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May 19, 2004



I can’t see that we are in for a change any time soon.

Cross threading as usual – I replied to Betsy’s call for a finer granularity in the way we characterise MMOs by saying that we have two broad types already Social Worlds and Game Worlds.

Moreover, each of these can be caricatured as:

Social Worlds = Shopping Malls (as J seems to put it)
All Quests are FedEx (as the massive MUD-DEV thread put it – sorry I know there is a citation for the origin of this but I can't put my finger on it at the moment)

I do wonder if the masses will ever join us in places were there is a fiction as well as an interface to get ones mind round. After all there is Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms, these are virtual spaces, lots of people use them and they do just fine, why would massively more people want any kind of virtual world unless it is going to provide them distinct benefits – and at the point that they do provide distinct benefits to the general public – will we recognise them as virtual worlds. As I’ve said before, for it to be a true cultural revolution don’t the majority of the current MMO set have to hate it just like we are supposed to hate our children’s music?

On the dimensions of MMO (assuming there are indeed more than just 2), this goes back to Betsy’s point – there was a list serve discussion of this somewhere I’ll try to find it..



All quests are FedEx, hmmm? Well, I suppose if you really want to try to shoehorn them in, so is 'The Lord of the Rings' when you get right down to it...

In other words - there are quests and there are Quests, and at the heart they may be FedEx but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy some of them.

Never go on an adventure without a hat!


The shift is MMMG: massive multiplayer mobile gaming. Handhelds and cellphones. Able to log on the MMMG at home where you have a bigger screen is a plus :)


OK, I guess I'll need to explain...

Skipping the game design aspect, there are three structural barriers to the mainstream market.

Technology is the first barrier:
Most MMOs require a computer: (Avg. $500). Some require a computer with superior graphics cards: (Avg $1500).

Most MMOs require a subscription: (Avg. $10). If family members want to play together at the same time, then they'll need two computers and two subscriptions.

Ease of Use is the second barrier:
Current MMOs have made strides in this area, but they are still harder to use than a mobile phone. Moreover, there is no face-to-face person to help you set your service up.

Stable technology is the third barrier:
Most people like to have machines that are work stable for 3 years. Most people are still looking for telephone service stablility. Only PC users resign themselves to buggy software.

So when Christmas, birthdays, or other purchase event arises, people tend to buy cheap, easy to use, and stable technology like Gameboy. The buyer may even buy each family member one each.

This is the area where we will see shifts in the market place. With mobile Wi-Fi and G3 services, we will see MMMG take off.



I think the real barrier than needs to be crossed is technological. The quality of VWs is just not good enough to attract 'the masses.' And the reason for that is that graphics cards can't render pretty enough yet, and internet connections still can't handle the really massive amounts of data required to bring a world to a player.

Perhaps the most likely VWs to make it big will be platforms, instead of just games. Something Second-Life style, though probably not Second Life. Something like that would allow everyone to participate in the same virtual world shopping and comiserating. But at the same time would be flexible enough to allow games to be built inside it and therefore attractive to the gamers. There could be one reality, and one virtual reality.

One of the barriers to entry into virtual worlds is that if you decide to change games, you have to throw everything (and I mean everything) away. That by itself will keep people from changing, and reduce subscribers.


A few comments:

- How do long-running TV shows (like Frasier) keep themselves interesting to long-time viewers while still allowing new viewers to pick up the storyline without having to go back to the beginning?

- One of the game design books I read mentioned the inherent problem when a new game's design = previous game + new features. You end up with a game that's enjoyed by the previous game's players, but which has a higher learning curve, so people that haven't played the previous game find it too difficult and won't play (and probably won't like it since they didn't like the previous game). This is where 10 hours of training comes in, since DAOC is a game based on a game based on a game, etc. (There are ways to overcome some of this, but they must be consciously taken by the designer.)

- People will learn to use a complex device if it provides them enough value. Although you may not realize it, a phone is a very complex device. It comes with a 1000 page manual called a phone book. However, a phone is so valuable that people put up with all the silliness of typing in the numbers and deciphering what all the wierd beeps (dial tone, busy tone, etc.) mean.

- A very large barrier to MMORPG adoption is that the online activities either don't interest most game players (constant combat, crafting, etc. tends to bore many gamers), or in the case of non-game players, they aren't sufficiently interesting to warrant the investment (if all you want is chat, it's free elsewhere). If they were sufficiently interesting, people would be willing to fork out thousands for a new PC (or other device used to access a MMORPG). Just look at how much people pay for mobile phones or flat-screen TVs.


