Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Movies Media Entertainment Games

Comparing the MMO Industry With the Silver Screen 95

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the talkies-will-never-take-off dept.
Karen Hertzberg writes "With video gaming — specifically the massively multiplayer online titles — quickly surpassing Hollywood's cash flow, it seems logical that the silver suits at Tinsel Town would begin paying attention to their digital brethren. On the same line of thought, Hollywood provides the MMO industry with a history in the entertainment medium that we simply don't have. Ten Ton Hammer's Cody Bye sat down with four industry experts to draw together some similarities between MMOs and films, and he attempted to use those points to draw out some predictions for the future of the MMO gaming industry."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Comparing the MMO Industry With the Silver Screen

Comments Filter:
  • I don't know why... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <(ememalb) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday August 10, 2009 @04:21PM (#29015665) Homepage Journal

    They (you know, "they") don't tie the two industries together in a video game.

    Login to "Hollywood World", pick your sim. Have them go on sets, act, thrash hotel rooms, act strange on Letterman. Get fat, get too skinny. Drink too much, do drugs. Go into rehab. Be "reborn" with a role that makes you relevant again.

    Hell, I'd play this game. :-P

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      They (you know, "they") don't tie the two industries together in a video game.

      Login to "Hollywood World", pick your sim. Have them go on sets, act, thrash hotel rooms, act strange on Letterman. Get fat, get too skinny. Drink too much, do drugs. Go into rehab. Be "reborn" with a role that makes you relevant again.

      Hell, I'd play this game. :-P

      I beat that game already...

      • by nschubach (922175)

        I think anyone that's played an MMO has...

        The only thing it's missing is getting 100 cups of coffee for the film crew in Stage 4.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        "Fame," the ultimate addictive MMO. Try to leave it behind and go to college...try to find another career...try to go back home to your small town...but you'll always come back to the casting couch for Fame. It's the game that never lets go.
    • Um... this has been done:

      The Movies [amazon.com]

    • by Chyeld (713439)

      They did [wikipedia.org], twice [wikipedia.org]. Like most adaptations that are tied to both industries, they sucked. ^_^

  • Stay Away. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by swanzilla (1458281)
    Try to play a (post N-64) Bond game and tell me with a straight face that Hollywood should be involved in gaming.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      What is it with that Nintendo 64 James Bond game? People keep bringing it up like it was a revolution or something.

      Ever heard of Castle Wolfenstein, Doom or Quake?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by redJag (662818)
        People talk about those games all the time, too. Goldeneye for the 64 is much loved because it was a lot of fun, had split-screen multiplayer and enough levels/modes to keep it interesting for a long time. I liked the three you mentioned, too, but my friends and I used to love getting together when we were younger and playing Goldeneye for hours. My guess is you're just too old to have been the right age when it was out.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by walnutmon (988223)

          or perhaps you were TOO YOUNG to understand that PC > N64

          • by PitaBred (632671)
            On the other hand, you could play with 4 people and a single N64. Can you easily do that on the PC? Especially those of that time?
            • Sadly, only with an N64 emulator. As I've moved away from gaming in the sense of sitting at a screen alone for hours on end, I've found that there's a pretty big void for casual PC games that can be played on a single PC with multiple people. The only things available are a few board games, things like Worms and good old Project64...

              You hear that, gaming industry? I want MOAR!

          • by fractoid (1076465)

            or perhaps you were TOO YOUNG to understand that PC > N64

            Or perhaps he had 3 friends to play with, and they were, like, at his house.

      • Because you only needed 1 N64. You didn't have to know anything about networking. It hooked up to a TV easily. It didn't have complex controls, which made it easy to pick up.

        Hell in college it was a fucking awesome drinking game because it was so simple to play. I want a remake on the Wii, don't change a thing but update the graphics and maybe a level or two.

        • by hal2814 (725639)

          Speaking of college, I was a freshman at the height of Goldeneye's popularity. You'd see an N64 hooked up and people playing it at parties. And I mean real parties with kegs, and girls, and fun drunken stuff. The only other games I've seen with that kind of popularity among the non-gamers are Wii Sports and Guitar Hero. That's where Goldeneye was popularity-wise. A lot of people forget that for a very brief time, normal folk were playing an FPS on a regular basis and doing it in a social setting.

      • Goldeneye was the first console shooter that really worked. Plus, it was a ton of fun on local multiplayer in a time before online play was common with console games, making it fun to play, plus had lots of secrets.
      • by SL Baur (19540)

        Ever heard of Castle Wolfenstein, Doom or Quake?

