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

ceo ceo at grexengine.com
Wed Jan 14 11:27:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


Chris Duesing wrote:

> 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.

My understanding (although I haven't checked recently) is that most
of the MMOG-specific technology is available on almost
no-up-front-cost licenses; most companies seem to be aware of the
importance of selling to the low-end of the market and not just the
high-margin, headlining stuff. There's a lot of business-theory
covering this, but the upshot is that just selling to the high-end
developers (those that can afford however many
thousands/millions/billions ;) of dollars up front is suicide, so
I'd be surprised if this (availability of zero upfront licenses)
changed much over time.

At the same time, open-source technology doesn't seem to do much in
the games industry (ducks and runs for cover); whether this is
games-industry scepticism of "you get what you pay for", or a
general feeling that high quality support is mandatory, or just the
lack of any decent open-source software for games developers (except
for some small notable exceptions, network protocols spring to mind)
I have no idea - although all those are conceivable explanations.

NB I'm speaking purely in the context of the original mail, which
appears to come from the mainstream games-indsustry perspective;
that's why what I've said above ignores MUD technologies etc :).

Adam M
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