It's exclusively an accessibility problem.

At least in Italy.
Playing a mmorpg here isn't like watching TV, it's something more similar to a passion or an hobby.

The accessibility problem is mostly about the money. Nearly noone I know, here in Italy, can have the luxury to play a MMOG.

You need a credit card, this isn't common here, in particular a credit card in the hands of someone who still goes to school. Then you need a whole lot of money. Not only to pay the boxes and the monthly fees. But also to pay your damn PC. Here the hardware isn't that cheap and the shops don't even know what they sell. At best you can get a Radeon 9600. That's considered the top of the market if you don't want to spend 600$ or more just on a videocard.

So you need to be rich, for the credit card, the computer and, in particular, the connectivity. Again another painful point. I pay around 90$ each month to have access to an ISDN connection and not even for all the day. In general common connections allow you to use them for a couple of hours. Noone even thinks about starting to pass hours and hours just to play a game. They download an mp3, send an e-mail and that's it. That's what the general users do here. To play they have the consoles (and the piracy behind). Only a small part of the population has access to ADSL and the cable is like a mirage. So no permanent connections. Not in the families.

It's completely worthless to consider the dynamics of these games. Who doesn't play don't even consider this possibility. It's not a choice.

And it's obvious, at this point, that being part of all this movement around MMOGs isn't something common. It's strange. It's seen as strange here. Something that makes you part of a small group, an hidden cult with who you share the passion and all the reasoning behind.

I don't think this is an exclusive of where I live. Surely the condition are worst, also because of the language barriers, but I think the problem is shared more or less everywhere, with a different intensity but still with the same cause:

Not a gameplay problem. It's just about the accessibility.


Nathan> So, is platform ubiquity a quality onto itself (beyond "Ease of Use")? Is 10 hours sitting in front of a pc/console trying to master a game a problem to the mainstream? Whereas 10 hours split at the airport, in the car, at the restaurant might not be? Yea, but can you play the same kind of games?

Platform mobility is a good quality that also make good marketing copy: "play anywhere, even underwater with are waterproof model".

The requirement of 10 hours to learn the game is a design issue that I side-stepped before. However, from what I heard about City of Heroes, the learning curve is not so steep at the beginning: "easy to learn, hard to master." That's another good marketing copy.

Game types are limited by platform specs, but you can overcome this architectual issue. In the future, you will be able to play the same game regardless of platforms.

That DOAC 10 hours may be the "membership requirement" to join the club. The "calling of numbers" may be the membership requirements for the bar. I don't like excessive membership requirements.



MM>I think the real barrier than needs to be crossed is technological. The quality of VWs is just not good enough to attract 'the masses.'

And yet 50% of the population of South Korea has, at some time, tried Lineage.



MM> The quality of VWs is just not good enough to attract 'the masses.'
I agree emphatically.

MM> I think the real barrier than needs to be crossed is technological.
I disagree emphatically.

The barrier that needs to be crossed is artistic. As has been pointed out, the average massmog is a game, built on a game, built on a game. If you follow the history back to its root, back to a group of guys around a kitchen table with funny-sided dice - you can identify what we lost: the context.

Where is the quest? Where are the stories that give context to smashing an orc or learning a new spell? Massmogs have become so much about the metagame that the stories have become secondary (or worse).

Consider the tv series question upthread, but with a different example: How did the writers for the X-Files engage one-off viewers so well for five years, while threading in multi-season story arcs? It may take 10 hours to learn how to run around in DAoC, but it can take easily as many hours of watching X-Files episodes, to fully grasp 'what's going on' in the larger story arcs.

The problem is: what fun does a new player have in those 10 hours in a massmog? They bash some wolves, they deliver some boxes, they buy some scraps of armor. If the lowest levels are well-designed (mythic), they'll have a blast too.

But in the meantime they're innundated with the meta-game. They have to make irreversible decisions regarding character creation and advancement constantly. Any immersion from a well-crafted intro to the game, engaging a new player with fun stuff to do - is out the window when they're looking at a level-up screen. Particularly when they can't continue to 'have fun' effectively until they do make those metagame choices.