        You're responding to a post discussing the tie-ins between games and Hollywood. Where's the movie tie-in on the three games you mentioned?

    • I thought Everything or Nothing was a great game and plot wise I consider it among my top five Bond movies.
  • They should be looking at the differences to see where convergence will generate a lot ^H^H^H little more money.

    My prediction is that by 2020 films & their ilk will have all but disappeared, like lithographs in the age of photographs, or 16mm in the age of video. etc. etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by icegreentea (974342)
      That analogy doesn't make sense. Lithographs vs photographs, and 16mm film vs video are cases of the technical medium being replaced, while the basic art form remains the same. Lithographs and photographs both serve the same purpose, to visually capture a moment in time (approximately), while film and video both serve to capture some interval in time.

      Film, like physical film might all but disappear in 2020, but I bet that there will always be something analogous to it, even something as 'mundane' as digital
    • by e2d2 (115622)

      I disagree. Simply moving to digital "film" format will keep the genre alive.

      Like I stated below in a post, some people like to listen to/watch/read a story instead of participating in it. Modern movies are IMHO the most well produced entertainment on the market. They have perfected the craft of story telling. It's gonna be a long time until the moving picture format goes away, if ever. In fact, one could argue that modern video games simply borrow from it, continuing the format.

    • by westlake (615356)

      My prediction is that by 2020 films & their ilk will have all but disappeared, like lithographs in the age of photographs, or 16mm in the age of video. etc. etc.

      Wall-E is as technically advanced in its use of digital techniques as anything we have seen.

      And yet Wall-E at it's core is a silent movie - and the silents were never projected in silence - but told their stories through music and expression alone. Wall-E is no less deeply rooted in the aesthetics of 35mm film and optics.

      The end credits of "Pre

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday August 10, 2009 @04:29PM (#29015737) Journal
    While some of this may have apt parallels, one of them seems a bit of a stretch. And that's the old Western Vs Eastern card:

    With Hollywood operating a fully-functioning, movie-making machine throughout the two World Wars, it wasn't until Asian cinema blasted onto movie screens in the 1950s that we saw really poignant non-English cinema. Akira Kurosawa was perhaps the most influential of these Asian film makers, and his films Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress went on to influence a large number of film makers. However, Asian cinema still hasn't caught up to Hollywood in terms of overall, international popularity, and may never surpass the Los Angeles juggernaut.

    However, the scenario is different when it comes to video games. Nintendo and Sony - and Sega for many years - have held a tight-fisted grip on the video game world⦠but not so with MMOs. Remarkably, MMO design and development has remained a very segregated sphere with very little crossover success occurring. Still, the MMO industry is beginning to feel the influence of our Asian allies quite significantly, and the buzz around this fall's upcoming release of Aion only proves this point.

    The question still remains: Will Asian MMOs ever succeed where their film brethren have failed? I went to our experts to find out. Again, the answers were mixed and divisive along several lines of thought. Rather than preface their thoughts in any way, I'll just give you the ideas of the men, straight from their mouths.

    I think a lot of the responses deflated this pretty well even though a few reinforced it. I've been torn apart on Slashdot for claiming Hollywood out performed other country's movie studios (like the USSR) [slashdot.org] so it'll be interesting to see the movie buffs here come out of the woodwork. The fact is that you can't judge a country's MMO successes based on its movie successes. Luckily most of this article doesn't attempt to do that but why ask, "Will Asian MMOs ever succeed where their film brethren have failed?" It doesn't make any sense to me. Compared to 95% of other countries, I find Japanese movies to be very successful. Same with their MMOs. I don't understand this parallel or the differences between MMOs here and MMOs there. WoW has obviously been very successful both in China and the US ... and while Chinese studios may only have one per year debut in US theaters, they are successful in China. Confusing to compare across countries the movie/MMO success stories. Weakens the comparison of MMOs to movies in my book.

    • Many neglect to realize what their target audience is. /. isn't filled with marketing and business majors, after all...
    • Yikes, have you ever actually *seen* Chinese domestic movies? Ugh...I thought Hollywood was unimaginative and relied on spinning the wheel-o-tropes to generate stories, but the Chinese movies are even worse. The really bad part is that now the "edgy" films are aping Western films and doing coming-of-age flicks and modern alienation. You'd think that kung fu flicks would get done less, too, but nooooo.
  • We're ahead of the filmmakers' schedule... we've already got a million remakes of World of Warcraft, none of which are as good as the original.

