[MUD-Dev] MMORPGs & MUDs

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Sat Dec 22 11:07:49 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


Koster, Raph posted on Friday, December 21, 2001 10:38 AM

> Of course every customer's opinion is significant. And lest anyone
> forget, half her examples in that article were ME personally, and
> it certainly kept me up nights and led to much soul-searching.

Hrm.  It seems the fact that I used Jessica as an example is laden
with, er, let's just say "emotional baggage" and probably clouded my
argument.  That's not my intent.  Although I agree with many of
Jessica's points, this is not meant to be a personal attack on
anyone.

> But also, yes, in any service, you also have to try to satisfy the
> largest number of customers possible, and some will not be
> happy. You can't please everyone all of the time, I believe the
> saying says. :)

Well that's not entirely true.  You want to satisfy as many
customers in the TARGET MARKET as possible.  This is entirely
different from the "largest number of customers possible."

Any company that's out to "make as much money as possible" has a
horrible marketing strategy.  Why?  Because it means when a MMORPG
doesn't make money, nobody knows WHY.  You can't react to your
market if you don't know who your market is.

We've just hit on my fundamental problem with the MMORPG approach.
MMORPGs are using "we have graphics" and "we have massive amounts of
players" as their fundamental appeal -- and oh wait, one
embarrassing one, "we don't have any bugs".

All the MMORPGs say they have the above attributes (except DAoC, who
really has less bugs apparently).  Okay, so what's the next MMORPG
going to offer?  Better graphics?  More players?  After a certain
level, doesn't a player's ability to perceive these attributes
diminish?

This is the gold rush days.  I'm just the harbinger heralding their
end.  In fact, this is a lot like the Dot Com bubble.  Too many
people making money without asking questions because -- hell, it
makes money right?

A long term business plan and market strategy has proven effective
in business for hundreds of years.  MMORPGs aren't any different, it
just seems that way because the technology is "selling itself" --
innovation only lasts for so long.  The next generation will have to
differentiate itself by defining its target audience and going after
it.

Mike "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator
http://www.retromud.org/talien

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