Gaming Massively

Monday, August 31, 2009

MMOs and Consoles: a Winning Combination?

Slashdot pointed me to an interview with Cryptic Studios' Jack Emmert, in which he says that Microsoft is holding up the 360 release of Champions Online due to not being quite sure how to handle it (vis-a-vis XBox Live). I wonder if this is another facet of what seems like the on-going 'MMO on consoles not happening' saga. I feel like, given the number of console owners, MMOs should be a bigger presence on them than they are. Of course, there's the complexity of development and all that, but given that "around 90 per cent of the game code is shared between platforms", it doesn't seem insurmountable. On the other hand, that article also notes the complexity of the rules to be followed from platform to platform, which seems to move us towards the xbox problem. Other places have also noted the problem with payment models on other console-based MMOs. I wonder if the console makers are shooting themselves in the foot, or if, given that "MMOs have the 'highest failure rate of any entertainment product'", they'll be just fine even if no MMO ever makes it to their door.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009


Tobold's post claiming to reveal himself as the Greedy Goblin made me laugh. As did the comments, as did the follow-up post. Subtlety is not dead, it's merely hiding in some unexpected (or perhaps completely expected) places.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

more data, more data, more data!

Kill Ten Rats informed me that Edward Castronova (and friends) have published a paper (pdf) on the Economics of EQII, using actual game data. Lots of it:
The dataset is
a comprehensive capture of the actions and communications of hundreds of
thousands of players over time. This dataset contains more than 300 million
individual transactions: lists of thousands of items sold, with purchase amounts
and prices.

I'd like to draw your attention to that number again: 300,000,000 individual transactions.

With that kind of data I'm amazed the paper is only 24 pages.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

APB and worldwide fame

Slashdot posted a story about an interview done with the creative director for APB, the upcoming (forgive me) cops and robbers MMO. Edge magazine has the interview (it's in two parts - use the links on left to go to part two), in which they discuss gameplay mechanics, launch dates, and something he calls 'heat mechanics':
if a criminal has just been on a complete rampage, recklessly blowing stuff up and killing people, heat builds up until eventually we unlock him to every single enforcer on the server. It’s not part of their missions, it’s just that this guy has become number one wanted and everyone has the authority to take him down. That’s a fun mechanic from both sides; everybody who’s a criminal is going to want to reach that and if you’re on a mission for the enforcers you’ll see that guy and wonder whether you should break away get him.
It's an interesting thing to think about, if it works. The idea certainly sounds fun. The interview makes it sound like there's a lot of new processing going on, new algorithms, etc., so it may be that when players get in it'll all blow up, but let's hope not - new is good.

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