[MUD-Dev] Commercial value of RP

JC Lawrence claw at under.Eng.Sun.COM
Tue Jan 6 13:19:21 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On Tue, 30 Dec 1997 14:28:56 PST8PDT 
Jon A Lambert<jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> On 29 Dec 97 at 13:39, JC Lawrence wrote:

>>  Something that just struck me is that all the commercial
>> representatives we have on the list seem to espouse their games as
>> being RP games, and discuss their values in terms of the RP values
>> generated by their games.
> I do believe Ola hit on this directly or around the edges. :) If you
> can pick up a sword, cast a spell or fire a phaser, the game will
> likely be marketed as a role-playing game in a commercial sense.

> The term has about as much clarity/meaning today as those software
> companies who are marketing 4GL languages. (cf. Martin's original
> definition of 4GL) RPG is a buzzword.

Yes, but I'm looking at the more specific point that all of our
(active) commercial members strongly espouse the traditional RP values
of their games (ie immersive story based strongly characterised etc RP)..  

JeffK was particularly vehement in this regard, tho Raph and Mike
also seem to concentrate on the traditional RP value set.  Even Dr Cat
(rarely seen here alas) would seem to be pushing a traditional RP
positioning for his game per his web pages.

I don't think this clustering of even this tiny sized sample is
accidental.  I doubt (see below) that the list's sample of the
commercial game population is somehow skewed or weighted toward the RP
side.  Instead the weighting appears to be a feature of the current
state of the commercial MUD market offerings, and I'm very curious as
to __WHY__ there is that level of agreement on a game style point that
would seem on the face of it to have little mass market appeal (or
does it?).

Wouldn't a 3D graphical yada yada version of a standard hack'n'slash
(DIKU?) seem to have a more instant commercial appeal, or is it
because those 3D graphical DIKU's are really games like Diablo which
we've all tacitly agreed are not MUDs?

The lutefisk is starting to smell funny in Denmark.  Why?

> I do believe that some of those in commercial ventures do value RP
> highly enough to move their games strongly away from the arcade
> style of play like Quake.  However, the extreme end (which Ola
> called role-acting) that exists on many Mushes like Amber and others
> is not commercially viable.  


> It's a smaller slice of the RP market.
> Of course I could be wrong, the sheer numbers of customers on the
> internet could make this slice commercially viable if marketed
> right.  A way I could see this happening is someone with a very
> successful commercial game establishing secondary games for
> "hardcore" role-players and game-players.

Quite the problem is publicity.  Given a large enough population sheer
numbers might make it viable.  The problem is ensuring that your heavy
RP game i know of by your potential heavy RP players.  As we all know,
the 'net and Web are ideally organised and cross-indexed media for
ensuring that all 'net users have instant and ready access to whatever
services match their whimsical criteria...

> I think if you, JCL, sold your server concept to someone, it would
> likely get marketed as a role-playing game. <hehe>


O!  The shame!

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
                                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
----------(*)                        Internet: jc.lawrence at sun.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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