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  Silly chat/game idea  (Read 8583 times)
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Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


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« Reply #30 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:28:34 »

Quote

Pretty much sums alot up, it's a shame, I used to play AD&D and it wasn't like that, Diablo was hack and slash, but amusing for a while, Baldurs Gate wasn't quite so hack and slash, and was much harder, but I imagine it had a smaller following, I wonder if thats why alot of the MMORPGs go for hack and slash, for market reach.


Actually, the issue is that the only MMOG's that survive are the ones that went for hack-n-slash; there have been many many more innovative ones which have failed / been closed down. E.g. EA hasn't yet done a hack-n-slash, but they have written, promoted, run, and then shut down two (perhaps soon to be three) MMOG's already.

Current opinion mostly seems to be that hack-n-slash is easy to make addictive. MMOG development is still a very young and under-explored industry, so most of the innovative genres still haven't been sufficiently explored to work out how to make them as addictive as that one genre that has now been running continuously for more than 7 years (and, arguably, for almost 20 years).

Ditto chat-centric games; they have similarly been experimented with constantly for decades, with major chat systems making money for most of that time, which is more than can be said for any other MMOG genre (e.g. MMOG FPS or RTS to cite a trivial example).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline AndersDahlberg

Junior Member





« Reply #31 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:32:05 »

Quote

if you want to see all these concepts suggested, analysed, explained, critiqued, expanded upon - and lots and lots of real examples of people trying most of the things you can think of (and nearly always willing to share whatever they've learned in the process).


Oh, but that's not invented here, now is it?! Wink
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #32 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:32:55 »

Quote

but I imagine it had a smaller following, I wonder if thats why alot of the MMORPGs go for hack and slash, for market reach.


Even by the standards of the games industry, MMOG's are pulling in "small" numbers of customers, so hack-n-slash in and of itself is clearly not being chosen for being special in that regard.

Witness that (games without subscribers aside) no MMOG has reached 1 million players, and the publically available evidence suggests none have even reached 0.5 m yet (c.f. Sir Bruce's figures, which are as accurate as any I've ever seen - http://pw1.netcom.com/~sirbruce/Subscriptions.html ).

EDIT: I meant to add that a single player game that sells fewer than a million copies today is pretty unexciting. A decade ago, Bullfrog was selling 0.75 - 1.3 million copies of it's games regularly, and still wasn't getting bestsellers IIRC.

Nowadays, EA etc look for games that will sell 3+ million in months (not 0.5m in 5 years, which is EQ today!) - although I can't find any stats on number of copies sold for the current charts to check this I'm afraid (feel free to correct me if you can find real figures!) - I'm going from what I vaguely remember last time I saw a copy.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
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Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #33 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:39:33 »

Quote


I think the biggest reason is that its an easily scalable form or gameplay.  "Story driven" stuff  works well single player but how many "Heroes of the Foobar Quest" can you have before it starts becoming meaningless?

Its a gameplay cop-out mostly, I think.


Um, have you actually thought about this much? Several thousand people within the MUD community (who actually work with this stuff) would disagree with you very strongly (albeit politely), I think.

If you speak to someone who knows what they're talking about (e.g. script writers who've thought about multiple agent stories) Story-driven gameplay is actually in many ways much much easier in large multiplayer games.

The best of the story writers in the games industry whom I know  make frequent reference to the fact that most stories in games are told by the players themselves; this is a parallel to how most of the gameplay that players experience is invented for themselves.

Remembering and retelling to friends how you managed a spectacular crash by accident in GTA:VC, or an unbelievably lucky scrape with Diablo where - against all the odds (the rest of your party went the wrong way and ran out of portal scrolls) - you managed not only to survive but to kill the b*stard too...these are the most powerful stories in computer games today. At least, that's what I hear again and again and I agree entirely.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #34 - Posted 2003-12-14 14:28:25 »

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Witness that (games without subscribers aside) no MMOG has reached 1 million players

Lineage claims to have several million active subscribers in South Korea, but it's often considered an exception because of the gamer culture over there.

I think your disagreement with Jeff has a lot to do with terminology (story as a dramatic structure vs story as the player's experience). A good text on the subject is Chris Klug's
Implementing Stories in Massively Multiplayer Games
. I bumped into the problem for my master's project on a quest system for an MMOG and tried my best to avoid using the word "story" in my thesis (except when discussing references and traditional storytelling).

I think your experience from Diablo is something that would be less powerful as a story in a MMORGP than in a single-player or non-persistant multiplayer game. In most MMORPGs, the experience would be more like scoring a goal in a match than changing the world simply because Diablo would respawn shortly for someone else to kill.