Worse yet, due the level-based stratifcation of the playerbase, a 'new player' will be largely ignored by anyone and everyone around. They're an outcast from their first moment. Where's the point in paying for a social game, when you'd be lucky to find redeeming social contact in your first 10 hours? (which for the casual player is spread across 2 or 3 sessions).

This isn't a problem, of course, if you've played these games before, and you know they get better (socially). But the new player doesn't know that.

Back to Chris Carter: he and his writers kept enough of each episode accessible to new watchers to keep them engaged. People weren't subjected to half an episode of metastory exposition, that makes no sense without prior-episode context.
The bulk of each show was an accessible storyline, and relevant metastory information was established as needed through regular visual cueing or exposition.

Back to Gary Gygax: have you ever introduced someone to pen-and-paper gaming? If you have, or can you remember so far back ;p, you'll remember how easy it is for their eyes to glaze over during the mundane details of character creation and level-up. But the thing that brings people back, the thing that makes the experience so fun that they put up with the hackneyed rules and the mechanics - is the social interaction and the story. They may not have a clue what their warrior can or cannot do within the context of the metagame -- but they sure as hell know what to do, and enjoy doing it, within the context of the story, within the context of their group.

Everquest has sold somewhere around a million and a half boxes off the shelf. But only about a third or a quarter of those ever stuck around and became subscriptions. The bulk of people who looked at the box, were O.K. with needing a 3d card and an internet connection in 1999, who were O.K. with swords and sorcery, dwarves and dragons -- didn't stay. That's a miserable adoption rate. These same people have no problem putting more time into single player games -- so what are we doing wrong? (not picking on SOE, they're just the easiest to find numbers for)

In my experience, when a pen-and-paper GM fails to engage a new player, that's when they're 'lost'. When that first adventure sucks, when too much time and emphasis is placed on getting the numbers right and making the right metagaming decisions - there's no hope.

It may be that the most popular genres (scifi, fantasy) are keeping massmogs from hitting the mass market -- there's a more immediate problem engaging even casual gamers within our niche.

You've got no shot at Aunt Maude, if you can't engage even half of your DnD buddies.


It's tempting to say the problem is technological or accesibility. To use scientific terms, let's call these things necessary but not sufficient conditions to predict low play numbers. Yes, they limit the possible pool of players, but even within that pool, MMOG rates are pretty pathetic.

My vote for the 800-lb. gorilla nobody is mentioning is that it's a bunch of guys making games for a bunch of guys. Worse, it's a certain type of guys making games for the same certain type. Worse still, it's an industry that, like Hollywood, is tied to risk vs. reward systems, so there's little real innovation. Where is the content that appeals to those guys in a new way? Oh, a fantasy based world, but one that's made by Blizzard, you say? Revolutionary!

Where's the content that appeals to the rest of the guys? Where is the content that appeals to women? Where is the risk taking? The Frasier analogy was actually pretty apt. Critics asked Kelsey Grammer if they worried about making the humor too complex for the mainstream audience and he said he always figured that people who didn't get it would ask those who did. Sure, it limits the audience some, but never as much as creatives think it will. Risk leads to failure and innovation. Your ROI is very high or very low. Most aim for the middle, thus the flood of VWs with no true innovation.

In teh mean time, where is the pleasing social virtual content? It's out there already. It's popping up on cell phones, on mainstream game sites, etc. It's why the Pew Intenet folks found that the majority of people online play games. Just not MMOGs. Niche appeal. Fix the technology and access and you'll still have games that only a few want to play.


I don't think this is a big barrier, but something that came up with a few people last week i was talking about MMOs with:


Some of my colleagues, based on all my nagging and articles I send them daily, want to try out some of these MMOs. But they are also reading literature and talking to other people who have been addicted to these games (RE: EQ), and spend several hours a day online in these worlds. I know, I know...you need self control and restraint. But surprinsingly, the issue of addiction seems to be keeping at least a few people away from experimenting with some of these worlds. And these are people that work in technology everyday, and have all the necassary hardware/broadband to get up and running immediately.


Dmitri Williams>Niche appeal. Fix the technology and access and you'll still have games that only a few want to play
Niche appeal by genre to be sure -- but even within the niche we have some fairly pathetic adoption/convertion rates amongst 'new' players.

I'm anticipating this becoming a more visible aspect of our business when World of Warcraft releases. The Blizzard name will draw all sorts of casual gamers into trying the niche for the first time. It'll be interesting to see how many (or how few) stay.

