Thanks to the Moscow Times for their article discussing the rise of the Russian-based PC MMO title Sphere, which "is the first MMORPG developed in Russia and catering specifically to Russian players." According to a spokesperson, there are markedly different limitations to Western titles: "From the beginning, we faced a big technical problem -- how to make a game that would work well over our absolutely abominable phone lines." In addition, some of the economic problems are also intriguing: "Since few Russians have credit cards, 1C developed another scheme for online payment... [using] Yandex-Dengi, a ruble-based payment service similar to the dollar-based service PayPal. Players interested in a low-tech alternative can also re-subscribe by buying a fresh Sphere CD for about $6 every month." Overall, the MMO's subscription "costs about half as much as EverQuest's, opening the door to cash-strapped Russian gamers", and it's attracted over 15,000 players in the first 3 months.
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