One of my friends is involved with a startup, Akoha. Akoha is described as the "world’s first social reality game where you can earn points by playing real-world missions with your friends." It's still in Beta, and is looking to launch sometime in the new year, I believe.
Essentially, you start with a pack of cards. Each card has a mission on it, a mission ID number, and is worth X points. Missions are real world activities like (looking at my pack):
- Donate an Hour of Your Time (200 points)
- Invite Someone for Coffee (175 points)
- Thank Someone (125 points)
- Give a Compact Fluorescent Bulb (200 points)
You do your mission with someone in your real world, and give her the card. She goes onto the Akoha website, and enters the mission id, confirming that the mission passed from you to her, and everyone gets points. There's options to enter more details, and pictures/video of the event. Then she can "play it forward" and passes the mission on to someone new, and the process repeats itself. You can see nice maps and graphs of how your mission gets passed around the world.
It's an interesting idea, especially the way it attempts to mix the real world with the internet. It's also an interesting attempt to promote people being nice towards each other, an altruistic game instead of a zero-sum competitive game.
Of course, coming from the MMO world, I have a little more cynical bent, and it's interesting to see the divide. I briefly held the highest score in the game after bouncing a single mission back and forth between two accounts umpteen times. To me it seemed obvious that someone would try that, would try to grief and/or cheat.
I'm also a little concerned about how they plan to make money. Personally, I'm a fan of the Blizzard model. I give Blizzard money and Blizzard keeps the servers running. It's very simple, and everyone understands their part. These Web 2.0 social networking games/sites, I have no idea how the money flows, and that is a bit worrying.
Heh, here's an exchange that illustrates the divide between gamers and non-gamers. There's a forum where people can suggest new missions.
Someone Else: How about a "Make Love to Your Lover" mission, to show them that they are truly special.
Me: This is going to suck when it gets "played forward."