[MUD-Dev] Removing access to entertainment

Jeremy Neal Kelly games at anthemion.org
Wed Dec 10 01:18:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


This is probably a bad idea, but I just can't resist. I am (among
other things) an undergraduate economics student who is writing a
paper on economic phenomena in MMORPG, particularly the real-world
sale of game items. I've lurked in this newsgroup for over a year,
and though I've been tempted to post on several occasions, I've
thought it better to finish my paper rather than confuse everyone
with half-rendered theories. However, this thread (to some extent)
parallels my work, so I've decided to decloak and offer an excerpt
of my paper for your consideration. Here it is, in an unattractive
HTML rendition:

  http://www.anthemion.org/PlayTimeExcerpt.htm

and also as a Word 95 document:

  http://www.anthemion.org/PlayTimeExcerpt.doc

If your browser asks for a password, just click 'Cancel'.

As for the question (or questions) at hand, I believe there's not
much developers can do to remove 'barriers' from play, however you
define the term. Players will always choose to consume content as
quickly as possible.  We all know how expensive content is; if game
companies are to earn profits, they must slow the rate of this
consumption (or raise prices dramatically, or somehow attract many
more subscribers). Ideally, they must also convince players to enjoy
some less costly form of entertainment (such as fellowship, which is
essentially 'social content'), but that takes time as well.
Inevitably, this means denying access (if only temporarily) to
certain aspects of the entertainment. Nor do I see how it is
possible to segregate the different types of entertainment offered
by MMORPG -- i.e., to allow explorers to play one game, and
achievers another -- as the same problem arises.

Anyway, it's all there in the paper (or most of it is, I
guess). Make of it what you will.

Regards,

Jeremy Neal Kelly
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