Saturday, June 06, 2009
License - Help or Hindrance?
Gordon from We Fly Spitfires is asking how important a license to some well-known intellectual property like Star Wars is for the success of a MMORPG. Historic precedence is patchy. Successful games like Everquest weren't using licensed IP. World of Warcraft only used in-house IP from the Warcraft RTS series. And games with big licenses like Lord of the Rings Online or Star Wars Galaxies or Age of Conan or Warhammer Online didn't really outperform unlicensed games.
Not only isn't a license to some very well-known IP not always helpful, it even appears to be a hindrance in some cases. Star Wars Galaxies was torn between everybody wanting to be a jedi, and the lore not allowing thousands of jedis to run around at that point in the timelime (which is why the new games are back to the Old Republic). And some players were disappointed when they found out they couldn't play anyone from the fellowship in LotRO. With a big license, everybody comes to the game with a load of expectations, and you have a lot less freedom for design.
So, what would you rather play, quality otherwise being equal? A game with a big license, or something completely original?