We suggest that novel playware technology can function as a mediator for playful social interaction over long distances, such as where people are separated by physical distance but feel the presence of each other mediated through their interaction with the playware technology. In order to investigate such social playware, we developed the Playware Soccer game and tested it with more than 1000 users during the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The test was conducted in townships, orphanages for HIV/AIDS children, markets, FIFA fan parks, etc., along with simultaneous tests with similar set-ups in Europe and Asia. With the social playware, players would compete against each other simultaneously in three continents, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and feel the presence of the competitors on the other continents expressed through the playware. The playware game is set up to motivate players to engage in training in technical soccer skills by receiving immediate feedback and offering challenges to players of all skills at soccer. It is played on a modular interactive wall composed of modular interactive tiles that respond with colored lights, sounds, and scores of the players’ performance. This article outlines the concept of social playware and physical-virtual tele-play, and exemplifies this with the playware soccer game.
- Social playware
- Modular robotics