Answers by Ricardo Sanchez, VP of Content and Creative Director for GameTap
The announcement that GameTap was going to discontinue Myst Online: Uru Live came as a sad surprise to many gamers, industry press, and developers. Myst Online was one of the only "alternative" MMORPGs on the market, and its removal will leave an indelible empty space in the MMOG market. However, Myst Online's discontinuation also raises questions about the future of GameTap in the MMOG marketplace, and Ten Ton Hammer sat down with Ricardo Sanchez, Creative Director and VP of Content for GameTap, who answered all of our questions regarding Myst Online and MMOGs.
Ten Ton Hammer: What repercussions, if any, will this cancellation have on future MMOGs you release? Will you be hesitant in the future to pick up this genre of game? Do you think massively multiplayer games can succeed on GameTap?
The loss of Myst Online is a huge blow to the MMOG marketplace.
We thought the game would fit in well at GameTap in part because we have such a wide age range in our userbase. There are a lot of 35+ people who use GameTap, who were fans of the Myst franchise, as well as being fans of some of our older content. On the flip side, the devoted Uru fans were likely to be familiar with some of our brands like Pac-Man and we thought the two products would complement each other. Cyan and Turner have also had a long relationship so there was an already established level of cooperation and trust there that we could build upon.
Ten Ton Hammer: What are the successes and disappoints from Myst that will you learn from and build upon?
On the disappointment side, well, that there weren't as many people attracted to the game as we'd initially thought. We're very happy with the content produced by Cyan. We think the product was pretty good. But either we were the wrong delivery vehicle for it or we didn't hit on the exact formula for delivering this kind of content.
Ten Ton Hammer: Aside from any financial difficulties the game may have had, were you fairly satisfied with how Season One progressed and finished up?
According to GameTap, the "alternative" MMOG can compete in the market if costs are kept in line with potential audience.
We're sort of seeing this now with some of the flash based MMOs that are cropping up. Hardware and software development costs are lower than for full 3D games like WoW or Everquest, and the game experiences are very different, and very interesting.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there anything else you'd like to tell the Ten Ton Hammer readers and the Myst fans?
What are your thoughts on the Myst Online discontinuation? What sort of repercussion does this have on the rest of the market? Let us know on the forums!