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Jun 21, 2005



What makes a reality a reality?

Coherency, depth, interconnectedness.

It benefits if it has a fractalistic, infinitely compressible structure. The lesser number of axioms it has, the greater inclusiveness and stability of the reality it unfolds.

It needs detailedness so that to the consciousness at the level of perception it appears as a flawless stand-alone complex.

I suggest that the concept of 'detailedness' in relation to a generic reality translates well into the concept of 'immersion' in relation to virtual worlds.

(Consciousness can immerse itself in many layers of abstraction, not just a 3d-istic reality.)

In conclusion, there are universal metrics - and they change as perspective does.


I'm entirely sure whatever was said in the above post could've been said in a much easier to understand form which I may not have grasped in it's entirety but at least didn't feel like I was falling into a large endless abyss.

Anyway, I think what he was trying to say was "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". If you think it's an MMO, it's an MMO in your opinion. Heck, most people don't think Guild Wars is an MMO simply because it instances EVERYTHING. My way of thinking is that anything with more than 1000 players in worlds where virtual property is transferable is game for the word "MMO". Most 1st person shooters don't apply since you can't move your character with stats intact (100 kills, 10 deaths) into another server, you start at "level 1" with nothing (not even a reputation most of the time).

In Planetside you move into different "zones" with all your stats, partners, buddy lists, "guilds" intact, that's the difference.

So yes, a website that had a game which players could trade items, gain levels and talk to any other player would be an MMO to me (I'm making one which I also deem "MMO" status on my webpage).


NeoPets may be significant for, among other things, creating a persistent but non-spatial (and yes, non-textual) world. That is, subscribers there buy, raise, and do activities with their pets. They have currency with which they can buy other stuff. They have persistent identity and community.

What they don't seem to have is a spatially manifested world, or any form of "grind" as found in other popular online world/community/games.

Is it an MMO? Sure, I'd say so. But then I don't care much about purist definitions. What matters is that it works well as a form of entertainment and community -- and for about as many people as play WoW, according to the figures given by the NeoPets press release. And, as is now clear, as a result it holds significant value in the marketplace.


Neopets has a high "personal significance" index for quite a lot of players.

If only I knew 5-10 years abot that the Neopets business could be sold for $160m..... I wanted an online Pokemon or Tamaguchi games!

Hmm, maybe this is an indicating that a bubble is forming? Hope not.



"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

Is it an MMO? Sure, I'd say so. But then I don't care much about purist definitions.

You might suspect that these are my inclinations too. You'd be right.

However, wearing the other shoe, stretching the other hat... should there be a bit more rigor in how we define and approach our discussions of "virtual worlds." Would this be useful or would it be counter-productive at this stage of "virtual worlds" discussion?


Mike Sellers>What they don't seem to have is ... any form of "grind" as found in other popular online world/community/games.

I beg to differ. There is most definately a grind, and it is a huge part of the stikiness. To get Neopoints to feed your Neopets, you need to play (web/flash) games (many with imbedded advertisements/branding.) You need to play lots of games to get enough stuff to start playing the item-resale-market grind or the level-your-pet-for-combat-grind, or....

Not only are there a grinds,there are splotiz, and there is MinMaxing, and hyper-inflated markets and guilds, etc. It has all the markers of a classic MMORG except a player avatar of any kind.

Someday, I should write up how my then 15-year-old son wrote several simulated clients to play games all night to generate the highest level NeoPet, and how he used other bots he made to distribute the thousands of Neopet food items he got as an uneeded byproduct of the leveling-bot. For a few months, he was the Robin-Hood of Neopets - a free source of (othewise hyper-inflated) food for many thousands of pet owners...

Oh. It's a MMORG all right.It just happens to be sessionless and use a web browser for a client.




This is exactly what “lighted my bulb”.

There’s a lot of chatter about graphical vs. text MUDs. But hey, a browser-base game can be just as grindy or good.

Commercially, it’s about stickiness. And the carrot-on-a-stick gameplay keeps “kids” hooked.



Not suprised to see Randy paying attention to this -- it may not be *cool* like WoW, but if I had a chunk of change to throw at virtual worlds, I'd be figuring out what makes NeoPets tick. It's kind of funny to see how many in the social software / games studies crowd are conspicuously not interested in this. There are cultural ghettos within cultural ghettos. ;-)


greglas wrote:

"Not suprised to see Randy paying attention to this -- it may not be *cool* like WoW..."

WoW is cool? I beg to differ.

Seriously, are there subscription fees associated with Neopets? Does anyone have an idea how much revenue the site takes in?


No, as far as I know (been casually playing 5 years) there are no fees for NeoPets in general - except time investment. BUT of course, you CAN pay to get a "premium membership" with some perks etc. The more I think about it the more mmorpg it sounds. You are right about there being "grinds" when you want a rare item/high level/trophy/chat-avatar-icon. Come to think of it, it's amazing how many goals [read:grinds?] you can invent for yourself. I imagine this is a lot of the staying power. (And there's no penalty if you leave for months and come back. The pets don't die or lose levels.)

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