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On The Over-Saturation Of MMO Games 64

An anonymous reader writes "Stratics has an editorial discussing MMO market saturation, specifically triggered by the recent closure of Microsoft's massively multiplayer PC game, Mythica. The piece argues: 'But there is a dark realization that is now being considered, just when does it end? When does the genre hit the ceiling and all that ends up happening is [that] companies resort to passing around subscriptions with no real growth. This is a question that is haunting corporations who have potential products laid before senior management - just how long can it continue? When does the opportunity cost grow larger than any potential earning?'"
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On The Over-Saturation Of MMO Games

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  • by yawgnol ( 244682 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @08:52AM (#8325215)
    Two opposite things will happen that will allow more growth and diversity in the MMO market. First, the tools that are used to create MMO's will become more sophisticated and easy to use allowing smaller and smaller groups of designers to create worlds. Soon very small shops will be able to create intriguing niche worlds/games that will only require a small group of dedicated players to maintain.

    Secondly, the big boys/girls in the field will finally figure out that the real money isn't in creating a specific game or world, but creating and maintaining a META-world in which other developers can create their own games/worlds. Then independent shops can create MMO games that operate in a particular world much as they would create games that operate on a particular gaming platform. So in "Nintendo World" you would be able to race cars, adventure in dungeons, space battles, and buy in to new "games/areas" when they are created...

    The MMO model has just started. I can see a future in which ALL games are actually contained (or at least accessed from) within larger meta MMO worlds.
    • by b0r0din ( 304712 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @11:11AM (#8326428)
      In this, let's just call it a Metaverse if you will...can I keep my Katana?

      - Hiro
      • I agree, but from a behind the scenes perspective we could also call it a standard.

        And yes you can keep your Katana, though it may sometimes turn into a six-shooter, light saber, or a set of retractable claws depending where you're playing.
    • I agree, but I also think a big part of the growing will be done when more unique things are done with MMO games, I play one because I love it, but I am always looking for the next one that has more stuff. Look at planetside, it does teh FPS on MMO when no one else did, it's succesful, now they need to expand on that. Just my two thoughts
      • True, but companies will really only start innovating when the games can be supported by a smaller number of users. The technology to do this is very close though. I think...
    • Though I wish it were so I don't think this is what's like to happen (certainly not any time in the next few decades). If this approached worked as well in practice as it did in principle all the software we would use would be done using very high level tools (that is everyone would use Visual Basic for development of all Window applications). I think the specific requirements of each time of game will mean that developers will need fined grained access to tweak and alter the behavior at a low level.

      I that
      • Well, I agree with a lot of what you are saying... But the main point I am making is that as the technology to create MMO's gets better, it will take smaller and smaller teams to create them, which will serve smaller and smaller niches and create more games with more diversity. More people will play MMO's once they are not all essentially the same.

        There won't be ONE standard, but several...

        The big companies will always write their own stuff, and most people will flock to the big games, but they will als
    • I doubt it (Score:3, Interesting)

      Creating an MMOG is a lot more difficult than creating a single-player game. If what you say could be successful, it would have happened already for single-player games. But it hasn't. For several reasons.

      1) Games are diverse. While people want application software all to look and work alike, they want all games to look and work different. A cookie-cutter game won't sell.

      2) Game designers know it is a huge mistake to try to put too many different things in a game. You should not burden a racing game wit


      • >If what you say could be successful, it would have happened already for single-player games. But it hasn't.

        It has kind of. Remember that video game platforms used to have just one game on them. Pong, etc. Then multiple developers started writing to one machine. This WILL happen with software too, and the most obvious clue that it will happen is the HUGE mod scene. People are making new games with the technology of the old games. Or at a lower level, many design companies use "game engines" like ID
    • Gah, your ideas make me feel light and giddy...too far they're so far from fruition.

      I'm thinking of games of totally different genres that not only just exist in the same world but have a profound effect on each other. MMO's are all about persistent worlds, and ideally worlds that are largely shaped by the actions of the users, right? Now I've got my picture in my mind of one world, that has maybe three or four types of games to play in it, all of which effect the world of the other games.

      Example: Say you
  • Book Recommendation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Operating Thetan ( 754308 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @08:55AM (#8325227) Journal
    Kinda off topic, but there's a lot of stuff on this subject and various related ones in "Designing Virtual Worlds" by Richard Bartle. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in MMOs.