I'm sure many would find it more satisfying to be a sports hero in a MMORPG than a world savior in a single-player game though.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #35 - Posted 2003-12-14 23:44:12 »

Quote


Even by the standards of the games industry, MMOG's are pulling in "small" numbers of customers, so hack-n-slash in and of itself is clearly not being chosen for being special in that regard.

Witness that (games without subscribers aside) no MMOG has reached 1 million players, and the publically available evidence suggests none have even reached 0.5 m yet (c.f. Sir Bruce's figures, which are as accurate as any I've ever seen - http://pw1.netcom.com/~sirbruce/Subscriptions.html ).


Individually no. But what is staggering about Sir Bruce's numbers is that, if they are to be believed, new successful games launch with very little cannibalization of previous player bases.  So collectively we've already got a couple million MMOLRPG players in total with no sign of the growth in that base stopping.

Quote

EDIT: I meant to add that a single player game that sells fewer than a million copies today is pretty unexciting. A.


Which just goes to illustrate my favorite Mark Twain quote.  Numbers by themselves mean very little.  In particular comparing retail box numbers between off line and on-line games is very deceptive.  While there are fewer copies of EQ sold then Halo, each copy brings in MUCH more revenue of the course of the player account's life.  The profit at retail actually is almost noise level compared with the recurring monthly fees.

Apples and oranges.

Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Games/JeffFAQ
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #36 - Posted 2003-12-15 05:25:07 »

Quote
Individually no. But what is staggering about Sir Bruce's numbers is that, if they are to be believed, new successful games launch with very little cannibalization of previous player bases.  So collectively we've already got a couple million MMOLRPG players in total with no sign of the growth in that base stopping.

In Sir Bruce's chart, players with subscriptions to more than one game show up as multiple users, and I think it's reasonably safe to assume that there is some not insignificant percentage of MMORPG players with subscriptions to more than one game. In the IGDA's latest whitepaper on the online games industry they place the total market for MMOGs at around one million players. which I think is probably pretty accurate if Sir Bruce's numbers are to be believed.

A note about Lineage, according to a recent article I read (I'll try to dig up the url and post it here). Apparently, the majority of "subscribers" (something like 60%) do not play from their homes, but from internet bars, something that most of us know, already. What I didn't know was that access to Lineage from these bars is not paid for on a per-account basis, but on a per-cpu basis, and then players are charged a usage fee (similer to web access from an internet cafe) What this means is that there is no additional cost for having multiple accounts, or starting a character and abandoning it. This is why Neopets has over 60 million "active" accounts: it costs nothing to start a new one. The net result is that the number of actual Lineage players is probably far less than the multi-million subscriber number that NCSoft likes to throw around.

I don't know where the saturation point is for MMORPGs, but it is reasonable to assume there is one, and I'd be willing to stake money on it being reached within the next few years. Why? Because the investment of time and money required by the genre is self-limiting. There are only going to be so many people who will be willing and/or able to make the committment.  There have been a couple of admittedly informal surveys of older gamers (30 yrs+) that would indicate that as people begin working full-time and raising families that they tend to abandon MMORPGs for other, less time consuming games. Whether you buy this or not it's certainly a reasonable assumption, which, if true, would suggest that we'll reach a point of stability where the number of new players begins to be offset by the number of retiring players. Once again, there's no hard evidence to support this, but my gut tells me this is how it's gonna go.

That said, I think there is a large, untapped market for massively multiplayer casual online games. (MM-COGs)  a formula perfected (within its very specific demographic) by Neopets. Here's a game that boasts 60M accounts, 3,000,000 unique visits per months, and, next to Pogo, and MSN Game Zone, more monthly gameplay minutes than any gaming site on the web, and while it is free, this demographic is almost entirely limited to girls between the ages of 9 and 18.  IMHO, this success can be almost entirely attributed to cost, both in terms of money AND time. The game is free to play, and consists almost entirely of activities (games, chat, guild maintenance, shop-keeping, house building, etc) that can be accomplished within a very limited time period (5 - 10 minutes)  Initiating any activity in the game is never more than a few clicks away, so almost no time is wasted traveling between areas of interest. At the same time, it's without question an MMOG. There is a single economy that ties everyone together, inter-player commerce is a principal function of the game, guild -creation and social interaction are stressed and even combat between players is supported, though less popular than other activities.

What remains to be seen is whether the MM-COG format can be successfully applied to other (less cutesy) themes, and whether this might be a way to crack the .5M player upper limit we're currently seeing in the MMOG market.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #37 - Posted 2003-12-15 06:32:24 »

Quote

In Sir Bruce's chart, players with subscriptions to more than one game show up as multiple users, and I think it's reasonably safe to assume that there is some not insignificant percentage of MMORPG players with subscriptions to more than one game.


