[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs

Raph Koster rkoster at austin.rr.com
Sun Jul 16 14:08:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu
> [mailto:mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu]On Behalf Of
> KevinL
> Sent: Sunday, July 16, 2000 4:49 AM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs
> rkoster at austin.rr.com wrote:
> > To my mind, it's the explorer/builder types that are the
> large ignored
> > market. People seem to like to do a little bit of something
> whilst they
> > chat. Not just chat. And they like to express themselves.
> Ideally, in ways
> > or media where they cannot be embarrassed. Yes, people chat
> a lot at bars,
> > but other things--like karaoke, or drinks--get them in the
> door. You could
> > argue that the Internet supplies the drinks already (loss
> of inhibitions via
> > anonymity) but the big commercial effotrs are still mostly
> missing the
> > karaoke.
> Active Worlds (www.activeworlds.com)?

I think I did mention AlphaWorld, didn't I? If not, I meant to.

> I'm still getting
> newsletters from them
> from a long time ago, they seem to still be fairly popular
> amongst some,
> definitely allow you to build (encourage, even) - there was
> even a recent
> article in a mapping-related journal online recently showing
> overhead maps of
> their space, yet they seem to get little coverage anywhere.
> Do they fit into
> the "give people somewhere to hang out online without combat etc"
> socialisation niche, and/or the above explorer/builder niche?
>  Hell, are they
> the "next wave" of online spaces, or at least representative thereof?

Well, they are certainly a precursor. I still think the next wave is going
to be game-centered or pushed by the game companies, or coming from people
with a bunch of game experience. Just to get the money and the exposure. The
next leap in terms of penetrating to a different audience is around a 4x-5x
increase from the biggest guys right now (EQ + UO). That will put us into
the territory of people who don't play games except for Rollercoaster
Tycoon, the Sims, or Diablo. And if you catch on there, then you can push to
the next tier (people who played Myst).

The problem AlphaWorld has always had, to my mind, is lack of a hook. Too
few people know about them, they don't have critical mass for capturing that
sort of audience, and I've heard all too often the complaint of "well, you
can build, but there's nothing to do there." Which is why I think the gaming
stuff will filter in for the forseeable future. Even Furcadia feels very
very "gamey" compared to AlphaWorld.

Also, in terms of "building"--I meant the karaoke quite literally. To my
mind, HearMe's voice stuff is far more impactful than AlphaWorld's map
building. But it's because of what gets built there: open mic nights,
religious congregrations and sermons, and support groups. Not because Buffy
can hear Bubba talking.


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