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Posts from the ‘MMOGs’ Category

Raph Koster on When Games Meet Web

May 20, 2007


Gamasutra recently interviewed longtime MMO veteran, and founder of Areae, Raph Koster about a talk he had recently given entitled “Where Games Meet Web.” Raph does a great job, I think, of laying out how the games industry is missing the classic disruption happening to that industry from the Web, much like the large media companies in TV, film and music are being disrupted. Here is the core of his point:

“Consider the statistics. Webkinz, 2.5 million uniques in December; you buy a plush toy. Runescape: we still don’t think of Runescape as being part of our industry, but it’s probably the most popular MMO in the world, more popular than WoW.

Toontown is up to more than 2.5 million uniques now. We never talk about Toontown because it’s web deployed. Then of course there’s was Club Penguin, with 4.5 millions uniques in December alone…When you compare the numbers, all of those are larger than the number two MMO in the western world, every single one of them. So yeah, I think people are missing something.

New Horizon Interactive’s popular massively multiplayer online game Club Penguin

Similarly, there’s something up with the ways we do our development practices. The web principles are release often and fail fast. We don’t do that. We plan for two or three years, putting something together and then dumping it out there. With the web guys, it’s just a whole different method of operating. Flickr patches every half hour.

I think we have to look at the current game industry as being a subset of big media, and big media is running into some issues lately. It’s not that they’re going to go away, and it’s not that they’re going to have less power. Well, maybe they will have less power in some ways. But what’s happening in the other industries, like film, TV, music, publishing, is we are seeing a radical redistribution of power–where the money is going and where the eyeballs are going.

Some of the industries have adapted better than others. We’re seeing TV reach a decent accommodation pretty quickly, whereas as music, music just sort of flew head long into a wall and threw up its hands and now it’s cringing in the corner dying, melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. They’re in the position where the industry is suing its own customers because they like its product. Something is completely wrong there.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves; we’re in the exact same boat. The only reason that isn’t happening even more with us is that our industry isn’t relying on proprietary record play. Can you imagine if there was a standardized platform games, if PC were it, what would happen to the games business? The answer is, we’d be screwed.”

Virtual Worlds as “Third Places” II

May 20, 2007


Last September I wrote about something which has intrigued me for quite a while — the notion of a virtual world as a “third place.”

Michael Arrington just wrote on MyMiniLife, which a great example of what I was thinking about then.

I am going to try reaching out to these guys and see what I can learn.

Will let you know what I find out.

Addendum: also check out this NYT article on the new Barbie-world.

Lord of the Rings Online

January 25, 2007


My portfolio company, Turbine Entertainment, will be releasing its much anticipated massively multiplayer game for Lord of the Rings in April.

We had some nice coverage of the game in yesterday’s New York Times.

It’s crunch time over at Turbine — look forward to (hopefully) reporting a gangbuster later this spring…

Online Games/Virtual Worlds as “Third Place”

September 20, 2006


An idea that my partner Steve Arnold and I have been brewing for a while is the emerging opportunity for “virtual worlds.”

What the heck is a virtual world? Think MySpace meets World of Warcraft (or, in other words, a mix between a social network and a massively multiplayer online game, or MMOG).

The meteoric rise of social networks shows that a heck of a lot of people out there like to connect and commune online. And the MMOG phenomenon shows that there are some significant audiences out there who are willing to spend a ton of time immersed in online roleplaying games.

Where this seems to us to be pointing is the emergence of “virtual worlds” which on the one hand have the 3D representations of MMOGS,  but need not be “games” as typically conceived (ie, “men in tights” role playing/quest based games).  Rather they are online communities where people can interact in a much more graphically represented, real-world like environment than the static profiles of the current social networks.

A good example of this is Second Life.

“Tasty Research” has a good post on this, suggesting that MMOGs are, in effect, a “Third Place,” described as “somewhere besides home or work where people can socialize and feel comfortable.”