    Going back on topic, there's a fairly good argument that's there's no real growth now-except in the switch from ticks to turn based real time(not a contradiction in terms-rather than each turn approximating 6 seconds, each turn is 6 seconds) the mechanics are extremely similar to the first MUDs. Just as Japanese RPGs are all remaking Dragon Warrior, MMORPGs are still stuck in the levels/classes mold, with repetitive mob killing and a levelling treadmill
  • I think that the tech industry has felt this pretty bad with every aspect of new growth. When will it end? Should I realease my product and waste all of this capital? You won't know until it happens. Even then, I think it's a pointless question. The video game industry as a whole is still growing. As long as a product is in some way innovative, there will be people willing to pay for it. I think a better question is how many clones will people be willing to swallow, until they demand something new again.
  • by *weasel ( 174362 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @09:21AM (#8325338)
    No persistent world [blogspot.com] to date has cannibalized the user base of its predecessors, so why should we expect that to happen any time soon? Sure there is a steady decline in players later in a persistent world's lifespan - but that occurs with or without competition.

    What about, in the intervening 3 years between major commercial releases, the million or so teenage gamers who make that transition into gamers-with-disposable-income-and-creditcards?

    What about the games like World of Warcraft that are positioned to bring in non-peristent-world gamers into the market? Even if WoW fails, it will expose the genre to new players, and pull some of them in.

    These games self-sustain and remain successful with well less than 100,000 players(ww2o,planetside,meridian59,second life,eve,etc). So every 3 years, when on the order of a million gamers become a new viable market for a persistent world game - publishers need only capture less than 5% of that to break even, or 10% to make mad cash. Add in the players who're naturally leaving older games - and why should we expect the market to ever level off?

    Sure, theoretically, the rate of persistent world development could outstrip the rate of gamer-defection + the rate of new-gamer-arrival. But we're quite a ways away from that.
    • the million or so teenage gamers who make that transition into gamers-with-disposable-income-and-creditcards?

      Yeah and the vast majority will become, former-hardcore-gamers-now-casual-gamers-with-dis p osable-income-and-creitcards-but -but-with-less-time-to-spend-on-games-and-better-t hings-to-spend-money-on.

      MMORPG's require a certain taste in games(RPG), a certain time commitment, and thus chances are the number of MMORPG players will remain leveled off.
    • The major ones generally don't steal userbase from predecessors, but there are hundreds of smaller MMOGs out there, and that's about all they do.

      I know of several games (mostly defunct now) whose core user base is almost entirely composed of former Dransik players. Dransik itself got the greatest bulk of its players from Runescape and Hellbreth. Tibia and Dransik have been exchanging players for most of their existence. When Dransik was reworked into Ashem Empires, it was heavily targeted at people who pla
  • time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h0mer ( 181006 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @09:22AM (#8325345)
    I could be totally wrong, but whoever puts out the first MMO that's fun to play without investing ludicrous amounts of time in it will make a pretty penny. Something along the lines of online PS2 game My Street, except, you know, good. Problem is, it's a lot easier to make some more shitty monster models and yet another barren wasteland in EQ than to make some interesting content.

    So far all I've seen is leveling with swords, leveling with light sabers, etc. Who is going to innovate first?
    • For a game like this, PlanetSide has the most potential.
    • Well, I'll ignore the genre part. There are non-sword, non-lightsaber persistent worlds (ww2online, planetside) but they carry their own can of worms. (namely, people don't seem to be as willing to pay for them).

      Powergamers loathe the concept of making a truly casual player friendly game. If you fail at making a casual player's game - you get nothing. If you fail at making an EQ-knockoff stomachable to casual gamers - you still have the powergamer crowd.

      Quite simply, publishers don't want to put money
    • Puzzle Pirates [puzzlepirates.com].
  • by Mantrid ( 250133 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @09:22AM (#8325348) Journal
    The main problem for me with these games - except for this I could probably see pitching in for maybe two a month - is the absolute time suckers these games are. Now some games I can spend a lot of time on don't get me wrong, but the problem with a MMOG is that you can't just hit "pause" or save and quit when something IRL comes up. There's always a battle to finish or a safe spot to find. The publishers are so worried about the cheaters that they place ever more demanding conditions on the player exiting the game.

    Now clearly if my son starts crying or something like that I can just pull the plug and attend to my RL responsibilities, these are after all, only games. But what fun is it to return at a later time, stripped naked, missing hard earned XP, and with a corpse to find?

