[MUD-Dev] [BIZ] The Web's New Currency

Chris Duesing cwac5 at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 13 09:57:52 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


"Ola Fosheim Grøstad" <olag at ifi.uio.no>  writes:

> To be honest I think we will see the opposite move in the gaming
> industry. If the market matures, then I suspect the big publishers
> will make their entire suite of entertainment available for a
> monthly fee, establishing a monopoly with a huge barrier to
> entry. Sony seems to be doing some of this already? (Indies better
> have unique content.)

I will not directly address the subscription methods you were
speaking to, or the concept of packaging entire media portfolios (I
assume you mean beyond just games). I also do not dispute the
distinct possibility that the large publishers will move to such a
system. I will instead address the consequences of this on "Indie"
game developers.

There is a significant difference between media companies control
over other mediums, such as music and movies, versus their control
over MMO games. There is no barrier in regards to distribution
channels for MMO games, in other words, there is no way for Sony to
impede your creating and distributing a MMO over the internet. Aside
from distribution the other major piece provided by these companies
is the funding for content creation, which must take place before
subscription revenues can be realized.

Given this situation, our primary challenge as "Indie" developers is
technology and cost. The former can be addressed through open source
technologies. Once a free, extensible platform exists the only cost
to a startup company is generating content, hosting, customer
service, salaries etc. Without having to cover the cost of a year of
developing a new engine just to put out a demo, no longer will VCs
have to pick between projects that are already millions in the
hole. The cost of entry, while still significant, would be reduced
to the point of being realistic for a small business.

None of this is revolutionary, we are after all reading the
"MUD-Dev" mailing list. So we are all very familiar with how this
has worked in the past. We are simply in a time period where the
ideas are outpacing the technology. It will catch up.

As to your comment, "Indies better have unique content.", I can only
say I should hope so. This certainly is not the only ingredient in a
successful game, but imho it is one of the most important ones for
any game, indie or mainstream.

Chris
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