[MUD-Dev] MMO Launch issues ruining potential segments of the market.

Chris Holko cholko at mindspring.com
Thu Jun 19 13:08:27 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

From: "Derek Licciardi" <kressilac at insightbb.com>

>   - Is the fact that Shadowbane has had a miserable launch going
>   to put a bad taste in the mouths of investors/publishers when
>   considering other PvP centric MMO designs?  Are we doomed to
>   more carebear games?

I really cannot let this one escape me.  Yes you are doomed.  Why?
Attitude, look at what you wrote and you will see in it the seeds of
the problem that PvP centric designs face.  Face it, the PK most
people will remember are the PvPers who are the worst of the lot.
The second most remembered of the PvPers are those who always talk
down the non-PvP style of game play.

Non PvP games are popular because a majority does not care to have
their gameplay dictated to them by another player.  Players CANNOT
be trusted to police themselves.  Just as you cannot put code into
the client because of hackers you cannot put justice into the hands
of players.

PvP works when investment in character isn't as meaningful as found
in most MMOs.  Planetside is interesting, but I can't see paying for
what is essentially Tribes+Quake+CounterStrike.

>   - If City of Heros botches their launch will investors view the
>   lack of users they achieve as a sign that the sub-genre is not
>   viable?

I think many investors in this area have a sort of "armor" built up.
If the investors take the time to study the industry they will know
that launches can go wrong.  The key to keeping investors interested
is having companies that respond properly when it does go wrong.

>   - Did TSO's failure to meet expectations sour the idea that a
>   non-combat social MMO is commercially viable?

Question, was it ever commercially viable?  What was the real
question posed by TSO?  Was it, is the SIMS viable as a persistent
world, or was it "is a non-combative (note, TSO isn't non
competitive) MMO viable?

> Will SWG send a signal to investors/publishers/players that MMOs
> can only be accomplished with massive budgets and high profile
> licenses if it is the only successful launch of the year?  God
> forbid if even

On your investor note.  Do we count the companies that own certain
franchises?  Turbine was recently awarded two very very well known
franchises to develop MMOs for.  Yet, looking at Turbine's history
what would make anyone WANT them to do the work?  AC1 does fairly
well, holding its population stable, but AC2 tanked, and looks a
like a candidate for early retirement.  Clearly success isn't the
key motivating factor determining who creates the games.

> is commercially viable.  All in all it's been a pretty bad year
> for MMOs so far.  Subscription numbers are dwindling and products
> are failing left and right.  It definitely makes one ponder the
> viability of the market in the immediate and long term future.

Yes, but it probably is a far bigger statement to the quality of
what was released than lack of player interest in the genre.  The
last big 3 released (AC2, SB, and TSO) all failed for a variety of
reasons.  Lack of promised features, stability, and a good measure
of developer ego got in the way.


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