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Passively Multiplayer Online Games

Funded by a grant from the BBC, Justin Hall's thesis project, the Passively Multiplayer Online Game, is a vast social meta-game that can be played simply by surfing the Web. PMOG provides a framework for understanding our online existence and allows us to rate and categorize our internet proficiencies.

In our modern lives, we spend much of our time performing tasks, experiencing content, or communicating with others through the internet. Our online interactions, the sites we use and our habits while using them, have the opportunity to say volumes about us as individuals, and about our culture as a whole. PMOG (the first Passively Multiplayer Online Game) is an attempt to catalogue our internet activity and use this information in a personal, interesting way.

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The PMOG experience starts by a visit to the install/introduction site, From there, if a prospective player is using Firefox, they can install a small patch that will create an optional sidebar in their web browser and allow them to experience PMOG. The next step is to sign up for the PMOG game itself: once the player enters a few pieces of voluntary information, they can create an avatar for their Passively Multiplayer experience.

As the players go about their usual web browsing, PMOG will gather information about their browsing habits and the websites they frequently visit. This information will be used to help define the user's profile, and also to give the player "experience". Simply by surfing the web, the players can "level up" their character.
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In addition, the player can go on "quests" by visiting sites linked by a common theme. These quests form the social backbone of the game: by participating in the quests, or by creating a quest for others, users can find and categorize new and interesting web content. Enterprising questers can even leave behind unique PMOG items that other players can find on their web travels.

For even a casual user, PMOG could change the way the internet is used. Using social network and MMORPG concepts, Passively Multiplayer gaming is a new and interesting way to share and understand the information that constitutes our online lives.

For more information on PMOG, or to start playing, you can visit the official site. To read Justin Hall's thesis paper on Passively Multiplayer gaming, click here.

How to Sell a PMOG

Project type:
Thesis 2007

British Broadcasting Corporation

Justin Hall, Duncan Gough, Alice Taylor, Merci Hammon, Phil Gyford

Scott Fisher, Tracy Fullerton, Julian Bleecker