Joi Podgorny on Virtual Worlds
Joi Podgomy is Vice President of Interactive Development at Ludorum. She specialises in online communities for children aged between 8 to 12 years of age and has been working in this area for the last eight years.
Lizzie: What do you think draws children towards immersive environments and virtual worlds?
Joi: I think role playing, that playset, that play house thing and that play pattern has always been there. And I think what’s happening now is that technology is just allowing that experience to be played out in a different way…Allowing them to go into those virtual worlds and actually be that character, be the doll, be whoever they were going to be as opposed to just holding the dolls and playing so….
Lizzie: This is a natural extension?
Joi: I would say so…I think virtual worlds are very much at the beginning and of course kids are always right there in all the stuff. Kids are always right there, right at the beginning when something
comes out. I don’t think the virtual worlds that are out right now have really figured it out. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Lizzie: What needs to be there to get children going?
Joi: I definitely think games…I think the video games right now, especially the first person, real time, strategy type of things? Those ones are really hitting it…If you need that complete immersion you
definitely have to have game play, you definitely have to have interaction between the users, they have to communicate with each other and not be hindered by a specific list of words or pre-defined chat.
Lizzie: Should businesses launch their own virtual worlds?
Joi: Is your audience, you know, screaming they want to get to that next level or is it just because it’s in the news right now? I think there’s a lot of those really basic questions that people have skipped
over. Do you need a virtual world? How are you going to justify the costs? These are questions…I don’t see people having those kinds of conversations. I think the hype is making people skip some basic strategy questions.
Interviewed in London, 24th September, 2007
Mwahahahahaha! Well done, Joi!
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