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Mar 23, 2007



One word - RuneQuest. And it's British.


The much more comprehensive list at MMORPG is still far from complete for Asian games:


and, if you can read Korean, their list is at:


and they have a top 50 list (I think).


Rich Bryant's "one word" is perhaps supposed to be Runescape. RuneQuest, the 1970s tabletop RPG, was designed entirely by Americans, though it is currently published by a British company.

Another pertinent point is the income derived from the respective markets. Korea's MMOG revenue is about triple the US market's, according to Electronic Times Internet (via the PLayNoEvil blog).


That'll teach me not to post before sleep ;) Thanks Allen.


My completely off the cuff guesstimate is that the US accounts for <10% of online world development.


well, it seems that at least the USA's games are enjoyable yet ....


Julian>it might be argued, the vast majority of online games are modeled on games of American origin, shot through with U.S.-inflected cultural types and tropes.

I see a number of other points in America's favour that also push in this direction:

1) America is a large market, so if developers are hoping to pick up players outside their region at all they'll aim to be attractive to an American audience. This ensures that American cultural tropes are often inserted.

2) Raising finance in the USA is much easier than elsewhere. American financiers look on investment in game development as what it is - a gamble - and if they lose then they just take the hit. Elsewhere (particularly in the UK), it's only possible to obtain investment capital if you can prove, beyond any doubt, that you don't need it. Furthermore, development is less expensive in the USA than elsewhere because of the weak and puny dollar. This means that more virtual worlds are developed in the USA as a result.

3) Many Americans speak a form of English. Because English is the second language for much of the world, if people can't find a virtual world in their own language then they'll try one in English instead. Virtual worlds developed in English-speaking countries have an advantage over those developed elsewhere.

4) America has a body expertise in virtual world development now, and an actual centre of excellence - Austin is the virtual world equivalent of Hollywood.



> Many Americans speak a form of English

Ouch, not on a Sunday morning, Richard. Coffee -> monitor again. I'll fetch a cloth.


If you're talking about where most virtual worlds are (as opposed to where most virtual world users are) you'll not be able to get a meaningful answer without delving into text MUDs. There are well over 1000 text virtual worlds operating currently, nearly exclusively in the US, Canada, and Europe with a few Aussie/New Zealanders and the odd South American thrown into the mix. I'm really not sure how the geographic mix breaks down but it certainly seems to be very heavy on the US side of things.


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