  • by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Monday August 10, 2009 @04:31PM (#29015761)

    I've got this! They're like action flicks! Except with loot!
    *No plot
    *No cinematic story telling or character development (just nonstop action)
    *They make tons of money corporate executives want
    *Corporate executives are interested in making money, but are too stupid to understand what a video game (much less a MMO) really is
    *By making comparisons with an established industry, you can pretend to lend credit to your MMO ideas
    *One company has a virtual monopoly on what consumers get
    *I'm just going to start pulling stuff out of my ass now
    *MMOs and movies both overcharge for the highly desirable yellow products (gold, popcorn..)
    *People write articles on how they're correlated!

    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      Erm...we're headed there now:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRS90V8BQGo [youtube.com]

    • by Zixaphir (845917)

      And all the players are extras...

      Which means they're like viewers...

      Because, y'know... their roles don't matter by the end of the day.

    • by martas (1439879)
      *You can waste a lot of time on both, and even more time reading articles on the topic.
    • I agree, except for the plot thing.

      You see, that's a "traditional" rant of the old industries "but, the game has no plot. so it's also no real art!" blah, blah...
      But actually, all forms of entertainment you could ever think of, are subsets of what games are.
      Including those with a plot.

      The point is, that a plot is the natural opposite of freedom in games. And there's no way to circumvent that.
      But that is ok. Because plots in games are partially besides the point.
      And the point is to create a specific experien

      • Sooo... are you arguing that MMOs do have plots? I think you're arguing against a point I never made (in other words, you are agreeing with me that these games do not have plots).

      • by Keill (920526)

        "But actually, all forms of entertainment you could ever think of, are subsets of what games are.
        Including those with a plot."

        No.

        There are two archetypes of entertainment, both of which are (or should be) considered the main forms of art:

        Story telling, and story writing. The ONLY thing these two CAN share, is setting...

        Setting is therefore the main area in which games can benefit from all of the development of the various forms of story telling (books/films etc.).

        Games are what we generally call the type o

      • by erple2 (965161)

        Or to be more correct: There are four things in games: mechanics, story, aesthetics, and technology.

        I disagree. There's really only 3 - mechanics, story, and aesthetics. A new technology is strictly a method for delivering the other 3. I therefore don't think that it's one of the core aspects of the game. In other words, the technology doesn't manifest itself unless through at least 1 of the other things. I'd conjecture that you can get any of the others without requiring the others...

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Duh, you forgot the hot chicks in skimpy clothing.
  • lolwut? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Desler (1608317) on Monday August 10, 2009 @04:33PM (#29015781)

    With video gaming â" specifically the massively multiplayer online titles â" quickly surpassing Hollywood's cash flow

    This is fucking bullshit. Each of the Hollywood studios brought in around $8-12 billion each last year. Activision Blizzard as a whole company only made $5 billion. World of Warcraft is the most successful MMO to date and it grossed around $1.1 billion last year. I'm not sure where this submitter is getting that an MMO title's cash flow exceeds any Hollywood studio's cash flow, since it's total BS.

    • by Desler (1608317)
      Oops that $1.1 billion was for all of Blizzard. WoW only grossed around $250-300 million which makes the submitter's comment even more patently absurd.
      • by Warheft (1578209)
        Please provide links to your data. I fail to see how WoW could have possibly only grossed $250-300 million last year. Perhaps netted that little, but not grossed.

        11 million accounts * $15 per month = $165 million per month (give or take a few million for long term subscription discounts)

        $165 million * 12 months = $1.98 billion per year approx. gross from subscriptions alone

        Add in new sales and you get an even larger number for gross.
        • I don't know how much WoW grossed but it is is important to remember that the account totals announced are always worldwide. WoW does not have 11 million accounts in North America/Europe. There are more accounts based in China than anywhere else. WoW does not charge $15/mo. in China.

          From: http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/50881 [shacknews.com]
          Blizzard Entertainment's unavoidable MMORPG sensation World of Warcraft (PC) now sports over 10 million active subscribers, the company has announced. Of those, about 2.
          • by Warheft (1578209)
            Thank you for providing references to your data; however, it still does not change the fact that Desler pulled numbers out of their ass and did not provide any links to back up their claim.

