a “Wondrous Wanderer.” These achievements are registered as badges in the Booyah virtual “room” on your iPhone, where your comically bulbous-headed avatar resides.

Booyah Achievements

The idea for Booyah originated when CEO Keith Lee and his two co-founders were developers at Blizzard Entertainment, creator of World of Warcraft, which now boasts nearly 12 million worldwide subscribers. That’s largely thanks to the addictiveness of WoW’s character-building and quests, which encourage people to obsessively play for years, just to earn virtual achievements for their Warcraft avatars. As he explained to me in a recent demo, Lee and his partners wondered if they could take the same design principles, which make Blizzard games so popular, and apply them to real life. Read More about Booyah MMORPG App Aims to be “World of Lifecraft” for iPhone Owners