[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Sun Jan 5 12:11:29 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at soe.sony.com>

> Part of the problem is that the budgets and profit margins haven't
> balanced out yet. That minimum feature set game probably costs
> around $50 million, but nobody wants to swallow that yet.

I've been playing with the idea of MMOGs as franchises, but it's
still a nebulous concept.

Essentially, one company develops a core backend, but provides no
game content. Other companies then provide actual game content,
running on that core. And other companies operate the servers which
provide game services to the public, using that content. Each
company markets to the next one down the line, with the server
operators being the ones who market the games themselves directly to
the public.

The theory here is that the investment at the top is not as large as
it might otherwise be, and as you go farther down -- where the
expenses are larger -- these expenses are recouped with profit, and
further expenses are spread out among multiple entities. We've seen
this model succeed with 3D engines like Renderware, as well as the
Doom and Quake engines, but to my knowledge the situation has only
been applied to online games in *reverse* by services like
CompuServe and AOL -- and it doesn't really work like that.  I think
by turning it upside down and taking a page from the console
industry, we might be able to put MMOGs together much more rapidly
and hit the market with the kind of rapid iterations that made Linux
so successful.  Whether it would work that way for MMOGs, of course,
is a big unanswered question.

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