Bart>...several hours a day online in these worlds

Perhaps its not due an outright fear of addiction that keeps adoption rates down (statistically speaking of course. I'm sure some do fear an addiction). But certainly the required time investments are keeping people away. Heck, several hours a day is not even considered 'addicted' by most in the niche.

Consider that the average mass market consumer, ok with delving into a bit of swords and dwarves, thinks that the LotR extended editions are 'too long'. Yet, a massmog player doesn't dream of calling a 3 hour session 'long' -- likely because almost nothing gets done in a massmog in 90 minutes. And I do mean 'nothing get's done' - because alot of these games focus on mechanics that are all-too-accurately analogized to 'work'.

What we should be talking about is trying to get something fun in 90 minutes (or any predictable chunk of time for that matter). But I digress.

Even when you know what's going on - play sesssions are much too long for the mass market consumer.

(I'm not suggesting quick-and-predictable and fun-in-60 minutes is the 'right' way for every game. But it is pretty much a requirement to hit today's mass market.)


Too right, weasel.

There are a lot of barriers to entry and perceived time crunch is certainly one. Or, as a friend of mine put it, "No way am I buying one of those games. I'd totally get sucked in." Sometimes this is followed by "and my wife would kill me."


I agree that the "addiction" notion is just another way to describe a (completely rational) unwillingness to devote hours a day to a diversion. And I think diversion is the right word, and the thing that the coveted mass market is looking for. Most people who watch Frasier don't spend all day at work wondering what the next episode will contain--they enjoy 30 minutes a week and that's it.

Most MMORPGs just aren't fun for someone who wants to spend one hour each evening--even if they love the genre settings (tangentially, I don't think that the fantasy/sci-fi/etc settings turn most people off because they are looking for something more like the "real world"; people like to dream but current implementations have high overhead). This isn't a new realization, but there's been little progress thus far towards addressing it, and indeed it is a difficult design problem.


I agree that the "addiction" notion is just another way to describe a (completely rational) unwillingness to devote hours a day to a diversion. And I think diversion is the right word, and the thing that the coveted mass market is looking for. Most people who watch Frasier don't spend all day at work wondering what the next episode will contain--they enjoy 30 minutes a week and that's it.

Most MMORPGs just aren't fun for someone who wants to spend one hour each evening--even if they love the genre settings (tangentially, I don't think that the fantasy/sci-fi/etc settings turn most people off because they are looking for something more like the "real world"; people like to dream but current implementations have high overhead). This isn't a new realization, but there's been little progress thus far towards addressing it, and indeed it is a difficult design problem.


Must give much creedance to the art vs. technology argument. I agree that art can take you a long way. I've been playing America's Army lately and that game looks fantastic. Definitely good enough to allow for enough suspension of disbelief to have a very good time.

Still, I'm not convinced that the technology is in place to put things where they need to be. You've got to get that art to the people. And if you look at SL, you can see that for all their effort, it just doesn't get there fast enough. And I'm talkin' about broadband, here. And you really can't just keep piling stuff on people's hard drives. Though I don't know what the threshold migh be there... I'm sure we can still make games bigger on the disk for a while.

On addiction: Isn't this what we are looking for? Or is it just me? To me, the holy grail is finding one of these games that is so good I don't ever want to switch. And to solve the problem of the wife, the game just has to be good enough for her too! :)

Which brings us to the niche problem, and back to the platform argument. Everyone isn't into WoW style games (as hard as it is for me to believe this personally). SL isn't good enough, but it is headed in the right direction. I hope my subscription fee is gettin' em closer.


Excellent observations and good insight by all.

Technology Barriers
Virtual worlds Quality
Elegance issues in design

I especially enjoy Weasel’s comments and think that you are on the right track.

We face, collectively, a unique challenge of technology adoption, business structure, and design elegance issues to reach the mass market appeal we all desire.

As people, we do two things. We adapt better than any species on the planet, and just as important, we have a need to put our actions in some sort of context so that they have meaning.

This is the lure of a virtual existence. To create, explain, and experience events that have shared meaning in a context that makes sense.

Brining these lofty ideas down to practical application in the real world has unique challenges which most of us are painfully aware.

