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Jan 04, 2007



I didn't catch it when you changed the format so that authors of posts and comments were named at the top, but thank you, thank you very much. It got really annoying to have to scan to the bottom of a post, then scroll back up, so that I knew who was speaking while I read something.


Better yet, it shows in the RSS feed, too. Great usability change, folks.


Thanks. :-) The "link" next to comments is also a direct link to the comment, which I hope people start using -- and I added some notes about HTML under the post window. I'm worried that they're a bit too gray, though.

Cory -- I'm always amazed by how many of these come to pass. At the start of a year, my tally is never 5 out of ten. Looking forward to your predictions for this year.


I'm stoked that I could make number 6 happen for you Cory!


I believe WoW is down, but I can't find the figures. Its not at all unusual for a MMO to fall before an expansion pack and then to spike, of course.


I predict I will be having Corey's baby at this time next year.


I've heard that while WoW hasn't lost many subscriptions, the activity level has plummeted, probably due to the expansion. Again no hard figures, but upon logging in after a long hiatus it certainly seems that way.


You're actually 6 for 10. The Syndicate, a cross-game MMO guild, trademarked their name. I'd say a guild counts as a service.



The Syndicate TM serial no. is 3027852 for those wanting to search uspto.gov.


Grrr... actually it's the Registration No.


What I could find on trademarks...

Anshe has been filed, but, "... no final determination as to the registrability of the mark has been made."

Bank of Virtual World. "... not yet assigned to attorney" as of 12/4/06.

Euphoria. "... no final determination."

All filed... none granted as of yet.


Close the markup! :-)


Oh, and BTW, I find this whole business of trademarks in virtual worlds fascinating. See this prior post on the question of whether or not you should be able to register a TM in a virtual business. There's room for a good article on the topic -- if any of our readers are writing one, please drop me an email.


Here are what I believe to be the hardest numbers on WoW activity available:


Well activity sure plummeted as expected in early december, the recent increase is probably related to old players reactivating their accounts and getting prepared for the Burning Crusade.

The only pattern in servers I've been able to find that the "big name" servers have seen very little decrease, while small ones, especially of lower populations, have fallen drammatically. Not a big surprise.


Lum, if we're going by that, Haydean Drive Yards, an Eve corperation, trademarked the name over two years ago.


I don't see Hadean Drive Yards on the federal register -- is there a number? Cory asked you the same question last year I think.

And from the Syndicate page:

... we are proud of our involvement in a host of Syndicate services that include, but are not limited to, our annual conferences, submissions to game development books, the articles we have written for gaming publications, guides for specific games or aspects of games, and a line of gaming related products and clothing.

So yep, I see that as use in commerce. But I don't see the in-game guild as being the core justification for that registration. The question that I wonder about is whether you could claim that in-game trade and services for in-game currency would qualify as use in commerce. In a way, it's the whole virtual tax property and trade issue just ported over to trademark law.


greglas, I I don't belive it's an American trademark. I'm not 100% sure where it was filed actually - I'll try and find out.


Hmmm, I tried to post a review of my 2006 predictions (ended up with a score of 0.450 btw), and I was blocked by a screen saying the system believes my comments to be spam. Is there a way to circumvent this?


I appologize for the length of this post (and for splitting it into mulitple sections to try to get past the spam filter), but I wanted to grade my predictions for 2006. Last year's thread is here if anyone else wants to review what they predicted a year ago. Let's see if I was able to beat Cory's 0.500.

1. Politicians, the media, and/or psychologists will discover MMOGs, and will decry the violence taught to our children under the banner of "PvP". Unless I missed it (entirely possible, I had a busy year), I don't think MMOG PvP made it into the sights of politicians or the media in the past year. 0 for 1.

2. EA will announce that they now, finally, "get" this MMOG thing and are going to try it all over again. Then they'll hire all the wrong people for the project. The rumors that I have heard have said that a lot of EA's execs started playing WoW over the past year, and their purchase of Mythic and the Warhammer project indicates to me that they are trying to harness MMOGs once again. I wouldn't say they've hired the wrong people for the job, but I do think EA execs are still generally clueless when it comes to the business and art of MMOGs. 1 for 2.



