Tuesday, March 13, 2007
World of Warcraft as a role model
The BBC news report some interesting stories from the Game Developer's Conference.
Quote: ""Viacom has launched three MMOs and nobody noticed," said Raph Koster, president of Areae and the former head of Star Wars Galaxies. He added: "Anybody who is not watching how big media is moving into this space is missing a major major story."" With Mark Jacobs and Rob Pardo agreeing that "there will be a lot of corpses". Sounds obvious to me. Optimistic as I am about the future growth of the MMO genre, there is an obvious limit to how many multi-million subscriber games there can be out there.
But besides clones, what could World of Warcraft be a role model for? Quote: "Five years from now a social networking site without a 3D universe will look like a dinosaur." Yup, I can believe that. As soon as the technology is there, hanging out in a 3D universe is of course more interesting than hanging out in a place that just has text and photos. Although I'm not convinced of the "Second Life" model of a virtual world without a game. Hanging out around a well-defined activity, a game, is usually a lot more successful than hanging out in an empty space the users can fill with content. There is a reason why lots of real world social interaction happens around activities like bowling or playing golf. It gives a nice background to talk about, and fills those odd silent moments when nobody has to say anything.
But whatever virtual worlds will develop into, unsurprisingly the prediction is that WoW won't always be the top dog. Quote: ""WoW will have its day and it's nothing to do with how smart they are," said Mr Jacobs. "It won't be for a while but it will happen."" Which is probably true, but given how the people who say that are game developers who have a vested interest in *their* game rising to the top of the heap, you'll have to take these predictions with a grain of salt.