            Even with only 4.5 million subscribers paying approx. $15 per month, the gross would be $810 million per year. That alone puts their gross earning well over the stated $250-300 and does not take into account the Asian market, where if each of the stated 5.5 million subscribers bought just one points card per month it wo
      • by Tanktalus (794810)

        I have a question about these numbers. What is the net profit on MMO games vs movies (especially the movies that are related to MMOs where there are comparisons to be made)? I realise that TFS is talking about gross, which is completely different, but I'm just wondering if net profits (not counting the Hollywood Accounting that claims that box office smashes lose money) are showing MMOs to be quickly catching up if not surpassing movies. The challenge here, though, is to get some meaningful lifetime numb

        • by fractoid (1076465)
          Net profit is probably greater for a successful MMO but it's *very* heavily back-loaded. A movie can get away with 1-2 years from a script to announcement to theatrical release. To be actually successful, an MMO will need at least 3-4 years in development plus a lengthy (6+ months) closed alpha/beta AND a similar scale public beta. Call it 5 years all up, for a team of at least 40-50 people. On the other hand, a skeleton crew can continue to maintain that MMO for its 5-10 year lifetime, over which it will g
    • Every couple of years, the "videogames are overtaking cinema" claim pops up. And every time, it's been wrong.

    • by bill_kress (99356)

      The only way I could possibly interpret the claims are that they are using the ratio of investment:profits per game/movie--still ridiculous because you can't invest 50x more than wow (in new games) and expect your profits to grow 50x.

    • Re:lolwut? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday August 10, 2009 @05:16PM (#29016287) Journal

      Each of the Hollywood studios brought in around $8-12 billion each last year.

      World of Warcraft is the most successful MMO to date and it grossed around $1.1 billion last year.

      How many movies did each of the Hollywood studios release last year? If you're going to compare game vs. movie, then it's erroneous to look at total revenues for the Hollywood studios.

      As for the aggregate for each industry... well... movie ticket sales in 2008 (a record high, btw) was approx 9.8 billion dollars. Videogame software sales were 11 billion dollars (hardware sales were just under 8 billion). See, anyone can pick irrelevant numbers to make their case (notice I left out home video purchases and rentals, around 30 billion IIRC).

      What's made so many people take notice is that blockbuster videogames now take in more cash than blockbuster movies, which was the point of the quote that you argue with.

      • You are handily forgetting the important fact that movie ticket sales are an ever decreasing source of revenue for the film industry.,

        Films usually make more on DVD/BluRay than they do in theater now, not even including pay per view and cable distribution. So quoting only box office sales is a big no-no.

        I love articles like this. It is classic Slashdot, elevating something popular mainly only in geekdom to some kind of broad-market status that simply does not exist. For example - World of Warcraft has 11.5

        • by sien (35268)

          Spot on.

          And what's really great about slashdot is that it is also classic slashdot for people like you and others to come in with figures and good information and very correctly point out that the claim is BS.

          That's why people stick around.

        • by zobier (585066)

          Notice He left out home video purchases and rentals, around 30 billion IHRC.

          Did you mean to reply to GP or TFA perhaps?

        • by brkello (642429)
          If you think gaming as an industry is only for geeks and a non-existent broad-market status, then you are either not paying attention or incredibly stupid. How old of an industry is film? How old is computer gaming? How much market share has gaming gained in its short existence? How much is it growing each year? And on a personal note, how old are you to be so out of touch with reality?
          • The article is about MMO gaming, not gaming as a whole. They are totally different beasts. In terms of sales and revenue almost all of the growth in gaming in the past two years is as a result of the explosion of casual gaming, popularised by the Wii. Casual gaming is about as far from MMO as you can get.

            MMO is never going to become mainstream because most people do not become infatuated with their entertainment in such a way that they want to devote hours upon hours to it nightly. This is a uniquely geek t

        • You are handily forgetting the important fact that movie ticket sales are an ever decreasing source of revenue for the film industry.

          Handily forgetting? Despite the fact that I explicitly mention the 30 Bn in home video and rental revenue for 2008? Despite the fact that I actually state that I'm cherrypicking numbers to make a point?

          You missed my main point, which is that blockbuster video games gross higher than blockbuster movies, which is why they've caught so much attention.

          This is why I love slashd

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lazy Jones (8403)

        What's made so many people take notice is that blockbuster videogames now take in more cash than blockbuster movies, which was the point of the quote that you argue with.

        Somehow I cannot get used to the idea of calling best selling videogames such as "Wii Fit" (20m+ copies, 2b+ revenue) a "blockbuster". Next thing we know, people will be talking about "blockbuster" Barbie doll dresses or blockbuster Lego Kits.

  • I will always love movies, because sometimes I just want to watch a story and not participate. Just like I'd rather read a book than write my own.

