This report is about how the information technology is changing within time and how it has affected the MMORPG companies. In this paper, you will find that not only the organizational structures are changing with the culture, but also its influence on the workers. Moreover, it presents what virtual organization is and the merits of having a virtual office over a traditional one.
MMORPGs or otherwise known as Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games has been getting popular day-by-day since the internet was released to the public, dating back to year 1990s (Anissimov, 2003-2011; Russell, 2006; Sears, 2010). Everything began when the first BBS (Bulletin Board System) game was released which opened the eyes of every user. Since then, it has taken a big leap to inventing the first 3D MMORPG known as Meridian 59 released in year 1996. Nevertheless, even now most of the olden day's games are more successful than the games released in recent times (Axon, 2008; Kirmse, 2000). "Well, they've advanced in graphics for sure and have more opportunities than their older predecessors, but some old ones are still successful, like minecraft & diablo" (Ader, 2011)
Evidently, as the virtual world enhanced, most businesses changed with the macro environment in becoming virtual companies where the employees could telecommute in order to finish the work rather than going to a physical office. Moreover, figuring out what are the changes that would occur to the employees. (Bostan & Kaplancali, 2010)
What is Virtual Organization? VO was originally figured out in the year 1995 to overcome the barriers of time and location. It has been proven that, virtual organization is usually bounded with the same goals. Unlike traditional organizations, VO provides us with informal communication which helps in bonding the coworkers together (anonymous, 2011; Haririan, 2011; Kathleen & Manju, 2006). Such as MMORPG games, it tends to help increase the teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, improve patience and most of all communicating without vocals which is by seeing the tone of the wordings. (anonymous, Parents Need to Understand Today's MMORPGs Rather Than Hate Them, 2010). The structure of the VO is usually flat and it is a decentralized system where there is almost no hierarchical level of the business.
Traditional vs. Virtual Office
As Information Technology has improved over the decades, most businesses have started to implement the method of virtual office rather than having a physical office where employees work is divided into different outsources. Today's business world is becoming more complex and dynamic which requires being spontaneous while making decisions (Kathleen & Manju, 2006). Therefore most of the MMORPG companies are suited with virtual offices as they provide the flexibility and various other merits. There are a lot of reasons why companies might chose virtual office over the traditional one.
Usually businesses have a substantial working environment where employees come together to work. However for MMO organizations, the office could either be a temporary place just to impress different clients and not worrying about lease or mortgage which would be more cost efficient (WebNetLet, 2011).
In this type of businesses, it is either sink or swim. Therefore it is always a good idea checking whether the market is ready for the releasing of the game. In the meantime, gauging the customer reactions by releasing a closed beta helps in knowing the potential of the plan which would help in revising as these companies have the advantage of being able to start instantly (WebNetLet, 2011).
The main reason why MMORPG Company chooses virtual business method is that the game runs 24/7. Therefore, having jobs outsource helps running due to employees having different time zone which they could remotely after prioritizing there working time to improve the productivity and still being able to achieve the everyday goals (anonymous, 2010; WebNetLet, 2011a; WebNetLet, 2011b).
Evolution of Modern Office
In this information age, most of the offices are upgraded to the best where they are "airy and streamlined brushed steel triumphs of architecture" (Xaxx, 2010). However, this trend of having cubicles and computer for each and everyone was defeated by the method of virtual offices. The technology offered in the VO for MMORPG can be defined as the Knowledge Management (MO) Technology. As stated by the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (2001) defines KM as "a conscious strategy of getting the right knowledge to the right people at the right time and helping people share and put information into action in ways that strive to improve organizational performance." Knowledge Management technology supports the Virtual Office with different level of equipments (Pang, 2001). They include:
It is required in virtual office to use these technologies to have a better way of communication between the employees who are working in different countries. Furthermore, collaborative technology helps to get in touch with each other more efficiently through video and audio conferencing. Moreover, tools such as software which helps in sharing documents safely, group calendars and even newsgroups comes under Collaborative Technology (Pang, 2001; Smart technology, 2004)
Intranet & Extranet
Both of these are tools to make it easier to share information within the business. However, the main difference is that in MMORPG companies, they have extended their capabilities to extranet as they have to share information with employees from other countries. Meanwhile intranet is only within the office. (Intranets and Extranets, 2011). Such as Customer Service department which requires extensive information to do the work more efficiently.
In each and every organization, customer is the most important stake holder for them. Without the customers, there will be no organization. Therefore, important role for a virtual organization is having a proper customer service in ready. As the communication will be done through web browser chat for MMORPG, the looks or style of the worker is not necessary. However the attitude is really important even though the employees are from different countries.
"The owners of most MMORPGs don't care about individuals. If you mess something up, search the forums for help, instead of the owners. However there are exceptions: WoW for example, deals with the problems of most customers. Recovers their accounts, gives back items. Players can abuse the system, but the owners keep their customers." (Madis, 2011)
Future of Office Workers
From what we have seen in this report, it is accurate to mention that almost all of the business will tend to transition to a Virtual Organization. Therefore, the labor force has a really slim chance to obtaining employment as the intelligence skill will become more overrated in these types of businesses. Nevertheless, in order to prepare for the future, everyone should be able to understand the latest technology of being able to communicate through internet rather than coming to work to a physical location.
This report shows how much technology has improved with the gaming companies and how it has affected the hard workforce by losing their jobs as the job employment is going down drastically due to most of the company's adapting with the macro environment by transitioning to virtual organizations in order to reduce the wastage and increase the efficiency of the workers. Also provides us a big picture of what would happen in the near future and how to be ready for it before it arrives.