These are ideas about game development, the game industry, and gaming culture. I’d eventually like to write articles on all of them. So far, I’ve written up a few.
Are MMOGs team sports? For high-level, large group raids, and for PVP like Battlegrounds, this seems like a better fit than just thinking of them as entertainment, hobby, or addiction.
Could this idea be extended to games in general? With other, more static media – movies, tv, music – the basic experience doesn’t change much. With games, though, the interactivity means the basic experience can vary widely. There’s obviously the team and individual sport experiences. There’s also exploration, problem solving, creation, storytelling, etc.
There’s been lots of talk of how ballooning game budgets and team sizes are unsustainable. At the same time, there’s been fairly little talk of how movies are made with much larger budgets, teams, and sets of resources. We need to think about moving toward the hollywood system, where studios make movies with temporary collectives of people and assets from many different, specialized companies and groups. Right now, game developers employ almost everyone they need, which is way less efficient. (This probably requires at least a passing mention of the dreaded U word…unions!)
MMOG designers often feel like Sisyphus, pushing their game uphill in a futile attempt to keep its world and community under control. I suspect this is because they design MMOGs like other games, which is only natural, but probably the wrong idea. MMOGs are virtual worlds, not just games. Virtual worlds have full-fledged economies, societies, infrastructure, governments, boundaries, and other systems that games don’t. MMOG designs that shortchange their worlds rarely succeed, and require constant firefighting from their developers.