    Some interesting predictions in the article though. One thing they should recognize is the power of the indy developer. Look at how the movie industry has moved to embrace the indy film industry, if only because it shouldn't cost a 100M dollars to make a good film and get a good return on investment. All parties win.

  • by reginaldo (1412879) on Monday August 10, 2009 @04:39PM (#29015849)
    In a world ruled by darkness, could one man kill 20 spiders?

    In a time before time itself, will one spaceship be able to deliver 10 space cows to Jita IV?

    The movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting to level: MMO Grindhouse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Digestromath (1190577)

      MMO: The Movie

      Act 1. Scene 1.

      Ext. Bank, Daylight

      The Hero, Heroine, Sidekick and Disposable Guy#1, stand outside the bank, hanging around the mail box.

      Hero: LF Healer, for heroic movie then gtg! Have geared tank, DPS! Must be keyed and exalted rep status!

      ...

      Ext. Bank, Night

      Sidekick: Seriously, screw this. Can't buy a freaken heroic run on this server. That's it, when a new MMO comes Im jumping ship.

      Sidekick leaves party

    • Imagine those lines voiced by Donald LaFontaine when you read it, and for me, it's easy to imagine people lining up at the theaters to eat it up.

  • by locallyunscene (1000523) on Monday August 10, 2009 @04:56PM (#29016027)
    I couldn't get through the page fest to check if they made the one parallel that really matters: movie execs would love to "lease content" to you the way MMO's do. That's what they want to be the future.
  • Everyone brings a wireless laptop, and game moderators look for interesting action from either an individual player's perspective, some shots of actual gamers playing, and/or some "camera angles" so you can see large scenes within the game. Could easily be a 3-way splitscreen with a little of each.

    You can come to watch the big screen (and pay), or participate in the actual game (and pay a lower fee or get in for free - maybe even get some love in the form of free concessions or something). Gamers play for

  • A movie is a story; a game is a place you go. Too much story in a game makes the game a "track ride", where you ride along the plot track, mostly doing drive-by shootings. This has been the curse of most movie-licensed games.

    Fortunately, the game industry has gone beyond that. Most major games are now large-area free-play games. There are plotted things to do, but you're not locked into the plot. You can start up GTA IV and just tour Liberty City if you like. Try that with early Star Wars games and

    • by scoser (780371)

      EVE is run from Bellevue, WA.

      EVE Online is actually run from Reykjavik, Iceland (a London datacenter provides the hosting).

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      Do the MMO's (never played one) allow players to set up challenges and situations for other players? Can they build dungeons/space stations/oil rigs for others to go through.

    • by Randym (25779)

      The free-play model breaks the Hollywood process, which progresses from plot to script to production in a very sequential way. Game development today is more about world-building. There are subplots, but often there's no overarching plot at all. Nor is there necessarily a story arc.

      In a certain sense, a "story" is just a cross-section of a "game". But that very act of differentiating a plot from its environment induces the story to appear: characters with motives utilize the gamescape at a 'higher' leve

  • In a world where MMOs and movies collide...one man comes forth to save humanity.

    (Voice over) It is dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

    "CUT! Where are the grues? What do you mean they need dark? What is this lame? Damnit, stupid game developers. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FILM THE GRUES IF I CAN'T SEE THEM?

    What do you mean, infrared cameras? Oh. Nice. Carry on, dead voice-over guy."

    Arnold Schwarznegger: "We've got to get out of heauh!"
    Adam Sandler: "NO! They're all gonna laugh at you!"
    Gary Col

  • Remember when MXO started they promised that everything that happened in the game would become lore for any more movies. Too bad that the brothers(!?) screwed up the last two so bad that there never will be any others. Of course MXO bit the dust last month and no one even cared about the end of the Matrix.
  • I think I just rolled any eyeball out of joint.

  • The motion picture and television industry is cyclical. Which is why you see so many remakes, clones and sequels. But it has been willing to embrace every popular fictional genre.

    The premise of most online games tends to read like a "Mad-Lib" generated from the stock elements of D&D, Stars Wars and GTA.

    The open world allows you to disconnect from the storyline - but then its back to same old grind.

    Advancement in the game is measured by the body count. Smarts and skill count for less than the time you h

  • From the article: "With Hollywood operating a fully-functioning, movie-making machine throughout the two World Wars, it wasnâ(TM)t until Asian cinema blasted onto movie screens in the 1950s that we saw really poignant non-English cinema." The writer seems to have missed the influential pre-nazi German cinema industry that seriously challenged Hollywood in innovation and quality in the 20s and early 30s. Some of the stuff is still perfectly watchable today.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

Working...