Excellent point Bart. There is more to this aspect as Weasel began to point out. MMORPG’s are not just games. They essentially are a lifestyle due to the amount of time required by the players to be successful. In other words, this type of “immersion” affects the ability of the average potential consumer to meet real life challenges, such as paying rent or taking care of children, or any number of real world activities.

Technology Barriers:
There is a technology adoption rate in all countries in the world and in different ways. Most of us in the US do not see technology as a barrier, but I can most definitely see where in other countries where technology has not proliferated that gaining access to the necessary communication, banking and computer systems to partake in this form of entertainment presents huge barriers to consumers. This then becomes a future opportunity for market growth.

Currently we are witnessing a fairly rapid decline in pricing for the hardware required to play these types of games. I have observed that the median price for 3 years of “life” of a gaming computer system has dropped by 40-50% in the last 5 years. By all indications, this trend will accelerate in the coming years.

Innovation, Quality and Elegance:
Since I have been watching the evolution of gaming, with very few exceptions all innovation has been incremental and mostly focused on the graphics aspects of this entertainment form as opposed to the systems aspects. There is a wide gap between the consumers needs, and the corporate decision makers and not many folks that understand the former and can make a business case to the latter. The path of least resistance and the premise of “Product orientation” of established providers, focus the efforts of innovation on “what you see”, ie.. the “wow” factor. This works well with a computer game that is designed for a short “life” before purchasing the next “eye popping wow” sequel. However this approach ignores the long term “service oriented” aspect of MMORPG’s, and I feel, defeats the long term viability of this type of offering under such business structure.

There are designs and innovations that can be created to solve a vast majority of the problems and issues that are discussed here. However when presenting such designs to the financial and investment community it is often difficult to overcome the "just another MMORPG" syndrome. The point being that the massively multiplayer genre has defined itself as what it is today, a potential cash cow with many of the woes mentioned on these boards. Breaking out of this pre-conception will require a redefinition of player involvement with their virtual pastimes as well as redefining the medium of online interactive entertainment itself. Otherwise we can expect more of the same from 3rd and 4th generation MORPGs.


"On addiction: Isn't this what we are looking for? Or is it just me? To me, the holy grail is finding one of these games that is so good I don't ever want to switch."

That may be what many of us here, and most current players of MMORPGs are looking for. It's certainly what most developers are trying to design. But I think that the 95% of people who don't play online already (many of whom, at least in the US, aren't hindered by availability of technology) are interested in something less demanding.

Possibility (not an assertion): most people are promiscuous, and would rather have a number of smaller, varied experiences, rather than one consuming one. That approach certainly works for prime time television, maybe it could work for online games.

Personally, I don't think that mobile devices (at this point) are capable of sustaining a successful VW unless they are an extension of a console or PC-based setting. The problem seems more social then technical. People talk on their cell phones in public, but are able to partition their attention to other things at the same time. How well could that work for mobile gaming? If you can drive and play at the same time, does that level of immersivity still count as a virtual world, considering the user experience? On the other hand, if it requires dedicated attention, how (socially) mobile is it, really?

Using your GameBoy to play FFIX would be great, and something like that will surely happen soon, but it won't open a huge new market.


I believe the main barrier to adoption is art/design. I there are many popular games that are not on the cutting edge graphically or don’t hog resources so I don’t really buy the technology argument. Technology might be a limiting factor at some point but with somewhere around 1 million citizens of Virtual Worlds living in the US we have room for growth before technology becomes the limiting factor.

I have often been in discussions about the “breakthrough game” the game that gets played by millions of Americans. I like to use a hypothetical Titanic based game as a straw man because it neatly addresses many of the problems I see with current designs.

Why Titanic for the breakthrough game? The subject matter is famous, the level of interest is high around the world and everyone knows what happens. This is important because one of the barriers to having fun with a computer game is figuring out what to do. On Titanic everyone immediately knows what he or she wants to do, get off. But Titanic appeals on many levels giving people reasons to play over and over. People will play the game just to look around the ship. Others will play to see if they can survive the sinking. Still others will play because they enjoy the subplots that can be written into the game. If the game is artful many people will play more than once so that they may explore the various aspects of the game, and enjoy it a different way each time.

Titanic is also good because it is a known, closed world. Designers do not have to invent a universe for Titanic the game we have the universe already. Player options are limited; they cannot walk off the ship and explore the North Atlantic. There is no need for many of the systems that can break in a standard VW such as crafting or an economy.

