Communities of Play: The Uru Diaspora

Since 2004, I have been studying inter-game immigration among players of the massively multiplayer game URU: Ages Beyond Myst (based on the 1993 Cyan classic Myst and its franchise), which closed in 2004 leaving 10,000 players as refugees.

My Ph.D. work (SMARTLab, Central Saint Martins University, 2006) was on emergent cultures of Uru refugees as they migrated into and created hybrid cultures in other games and virtual worlds, such as and Second Life.

In 2007, I assisted Turner Broadcasting in reuniting the Uru Diaspora to make a business case for relaunching Uru as part of its GameTap game portal service. Uru officially launched as Myst Online: Uru Live in 2007, and I continue to study, work with, and support the Uru diaspora in a variety of ways. As of April 10, 2008, Uru closed again, precipitating the “Third Wave” of Uru immigration.

A book on my Uru research, entitled Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Online Games and Virtual Worlds, is scheduled for publication by The MIT Press in 2009. Watch this web site for details.

Papers on the Uru Diaspora:
Pearce, C. (2006). “Productive Play: Game Culture from the Bottom Up.” Games & Culture. Volume 1 Issue 1, Winter 2006.
Pearce, C. (2006). “Communities of Play: The Social Construction of Identity in Persistent Online Game Worlds.” Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan (eds) Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.