[MUD-Dev] Working with Franchises (was Star Wars Galaxies: 1 char per server)

Koster Koster
Sat Feb 1 10:06:36 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: Dave Rickey
> From: "Michael Tresca" <talien at toast.net>
 
>> A fair point, Damion.  To be more specific -- massive virtual
>> universes seem (to me) to be long-term investments.
 
>> And thus the question: just how long do MMORPG designers expect
>> their games to last?

> In my opinion, there's no absolute reason properly designed and
> operated MMOG's ever have to go away.  That doesn't mean that any
> of the existing games will last forever.  It certainly wouldn't
> surprise me to see the larger current games still operating in 10
> years.

If seen as a social network, muds are scale-free and therefore
immune to destruction via random attrition of nodes. In other words,
there's mathematical reasons to suppose that these games last
indefinitely unless actively killed.

That said, this doesn't speak to the profitability of said game. The
touchy time for a commercial mud isn't the late years, it's the
early months. If you can't get over the profitability bar, you're
stuck with known high costs for infrastructure and bandwidth and
support and so on, and operating at a loss or failing to recoup for
a very long time.

Whereas if you becomne profitable quickly, your hardware depreciates
(and also obselesces and becomes incredibly cheap to replace or add)
and if your playerbase shrinks, you can find many ways to save money
along the way. If it's continuing to make a profit, even a modest
one, there's little reason to kill it unless you are limited in
resources and have a better, safer bet come along. But safer bets
than money and subscriber base in hand are hard to come by.

In terms of ongoing growth, regular refreshes of content and
graphical upgrades can easily keep a commercial MMORPG on the
shelves of retailers for at least 7-10 years. And losing shelf space
is hardly the endgame either.

-Raph

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