Titanic closed in the three dimensional sense but it is also closed in the fourth dimension, time. It took 2 hours and 40 minutes from striking the iceberg to going under. This creates the opportunity to introduce a game that is not an open ended use of time and can be enjoyed much the same way viewers now enjoy a movie or television program, we enjoy them partly because we know when they are going to end.

I think it will be difficult to make the breakthrough game until the problems addressed by this thought experiment are solved in a real game. Most people really want an understandable goal with limited (but interesting) choices and a limited time frame to accomplish the goal. The easier you make it for the players to understand these things and to learn the mechanics necessary to accomplish them the more likely the game is to breakthrough.



Will Wright's love story experiment (gdc 2004) fused two different games (a love story against a huge war backdrop) was interesting as a thought experiment because the two games felt "orthogonal" yet intersecting in interesting ways - those in the war may choose to help the lovers or they may not...

A Titanic game, i speculate, would need analogous structure - otherwise, you end up with some group of players "red shirting" (star trek) another group of players. I almost believe that a Titanic game as you described above might be better played with a smaller group of players with a lot of AI.

That brings up another can of annelids briefly touched deep in an earlier TN thread: do most players in mmogs turn into AI anyway?


Ok, as this discussion gravitated towards the design aspects...

Assuming that people are one million people in the US are willing to pay $15 a month, in addition to upfront and continual upkeep costs, of playing a MMORPG and that the only thing keep them away is a good quality game then...

City of Heroes (CoH) is the current best example of a Titanic-type game. The genre is well-known with more and more "comic superheroes" hitting the big screen. The game play is well-defined: Heroes fighting villians. Furthermore, the gameplay is easy to understand also. I personally have not played the game, so I'm speaking from heresay. Evidence does suggest that CoH have converted many fence-sitters waiting for the right MMOG.

World of Warcraft is also designed like a theme park where the entertainment experience is more structured. Thus, maybe the masses would prefer a MMORPG for the couch-online gamer.



Ok, as this discussion gravitated towards the design aspects...

IMO, most things come down to the art of the possible - the corollary here is that you have to know what is possible before you can discuss the art. One can't factor out technology from this discussion.

I have a personal (religious) feeling that a MMORPG on something like a Sony PSP could open interesting possibilities. Having said that, I'm without clue as to what design of MMORPG one would want to put on a PSP, but I'm pretty sure its not a port of existing products ;-)


What will a MMORPG be like on a mobile platform with limited screen size and graphics power?

A 2D top-down Zelda or Mario World MMORPG; an Ultima Online Mobile. Successful mobile MMORPGs will probably start out with 2D platform. Maybe 2-years in to the cycle there will be standards for mobile-optimized 3D graphic.

Design-wise, Mogi type location-based multiplayer gaming will be a hit. I hink a Spy vs. Spy or a Laser Tag game will be quite fun. Players running around the mall trying to
earn points by "tagging" their targets and going on weekend excursions around the city to hunt for power-ups.



"earn points by "tagging" their targets and going on weekend excursions around the city to hunt for power-ups."

This can get out of hand fairly quickly. Long time ago I participated in a few no-rules in-city treasure hunts and similar live games. The word 'competitive' and 'loser' take on whole new meanings. Unless you're part of it, you *really* don't want to be around anyone playing any live-action games.


DivineShadow>This can get out of hand fairly quickly.

Right. Short lifespan too. Fun for a while, but won't be sustainable.

A Zelda or MarioWorld MMORPG on the mobile platform sounds better :)



DivineShadow>This can get out of hand fairly quickly.

Right. Short lifespan too. Fun for a while, but won't be sustainable.

A Zelda or MarioWorld MMORPG on the mobile platform sounds better :)



An illustration of the "game based on a game based on a game" part of the problem from Will Wright wrt SimCity.


"SimCity," the pioneering game in which players build a functional virtual city, first appeared on Macintosh computers 15 years ago. Since then, it has been updated as "SimCity 2000," "SimCity 3000" and "SimCity 4," becoming steadily more complex.

" 'SimCity' kind of worked itself into a corner," Wright said. "We were still appealing to this core 'SimCity' group. It had gotten a little complicated for people who had never played 'SimCity.' We want to take it back to its roots where somebody who had never heard of 'SimCity' can pick it up and enjoy playing it without thinking it was really, really hard."

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