Xbox 360

Here at Imre web design isn’t just a job, it’s a passion. We’re interested in anything vaguely related to computers and the internet, and we get genuinely excited about the progress of new products, services and mentalities. One of the things we’ve kept a keen eye on lately is Web 2.0 (read my Internet World Web 2.0 post below to find out more), and it seems to be cropping up in more places than we originally imagined.

I hear alot of people saying they don’t understand Web 2.0, they think networking is just a buzz word and they say they’re not excited about or don’t even use products related to it. I find that most of the time this is untrue, it’s just they don’t actually realise it. We have several clients who use eBay, this is most definately Web 2.0. Networking is a huge factor in it’s success (without feedback nobody would buy anything) and last time I checked it’s pretty popular, even to those who don’t use computers often. Myspace is another example of Web 2.0 and how accessible it is. The point I’m trying to make here before moving on is that being open to new trends and technologies shouldn’t be daunting, as alot of the time you’re already using them.

Now that you’re hopefully more open to different technologies this brings me onto the main point of this post. I’m an avid video gamer. Most of my free time is spent playing games on either the computer or game consoles. I recently purchased Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console and also bought an “Xbox Live” subscription which allows me to play games over the internet with anybody. I’ve been a PC gamer for years and it’s all very simple you join a game and play, if there’s people ruining the game you either stick it out or hope there’s an admin about to ban them. There’s not usually many achievements or points carried over from game to game, each game you start with nothing. I’m talking mainly about shooters / action games rather than role playing games like World of Warcraft as the whole point of these games is to gather stats and build up your character.

Xbox live (the online service) is fantastic. You have a friends list which shows you who’s online, what they’re playing and what achievements / statistics they have for the game. You can click a button to jump straight into the game with them, or send them a text, voice or video message using a webcam. You can also compare games so you can see which of you has the highest score and there’s even Windows Live Messenger built in so you can talk to PC users and they can see what game you’re playing while you chat.

When playing online you’re bound to find people who ruin the game. You also occasionally find a player who makes the game interesting and fun to play. There’s a brilliant feature that lets you rate players by giving them rep, or reputation, points. Clicking Avoid this Player will teach the 360 to look out for this player when trying to connect you to a game and if he’s there, to try and find a different server to play on. Alternatively, clicking the like this player button will increase the chances of you joining the game they are playing in. Players start with 3 out of 5 rep stars, and they increase or decrease based on the rep given by players. 1 star players should be avoided while 5 stars should be great fun to play with. This point system is global so you always know who to avoid, no matter what the game.

This kind of community rating and networking is what I think Web 2.0 is really about, and while there is no real browser (you can only access special Microsoft sites, you can’t access the world wide web) the same principles are obviously being adopted by other types of internet use. I know this isn’t directly linked to what we do but it’s given me some ideas and I think it’d be dangerous not to keep an eye on as much as we can.