Whither MMO?

Below the fold, early feedback from the GDC:  a highlight of Alice's coverage of "MMOs, Past, Present and Future;"  Project Darkstar...

From the amazing Alice: "MMOs, Past, Present and Future."

Thus the meme trotting through this panel (emphasis added):

Daniel James: y'know, we're at an interesting point. There’s clearly a lot of... tremendous success and kudos to wow, but there continues to be a lot of games made where you whack monsters with big swords. You’re seeing this in Asia, us in on the cusp: many different kinds of games that are massively multiplayer but that aren't in the traditional mud model...

Raph: I would say we are about to see a truly massive explosion in the quantity of online worlds, like Korea saw...

Mark Kern: our definition of MMO is going to change. The line will blur. Xbox Live Achievements. Lots of box games will take on persistent attributes. The way we pay for our games is completely going to change. No box product gets sold in Asia. Once those channels open up, it'll be hard to tell what's an MMO and what's not...   

In 2010 if I presented you with a person substantively engaged with an internet-enabled device for a significant amount of time, with what confidence would you be able to say that they were *most certainly* engaged/not engaged with an MMO. To state the question differently, how crisp is your (all of our) claims to understanding what an MMO is so that we'd know one when we saw it!

***

Sun Microsystems announced Project Darkstar:

Project Darkstar is the game industry’s first open source, enterprise grade, highly scalable, online game server. From Massively Multiplayer Online Games to Casual Games, Project Darkstar can accommodate the varying needs of the online game developer through a single solution. Providing easy to use, simple API interfaces, Project Darkstar will have you up and running in a fraction of the time that it used to take in standing up online game solutions.

Its ambiguous from the accounts I've seen as to what portion of the technology will be made available Open Source, when, and under what terms.  E.g. I've read everything from "not the clustering software and communications components" to "May 2007" to "GPL".  In any case, more fun stuff to look at!

In 2022, from the perspective of a daiquiri hindsight, how closely will this technology arc resemble A Java Parable?


Comments on Whither MMO?:

Thomas says:

I'm not sure what a daiquiri hindsight is, but I wanted to comment on the thing about MMO's blurring into all computer entertainment.

Probably in 2010 online connectivity will be taken for granted so much that being able to see other players' avatars on screen will be the norm in most games. An example could be in "lobbies" where people match up before starting a game session.

But the "MMO" term will probably continue as a name for online worlds where the environment/economy is somehow dynamic as compared to the more or less static offerings where the purpose is only to match up with other players and chat.

So graphical chatrooms on one side and MMOW's (Massively Multiplayer Online _Worlds_) on the other.

Posted Mar 11, 2007 8:47:19 AM | link

Juan says:

We would need to have a very broad definition of MMO/VW in order for that to be true I think, 2010 is only three years away after all. I don’t think game based VWs are anywhere near the stage of being quick and easy to make – even with moves like what Sun has proposed. Non game VWs, well, since these can be nearly anything they could well become ubiquitous quickly, especially if they become a simple interface to allow people to make money and socialise at the same time.

Posted Mar 12, 2007 5:05:56 PM | link