    Ironically Mythica might've been a bit better - as I understood it, it revolved around shorter, pocket dungeons, making it easier to pick up and play and leave.

    Ah well back to X2 :)
  • As in Casinos where they all make money until Casino n+1, then they all lose money.

    The best we can hope for in this is a Golgotha-like releasing of code, textures and models to the rest of the world. That would be fun.

    (The determination of n is left as an exercise for the student.)
  • by mwheeler01 ( 625017 ) <matthew.l.wheeler @ g m a i l.com> on Thursday February 19, 2004 @09:36AM (#8325428)
    I was never very attracted to MMO gaming because of my ego I guess. For the same reasons online FPSs aren't very fun to me unless it's with people I know. It's the little fish, big pond story. IMHO MMO games need to have some sort of mechanism besides keeping track of kills, experience and money that lets you know you've made a difference in the world.
    • by vrai ( 521708 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @11:43AM (#8326747)
      I agree completely. I can't be bothered with current MMORGS as they are so static. I want to be able to change the (game) world, and see how others have changed it. However there are serious technical and gameplay issues with a dynamic universe:
      1. It's hard enough keeping latency low in a static world - where only minor changes are occuring (players moving, weapons fire and the occasional explosion). If a thousand people were building/changing/demolishing houses, planting/felling trees, digging up roads, erecting giants statues of themselves, etc ... it would be nearly impossible to maintain a playable speed.
        This however is only a temporary problem. Once we all have 100Mbit fibre connections and are connecting to servers with 4x20Ghz CPUs this won't be a problem.
      2. The game has to offer the same level of challenge to all new players. Whether the join at the Beta stage, or after the game's been running for five years. This is difficult with a static world, but if players can shape the world this could be nearly impossible. Resources would get walled off, shops would get destroyed, etc ... Great fun for the early adopters, less so for new players.
      3. Dynamic worlds would require much more active maintenance. The company running the game would have to keep a very close eye on the world and play a much more active GM role. If the GM is good then the previous problem could be greatly reduced. However skilled, attentive GMs cost money, especially as, for any sizable game world, you'd require more than one per server.
      None of these are insurmountable problems - but it's likely to take a few years, and better home connections before truely dynamic game worlds are available.
      • I wasn't thinking on quite the same scale as you. I was thinking more along the lines of visible rewards for good roleplaying or for sending lower level characters on quests etc.. But any sort of dynamic reward system would require more GM involvement and I think that is where the future lies for MMORPGs.
    • This is exactly why MMOGs with small player bases are more fun. Ashem Empires has probably about 10,000 players (if that), split onto five different servers. It's small enough that a newcommer can gain some level of notoriety among the active members of the community. Just about everywhere you go, you'll usually see somebody saying, "OMG IT'S _______!" about another player like they're celebrities. On games with hundreds of thousands or millions of players, it might as well be the line at the DMV, because n
  • Consolidation. It means everyone will have to agree on some standards, cooperate on basic services, and innovate on top of that. Every fiction book that has a Metaverse, or such, always portrays one large universe, not a hundred.

    One universe and then when folks want to play a game, they all go somewhere meant just for playing games. Think: Sims + Ultima Online + Warcraft III + Halflife (2). It's the MMO part that is common to all of these and we all need to agree on some basics that can all work togeth

    • Re:One world (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      OK, so we have one huge "games" zone that everyone jacks into the One True Metaverse to get to. Now we have the same problem: I set up my own part of this zone where people can, for example, take part in a game based loosely on the RPG "Paranoia" (or any other such game). How do I attract enough people to my part of the zone so that you always meet lots of people there?

      As you can see from this example, you haven't solved the problem, you've merely renamed it. The capitalism part comes in because there is a
  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @10:01AM (#8325610)
    MMO games are in a horrible, horrible rut as it is. With Second Life really being the only one thats experimenting with user made content, the majority of MMO games are stuck using the same ol kill rats, level up, get phat l3wt, sell for real money, repeat. Hell we can't even get more creative characters. We're still using the basic humans, elves, and dwarves combination with a few variants (orcs, trolls, and maybe some cat/lizard race). Even the classes are relatively the same. Healer, close fighter, ranged fighter, wizard, thief..

    Companies need to pitch something totally different that'll set them apart from the others. Having weekly events. Set up contests. Have the dev team make their presence known in the game and then give the players a chance to kill them (a la Ultima Online). Come up with a totally different cast of races to play as (humans, elves and dwarves are overdone. Get over it.) Let monsters be proactive, instead of being reactive. Maybe even let monsters roam into town and destroy if players don't kill it. TRY SOMETHING NEW.