Indeed, in his own analysis, and in correlations with other studies, e.g. Nick Yee's, the general conclusion has been quite a large percentage of people doing this.

Informal information from the dev & admin teams for the big US games also backs this up.

Quote

In the IGDA's latest whitepaper on the online games industry they place the total market for MMOGs at around one million players. which I think is probably pretty accurate if Sir Bruce's numbers are to be believed.


...unless they qualified it with something like "that are RPG's AND that are based in the USA" (I've not read it yet, so I can only guess Smiley) that's completely and utterly wrong. Even just taking RPG's worldwide it's trivially bullsh*t. Sad

Quote

A note about Lineage, according to a recent article I read ... What I didn't know was that access to Lineage from these bars is not paid for on a per-account basis, but on a per-cpu basis, ... What this means is that there is no additional cost for having multiple accounts, or starting a character and abandoning it.


Yup, that's definitely the case. This is the reason Lineage took off - site licenses that were to cafes nothing more than a small additional fixed monthly cost, and to customers were a significant differentiator in an industry with fundamentally identical product in every cafe.

Quote

I don't know where the saturation point is for MMORPGs, but...


Sounds sensible, *assuming no-one innovates on the revenue model*. For several years I've been proposing that the monthly fee for MMORPG's is likely to go up - e.g. to around $30 a month - although this has partially been to counteract the long-standing naive feeling that it could only come down over time.

I'll come back to this later, but I know of quite a few MMORPG's with more interesting revenue models who are pretty much printing money at the moment - but not making any noise about it (to some extent their marketing is helped by deceiving people into thinking they are barely breaking even). They would all show up on SB's chart, but he apparently isn't aware of them (or isn't tracking them because they never issue press releases...).

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Because the investment of time and money required by the genre is self-limiting.


Yeesss, but... that statement is very fragily predicated upon the exact nature of current MMORPG's, so (theoretically - myself, I'm not guessing far either way) could easily be broken by even modest innovation in game-design.

Quote

That said, I think there is a large, untapped market for massively multiplayer casual online games. (MM-COGs)
...
What remains to be seen is whether the MM-COG format can be successfully applied to other (less cutesy) themes, and whether this might be a way to crack the .5M player upper limit we're currently seeing in the MMOG market.


I've not heard of MM-COG before, as most people I talk to don't differentiate between this and an MMOG (just like we don't differentiate between Bejewelled and Warcraft3 except on playstyle - these days both are capable of making similar revenues and achieving similar market penetration).

As far as the 0.5m per game limit is concerned, I'm actually surprised that games have gone as high as they have with the high level of incompetency in the technical, design and marketing teams (of course there are many exceptions to one or two of those, but very few to all three...). The marketing in particular is mainly god-awful from the perspective of any corporations that are accustomed to selling mass-market services. I know little about this, but I can see that the big-publisher MMOG's are still mainly using the same techniques that the self-published ones are using (who typically are constrained by very little budget and experience!).

I personally know of about 5 MMOG's with upwards of 50k-150k subscribers that don't appear on SB's charts (I've independently confirmed the figures for two of them). Most of those use "free" accounts to bring in new subscribers, and typically boast 500k or more total accounts. Some of them are direct competitors to projects I'm involved with, so I don't feel any temptation to give them free publicity!

In summary, even amongst those who have a good reputation amongst public and press (e.g. SB) for knowing about the MMOG industry are still woefully ignorant; there is so little in the way of any real experts at the moment that anyone who puts in a lot of effort and tries to be diligent and do something useful becomes a de facto expert. I respect SB's diligence in particular, but by his own admission, he's only guessing Sad. Similarly, Nick Yee puts a lot of hard work into his studies, and they are generally of a very high quality...but without access to authoritative data from the game-owners he can never cross-correlate and check the accuracy of his respondents' answers; only VI/Sony truly know the accuracy of his direct results (and hence of his indirect ones).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #38 - Posted 2003-12-15 06:35:25 »

Quote

Which just goes to illustrate my favorite Mark Twain quote.  Numbers by themselves mean very little.  In particular comparing retail box numbers between off line and on-line games is very deceptive.  While there are fewer copies of EQ sold then Halo, each copy brings in MUCH more revenue of the course of the player account's life.  The profit at retail actually is almost noise level compared with the recurring monthly fees.

Apples and oranges.


But:

Quote

but I imagine it had a smaller following, I wonder if thats why alot of the MMORPGs go for hack and slash, for market reach.


...we were talking about the size of the audience / market, weren't we?!?!? In which case, comparing number is precisely all that matters!

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline kilvati

Senior Newbie





« Reply #39 - Posted 2003-12-16 11:47:43 »

Made something like this a while ago, check http://www.chatpoint.com. The community is mostly dutch.

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