3. One of the high profile licensed MMOGs -- Lord of the Rings Online, DDO, Star Trek, etc -- will fail spectacularly. More companies will rush to make licensed MMOGs. Middle Earth Online and STO haven't shipped yet, and from what I've read DDO hasn't broken 100k subscribers. And yet there have been even more licensed MMOGs announced this past year (Marvel MMOG, Stargate Worlds, Virtual Laguna Beach, Fallout MMOG, Firefly MMOG -- had links for all of these, but the spam filter wouldn't let me post them), with others (Age of Conan, Warhammer, STO, Middle Earth Online) that have been in development for awhile, and others that may not actually happen. I'm going to count this one. 2 for 3.

4. Tabula Rasa still will not ship. The project won't be cancelled out right, but team members and resources will quietly begin to be reallocated. Didn't ship, hasn't been cancelled, and the team seems to have been strangely quiet over the past year. 3 for 4.



5. WoW will finish out 2006 with more than 8 million customers. The most recent press release puts the customer base at 7.5 million, so unless there is another press release soon (maybe in the next week or two, with the launch of Burning Crusade), I don't think I get to count this one. 3 for 5.

6. Steps will be made towards agreeing on a universal definition of "customer", but no consensus will be reached in 2006. We've certainly spent a lot of time discussing customer definitions over the past year, and even more in just the last few weeks of the year, but the controversy continues. I'll count this one. 4 for 6.



7. Viable MMOG platforms will begin to launch, leading to an upsurgence in small professional indie MMOGs, as well as research MMOGs. We're definitely closer to this today than we were a year ago, especially with projects like Ted Castronova's Arden underway, but I don't think the revolution is quite here yet. I'm going to give myself half a point for this one. 4.5 for 7.

8. Someone will begin development on an ARG-MMOG hybrid. We'll have to come up with a whole new acronym. Unfortunately no. Hopefully in 2007. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 4.5 for 8.



9. A heretofore quiet and unrecognized voice in the industry will write an article or book that will change the way we make virtual worlds. I don't remember any new faces making a huge splash this year, so unless someone can point me towards a book or article that I missed, I'm not going to count this one. 4.5 for 9.

10. At a conference, Lee Sheldon will beat me spectacularly at Quiddler, and Mike Sellers will come up with more words Lee doesn't know. Unfortunately, AGC was thrown completely out of whack for me this year -- I was working with two companies who both did huge debut presentations at AGC, I spoke for the first time, and my husband attended the conference for the first time, so when the chance came up to go out and play board games with Lee and the gang, I opted to sleep instead. 4.5 for 10.

And it'd hardly be fair to count this one, so I'll number it 11 and leave it out of my batting average for next year:
11. I'll end 2006 more bitter than I entered it, but will still love my job.
It was true for 2006, and it will be true for 2007. I ended 2006 loving my job more than I could have imagined a year ago, which more than makes up for my continuing descent into absolute curmudgeonhood. But as promised, I won't count this one, so I have a final score of 0.450. I didn't quite beat Cory's 0.500 -- unless Blizzard announces 8 million subscribers in the next week or so. ;)

So how did everyone else do?

(PS - yay for spam filters, boo for spam filters that won't let me post large chunks of text or multiple links. :P )


Re: >Prokofy Neva says:
I predict I will be having Corey's baby at this time next year.

Um, that's not me posting that but some idiot spoofing my name. If anything, Ms. Corey would be having Mr. Neva's prim babies but I don't consort with Ms. Corey in SL, frankly, as she has stood idly by while I was permabanned from the Official Blog over my questions to her before the Town Hall about libsecondlife, a question Corey later described as "excellent". One of those mysteries of Second Life...

However, let me take this opportunity to give you the link to my own predictions, and that realistic, all-important world-shaping event of 2007 wich will involve Ban Ki-Moon and Kim Jong-Il meeting in SL to discuss world peace.



4) WoW will end 2006 with fewer players than it has today
I think this was wrong, but I haven't seen any recent WoW numbers. Anyone know? 2 for 4.

Blizzard have just posted their new numbers!!! Now at 8 millions subscribers.


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