    MMO games are changing IMO. The problem is by the time they become good enough to earn my money, chances are I'll be playing CS2 and Quake 4.

    • by b0r0din ( 304712 )
      No games exist that yet have the variables to account for everything. There are several factors influencing the growth of MMORPGs:

      1) Built-in console gaming. Many more people play on consoles than PCs. Sure, there are console MMORPGs and the Xbox has built-in ethernet, but the PS2 and GameCube require adapters and the Xbox charges a yearly fee for access. You won't see true growth until a huge penetration in this market takes place. I'm thinking the next gen stuff will begin to do this.

      2) Undeveloped/unde
    • First off, I'd like to say I agree with some of what you said. I like the idea of having content added (maybe not weekly, I don't want to download an update every time I log on) and contests I can participate in. But, I really don't think classes and races are a problem. It is true that classes are all pretty similar because these games all take root in RPGs. So what? What are different classes that would make a difference? Go think up a class that is unique and it will probably fit in to one of your
      • You complain about races, but someone made cat and lizard races, you just dismiss it anyways, so clearly races isn't the problem either.

        The following is a list of number of non-standard type races in the top 3 MMO games in the U.S., the game their in, what type of creature they are, compared to the number of standard type races and their ratio. Since FFXI's characters/races is purposely reworded and tweaked, I won't use them as an example in this.

        Everquest : Number of non-standard races, 3. The Froglok, th

    • The problem you identify is due to a kind of unspoken cooperation between all the current major players in the MMOG sector.

      All the existing MMOG games use the same basic client server model. This is fantastically expensive to set up and maintain (acting as an effective barrier to entry stopping smaller developers entering the market), and horribly inadequate at meeting the demands of a modern game.

      When UO came out it basically allowed the player to do everything they could in single player RPGs of the tim
  • by Randar the Lava Liza ( 562063 ) * on Thursday February 19, 2004 @10:05AM (#8325636) Homepage
    One real problem is that as newer MMO's come out, the cost of entry is getting very high. Not in dollars, but time.

    My cousin used to be a pretty fanatical Everquest player. As new expansion packs would come out, he'd have to spend hundreds of hours leveling his character up just so he'd be strong enough to try out the Planes of Power, or whatever the new hotness was. All his friends played, and played a lot too, so if he wants to quest with them he has to be fairly close in levels or he'll be pasted in any combat.

    So with any new MMO people have to start over. They have a new character, no skills, and lose all their previous investment of time. If their friends don't switch, then it's another reason not to embrace a new MMO. Why go play if all your friends are still playing EQ?

    The only MMO coming out that says they plan to address this is World of Warcraft. According to early interviews and alpha impressions at Gamespy, it seems that Blizzard wants you to be able to jump right in and have fun, regardless of what level you are. No more spending a few hundred hours killing giant rats and spiders so you can be tough enough to actually try doing something FUN.

    So I don't know if MMO's will be inherently limited if they have proper design. The current crop of MMO's is getting very saturated however. Lowering the cost of entry (level treadmills, money, in-game loot) will certainly allow newer MMO's to compete however.
    --
    "Hands and feet are rarely discovered from these periods because they are usually the first thing carnivores eat. They make a tasty snack and are easy to eat."
    - Dr. Graham Baker, South African Journal of Science
    • There are other games that try to address that. The one I play is set up to put a greater emphasis on equipment than levels. I've only put in about 50 hours of work into my current character to get to level 30 (after deleting probably 5,000 hours of work for no good reason except I didn't like his stat distribution), and with good equipment, I can go with my guildmates into all but the very few most dangerous areas of the game - and those are mainly because my guildmates can barely handle them without havin
    • "The only MMO coming out that says they plan to address this is World of Warcraft. According to early interviews and alpha impressions at Gamespy, it seems that Blizzard wants you to be able to jump right in and have fun, regardless of what level you are. No more spending a few hundred hours killing giant rats and spiders so you can be tough enough to actually try doing something FUN."

      Do you have a url or something for how they plan to do this? Honestly I know it is Blizzard and all, but I'll believe it w
  • Good... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hope the market becomes hyper-competitive where weak projects are snuffed out with little notice and warning.

    Maybe then, the genre could actually have some quality control. Anyone remember the last MMO release that didn't require excessive patching?

