Commentary

Dancing Without The Stars?

"Everybody loves 'Dance Dance Revolution,' so why not make it massively multiplayer?" seems to be the thinking behind Acclaim's offering of "Dance!" It's a massively multiplayer online game where players "dance" to a beat to compete and can optionally use a USB dance pad. A neat idea, but it indicates the possibility of an entirely new direction when considered along with Endemol's announcement of "Virtual Me."

Want to be a pop star? A movie star? An action star? "Virtual Me" offers players the chance to participate in virtual versions of TV talent shows like "Fame Academy" and "Operacion Triunfo," and game shows like "Deal Or No Deal and "1 vs 100," and to form real relationships with other virtual avatars on the Web.

Meshing TV and gaming for a personalized TV experience? Allowing users to customize an avatar and place that avatar into broadcast content is an interesting idea. It does present a few questions, though. If participation is limited to only a handful, how has the model changed from the traditional broadcast model, besides using animated characters in place of flesh and bone? If participation is open to all, how is the model different from a traditional gaming experience? And perhaps most important -- is there an interest in watching dancing without the stars?

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