In these days when we all walk around with a thousand gadgets strapped to us and our cars, so we can always be in contact with work, family and friends, why not be in touch with our level 70 Shaman as well? To be able to know if you've been out-bid on a few thousand gil/gold/platinum, or know if a raid is canceled so you could stay out later. I think the potential functionality of these sorts of tools could be really helpful to an expanding and ever-competitive MMO market.
That being said, as with all things involved with MMOs that aren't directly in game there is a downside. When you look at things like RMT there is a downside for aspects of the game being made available outside. And not only that there are the psychological side-effects too, because you'd have to be blind, deaf, and locked in a box at the bottom of the Khazad-dum, to think that some people aren't far too involved in the games they play.
I suppose it's a double edged sword really, by integrating these sorts of things into text messages, or emails to our blackberries. Some people will use it as it was intended, as a simple tool to know if something is going on in game, so we can decide if we should log in now, or maybe go catch the end of the hockey game down at the pub with our friends. But of course, other people would use it as another link to a potential addiction, checking their auctions endlessly while at work, or out in a social setting, being drawn deeper and deeper into the game.
But looking at the idea through rose coloured glasses I truly think it has a lot of potential to be a valuable tool in future MMOs to allow people to track things in the game with more accuracy. And really that would only be the start I think, as time went on more and more integration could be found in terms of tracking other players movements in the real world, so you know when to ransack their kingdoms (okay, that one should never happen). But there could be other ideas, where you could opt in to in game messaging to your cell phones or blackberries from other players without the need of tracking down people's MSN/AIM/Yahoo/ICQ/Jabber accounts and just click on their characters name in your friend list and choose "send as SMS".
To be able to send out a Guild Message of the Day, to everyone even if they aren't online could be invaluable. I've spent the better part of two years as a raid leader for a decently progressed guild, and I would have killed to be able to send messages out to people letting them know to spend more time playing with their kids tonight, or to call up the girlfriend for a night out, because a raid was canceled. Instead I'm stuck with waiting online all night for each person to log in, so that I can tell them why it was canceled, when the next raid would be and that I'm sorry to have wasted their time.
But I suppose all of these sorts of things are just a pipe dream for now, because not only would developers have to come up with all sorts of new tools and practices for these sorts of ideas, but there would also have to be a considerable amount of market demand for something like. Or even more importantly to some people, a game where this sort of integration makes sense.
Certainly a tool such as this would have worked wonders and fit right in to a game like The Matrix Online, but I doubt the lads down at the Green Dragon would be too interested in texting a fellow hobbit when a Cave Troll comes to town.
I suppose ideally this would be for modern or sci-fi mmos like Eve Online, Tabula Rasa, The Matrix Online, and maybe even the CoX series of games. Where the technology is easily integrated into the game, and makes sense for the lore.
Either way I think it would be an interesting next step for MMOs to start using; as well there could be a number of other great features that would come from looking into this sort of tech.
Is there anything in specific you would like to see pop up on your phone in relation to your game of choice? Drop a line in the comments below, I'd love to hear some other ideas about integration of gaming and gadgets.