    It's not just a event-play issue. These games just aren't DONE. I cannot think of a single release that came out feature-complete, let alone balanced and finished.

    MMO developers and marketers need to learn to finish their projects and deliver what they pr
  • Not until ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:00PM (#8327024) Journal
    The MMOG (RPG is sometimes a misnomer) will not reach saturation until there is a game that:

    a) is not too expensive to preclude play by people who are cash poor (over $10 is too much to pay for alot of folks).

    b) has enough programmed intelligence to allow suspension of disbelief during gameplay (that includes graphics, UI, "AI", lack of serious bugs, etc)

    c) does not require one to play for dozens of hours per week or even a couple of hours every day just to "keep up" to have a level of enjoyment

    d) converse of c) does not easily allow the game to become boring if you -do- play a large number of hours

    e) runs on more than just Windows

    So far, each of the above (with the possible exception of "B") has been reached, but no more than 2 in any one game that I've played. I have been trying MMOGs since the early days and have played 5 of them commercially (ie, I was paying for it).

    So far I have a couple of old MUDs that I still play on occasion, but no MMOGs are currently installed anywhere in our house. Not because I wouldn't like to have one to play, but because so far there isn't one.

    Neverwinter Nights as an MMORPG (the way it started out) would have been possible ... large enough user base to get kickstarted AND it has portability outside of the online domain in the form of D&D (not a requirement, but awfully nice). I look forward to Warhammer online but it has far less mass appeal. The ideas behind Anarchy Online (I don't feel an MMOG has to be a tolkien-esque fantasy) were quite nice but the game engine itself had too many problems. There? No. Star Wars isn't my particular cup of tea genre-wise and while I could get over that it still seems to be the same basic "kill the MOB" type that AO became.

    When a -good- MMO game does come, it won't matter if the market for -bad- MMO games is saturated, it will grow. It may be parasitic growth from the base of other MMO games, but that doesn't mean it won't be a good investment for the right company. Capitalist theory rules this beast.

    • Re:Not until ... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Poietes ( 753035 )
      Regarding point (c), I find that if you're a roleplayer, it's fairly easy to enjoy an MMO without the need to be levelling up and improving all the time.

      I used to play Ultima Online, and I found that I could logon to for half-an-hour, interact with others for a while and logout again, and still feel as though I had a rewarding game experience.

      The problem was that other roleplayers are initially quite difficult to find, and it wasn't an activity that was rewarded or encouraged by Origin etc. I can't speak
  • Oversaturated is an exaggerated term. Right now you have a few big ones, world of warcraft coming up. Apart from that there's not much really. 10-15 years ago there were also hundreds of muds, but not nearly as many people as now with internet connectivity (basically only students then).
    What is definitely missing are some good free 3D MMORPG's. The only one I know that's good and fun is Runescape, the rest seem to be abandoned projects or stuff that doesn't go anywhere.
    Neverwinter nights is just about the
    • You should check out Planeshift (www.planeshift.it). It has a full team of developers working on it almost full time, with a working client and non-advertising based free service.
      The current version is a working test client with limited interactivity, but the next release (due in about 1 - 2 months) has implemented combat, experience, etc.
      The game is graphically on par with most RPGs today, not quite as polished as Everquest 2, but in the same ballpark as online games from about a year ago.

      The people work
      • You should check out Planeshift (www.planeshift.it). It has a full team of developers working on it almost full time, with a working client and non-advertising based free service.
        The current version is a working test client with limited interactivity, but the next release (due in about 1 - 2 months) has implemented combat, experience, etc.


        Due in one to two months? That means it may be out by summer. The next milestone the Planeshift developers reach on time will be the first.

  • The Everquest2 is launched and we'll see what this so called saturation is about.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's an over-saturation of articles on this subject. Every second article in the games section of /. is about motherf*cking MMO games..

  • by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:58PM (#8328545) Journal
    But not because MMO's have hit their peak. It's that all of the MMO's are the same. As another poster pointed out, they all have the same classes. But on top of that, they pretty much all have the same rules. No, or very limited PKing. Horrid point and click combat systems which don't appeal to the mainstream gamer. I think MMO's will really take off when they are blended correctly with fps games. Picture a MMO where combat is like Quake or Unreal but you can gain experence and new items/powers/gold from killing people/NPC's ala a RPG. Sure your level 60 character might be able to kill that level 1 guy, unless level 1 guy happens to be thresh.

