On the plane, I noticed that the center spot on the Marketplace section of the WSJ features an article about Runescape, a title which still seems to inexplicably fly below the radar of the mainstream MMO industry. I didn’t read the article (my seatmate would have objected to my taking the paper from his hands, no doubt!) but I did see that it included speculation as to whether Jagex, the makers of the game, would be the next to be acquired by a major media company, as MySpace was. Alas, the article is hidden behind a for-pay gate, but if you’re a WSJ.com member, I suppose you can get to it.
Many dismiss Runescape because its graphics aren’t impressive — indeed, the heading on the article stated they were “dull.” But skip past that — in terms of gameplay, Runescape is a very worldy world, offering a diverse array of activities that frankly,resembles UO a lot (chopping down trees and fishing are osme of the first things that it is suggested you do).
The principal audience appears to be kids in their early teens, perhaps before they get ready to move on to paying their way in games like World of Warcraft. I can tell you that it hasn’t budged from the #1 spot on the Yahoo! BuzzMeter in literally a year or two.
By the way, it’s raining hard in Vegas. I thought parallel recreational worlds distanced from reality were always supposed to cater to the customer.