A Gaming Bully - Page 2

Updated Thu, Jun 04, 2009 by B. de la Durantaye

Krausnick continues, “MMO players were once a relatively niche segment of the game playing population (much less the general population), but with the launch and general acceptance of WoW, our hobby has begun a full court press on popular culture. What we're going to see is a generation of MMO players not limited to what would be considered 'traditional' gamers, but covering a much larger demographic. These MMOers are perpetuating and expanding the acceptance of the concept of participating in an MMO as a hobby - freely spending their leisure time simultaneously for digital entertainment and as a social outlet, and that is a powerful thing. WoW has simply, in terms of both growth and cultural mind share, had an impressive impact on the MMOG community.”

So, with all of these new players in the market, and more coming in, the effect on designing games from the core greatly changes, as Krausnick points out. Developers not only need to recognize there are players from different schools of thought, but they need to develop a firm plan from the get go.

Jørgen Tharaldsen, Creative Producer of Funcom states that “it also means that the bar is raised for the other MMO companies, and I don’t envy any newcomers entering parts of this market for the first time. Whatever is made is compared to the current feature set of World of Warcraft, and that is no easy thing to match. So I guess the game is on now, how to out-blizzard Blizzard?”

That really is what the game has become. As much creativity goes into these games, at the core, they are still a business, and need to do smart business in order to keep the games running, or none of us would have any games to play at all. So, from a business standpoint, what is the key to making a successful MMOG? Tharaldsen answers.

“I don’t think there are any easy answers to that if you are playing within the traditional fantasy MMO field, but there are so many other approaches opening up now. As such, I think Blizzard has shown the way for the ‘early’ mass-market potential of the genre, and as the MMO genre grows it evolves into countless other, successful variations.”  

Mr. Tharaldsen is not alone in his thoughts that Blizzard has set a high standard. Company after company has tried to figure out the “secret formula” to make a successful MMOG. Some have failed, and some have done quite well. So what’s in the secret sauce? Is it a Blizzard secret that they keep heavily guarded in an effort to ruin the market for any heavyweight contenders? Hermann Peterscheck, Producer of NetDevil, currently developing the highly anticipated Jumpgate Evolution, doesn’t think so.

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