    Most of the MMO's now cater to the care bears, have too many rules, are overly complex, have poor combat systems,and are a time sink. Once this stuff goes, MMO's will really go mainstream.

    MMO makers need to get off their high horse of "Creating Virtual Worlds" and focus on the fact that they are creating games. The thing to remember when making games is "Easy to play/learn, difficult to master". The current MMO's are "Difficult to learn, easy to master" (as long as you are willing to spend the time)
    • I think this is a great response. I've been around the MMO scene since about 98' now, started with oldschool Ultima Online and played just about every flavor of the month since. The main argument you see on the subject of PVP/PK is a small minority of players for PVP, and a larger majority for PVE (player vs enviroment also known as "carebear"). Now that always wins the debate in the developers eyes, so they tend to swing the game in favor of the majority of their playerbase. The point you bring to the ta
      • gah, preview button is your friend, all my formatting and spacing got messed up, sorry for the big block of text =/
      • The main argument you see on the subject of PVP/PK is a small minority of players for PVP, and a larger majority for PVE (player vs enviroment also known as "carebear"). Now that always wins the debate in the developers eyes, so they tend to swing the game in favor of the majority of their playerbase. The point you bring to the table, is that in the more mainstream gamer world, the FPS tends to dominate the RPG. I don't have hard numbers off hand, and correct me if i'm wrong, but I seem to recall counter-st
    • "I think MMO's will really take off when they are blended correctly with fps games. Picture a MMO where combat is like Quake or Unreal but you can gain experence and new items/powers/gold from killing people/NPC's ala a RPG. Sure your level 60 character might be able to kill that level 1 guy, unless level 1 guy happens to be thresh. "

      I completely agree. Except for the thresh part. While he may be better than your average gamer in the game, the level difference should rightly prevent him from being able t

  • Things have only just begun. Personally, I'm hoping that all of the games and their proprietary networks will eventually be linked. It would sort of be like Time Bandits. It would be pretty cool if "fantasy characters" (wizards, etc) found themselves in modern landscapes and vice-versa. The possibilities are endless. You could have players teaming up to conquer worlds, to explore and trade, share technologies or abilities, have huge inter-world wars. It could be awesome.

    So, to answer, no. MMO's are
  • Mythica was cancelled because it was a project close to Ed Fries, plain and simple.
  • Innovation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Polarism ( 736984 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @06:09PM (#8332729)
    I've basically played all of the main ones until FFXI.

    UO, EQ, AC1, AO, DAoC, EnB, EVE, AC2, SWG, FFXI, even Project Entropia and Endless Ages.. and some other misc ones nobody ever heard of.

    Problem is, 9 out of every 10 MMOs are pretty much version 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, etc of EQ. It's like AOL here, they all try to emulate EQ because from a business standpoint it was a successful model.

    That's where the investors go wrong in their thinking. In most other industries you can emulate something and make a good profit off of it because it is proven. The only time you can do that in THIS industry is if you are selling a NAME (SWG, FFXI folks?), or if you have a hell of a marketing director.

    If you really want to hook people into this, you have to go about it in a way that makes them feel like they're transitioning from playing their normal sp/mp games to something where they still feel that magic that the sp/mp games give, but have that epic touch with hundreds if not thousands of people playing at the same time.

    Once broadband completely replaces 56k, we'll hopefully start seeing MMO "twitch" games that play like your standard Counterstrike-esque game, low pings, high twitch. Planetside type stuff, only really feeling like the 16 person mp games of old, with thousands of people.

    Turn them into the new "club", where people decide to login instead of wasting 50 dollars a friday night getting trashed. Centralize the genre into 'hubs' where you login to a central service and navigate to which game(world) you want to play that day, be it medieval/shooter/racer/sports/strategy/hybrid, whatever. Have a central avatar that you navigate to these portals that can also be used just to socialize instead of playing those games as well. Games within games. :)
  • Well maybe if you would stop putting ex-lax in my breakfast cereal the bathroom wouldn't stink so bad. Ever think abuot that?
  • World of Warcraft has been in development for 4 years now. MMO's have always taken longer to develop than other genres, so I agree. Over time it will take less and less time. Neverwinter Nights is a good example of how a toolset can be used by your average Joe to make some compelling multiplayer RPGs. However, there is still the hurdle of maintaining server farms to keep your game alive. This is another unique attribute to the MMO industry that it doesn't share with other genres. It's quite costly. I don'

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