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

Valerio Santinelli tanis at mediacom.it
Wed Jan 8 22:54:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> 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.

This idea sounds good to me. In a player's point of view this could
be ok, but I see a lot of problems arising with that business
model. It's very difficult for a company to develope content for a
core system that has not been made in house and has not been studied
during development. Having someone jump in adding content right
after the core system is finished would require ages to actually use
it effectively.  So a solution could be working together from
scratch. But this requires a real big trust in your partner
companies IMHO. I don't know if in the real world this could ever

> 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.

I don't see a commercial engine going to grow rapidly as Linux
did. Maybe an Open Source architecture could do the trick thanks to
the community that could arise around it. Understanding an engine
requires time and efforts.  And companies are going to invest money
if they already see something using that engine. Probably nobody
would have used Doom or Quake engine if there wasn't a game
developed by id Software using that same engine.


Valerio Santinelli
tanis at mediacom.it
HateSeed Gaming Magazine http://www.hateseed.com/
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