[MUD-Dev] Evolutionary Design

Brian Hook brianhook at pyrogon.com
Fri Jun 14 15:32:50 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


Dave Rickey said:

> they suck.  But Lineage, EQ and UO, measured on gross revenues,
> are right up there with The Sims and Myst as the biggest
> franchises ever.  Why can't we come up with an explanation of why
> that makes sense to anyone besides ourselves?

The fundamental shift that publishers are balking at is going from a
retail, shrink wrap industry to a service industry.  Activision
sells boxes.  Support, to them, is strictly ancillary and a
requirement to sell those boxes.  Same goes for Take Two, THQ,
Infogrames, Sierra, etc.  The shift from "Selling boxes" to "selling
a service", with the associated support and infrastructure hassles,
is considered a major change, and most companies aren't equipped to
handle it.

Publishers see the botched launches of numerous games, and don't
want to risk $5M on a team that may not have direct experience with
the development process.  That's considered a huge gamble.  So they
want the sure thing (i.e. ready made teams that have done this
before) -- they don't want to learn on the job, which is why they
just sit tight.

Another way to look at it is that these companies are making huge
amounts of money on PC games and, especially, console games.  Some
guy has to put his job on the line and say "Look, let's go and do
this on-line thing, we'll make mad stupid money", and there's just
not reason to do that.  It's just another genre to the big guys when
it comes to added appeal, but it's a genre with a huge cost in terms
of support and maintenance.

-Hook

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