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Sep 27, 2004



Having worked for a large company, I'll point out that large companies would prefer to write their own XYZ-engines than use 3rd party middleware. There are a number of reasons for this, including competitive advantage (against other large competitors) and various risk issues (such as the middleware vendor going bankrupt or being purchased by a competitor). I can go into more detail if people wish.

Small companies have no spare money to reinvent the wheel, and are likely to leap at the opportunity to use middleware. The question that then arises is: How many small VW companies will exist 5 years from now? (I suspect this number is highly correlated to the quality of middleware written today.)

Small companies can never have too much middleware. If I were creating a MMORPG with middleware, I'd not only want all my server and client code provided for me, but I'd want access to a customer/world-management tools, and library of models, animations, textures, sound effects, etc. Even if I want my VW to be on planet Xorbin instead of Middle-earth, an existing Elf model can always be given a ridge-line and called a Klingon.

The only effort I should have to spend is to differentiate my world from the generic one that comes with the middleware... soup to nuts... I don't think Massive and the other middleware providers have gone this far yet.

Of course, such heavy reliance on middleware will tend to produce a lot of MMORPGs that look even more similar than today's crop of MMORPGs.


"what is the future for MMO middleware?"

Increasing demand for quality content/services should drive money away from the platform. A tighter budget to implement the platform points towards using off-the-shelf components.


Article in Atlanta Business Chronicle (thanks!, via MMORPGDot):

Video games of the future Internet Security Systems co-founder starts new venture

"His new 20-person shop, Klaus Entertainment Inc., is developing a video game "engine" for massively multiplayer online game programmers. It's expected to be released in mid-2005."



All I can say is, middleware is a godsend for educational providers. You know, we don't care so much about making the next cool game, we just want something that works. Even if it isn't fun, we can still order our students into it at gunpoint!


Having used Bigworld, I can testify to its high level of competence as a product. It really is quite a nice suite. Definitely the best of the MMORPG middleware suites that I've played with. I'm told Turbine's is also very good but they stopped licensing it.


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