Thinking long-term

 Posted by (Visited 765 times)  Game talk
Apr 152021

Another week, another post over on the Playable Worlds website. This time it’s about “engagement” and “retention”: those words which can be boogeymen for those concerned about the business practices of game publishers, but which are also crucial to long-term enjoyment of a game.

The first virtual world I worked on was LegendMUD. It is still running after a quarter-century. My second was Ultima Online. When I go to a UO player gathering, I see three whole generations of families who have played that game for 23 years now: grandparents, parents, and kids. Why?

Because running a game like this, a world like this, a service like this – this is a long-term emotional relationship with the player.

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Designing for Social Play

 Posted by (Visited 843 times)  Game talk
Apr 092021

Oops, I forgot to post about this yesterday when it went up!
I wrote about designing for social play for the Playable Worlds website. As you can see, I’m doing an article a week for now… that will probably change once we get more folks writing about what we are doing and inch ever closer to an actual reveal of what we are making.

In the end, good social design is about good society design. That’s what underlies the buzzword, and why it’s so sad that the word “social” gets reduced to mindless clicking or dark patterns on a social media site.

Diversity of people and of play makes for a more robust society, a more enduring community, in every way. That’s good for us as a business. More importantly, it’s better for players. It makes for an online world that doesn’t chase you out or make you feel insignificant or unwanted. A world where you can pursue your own dream.

From up close, from where we stand, we cannot see the shape of the whole. My hope is that by playing in a world like this, players come to realize the interconnectedness of all things.

If the ideas discussed there sound of interest to you, and you are a game dev — you might want to check out our jobs page — we’re hiring for a bunch of roles!


Player-driven economies

 Posted by (Visited 1502 times)  Game talk
Apr 012021

I’ve got a new blog post up on the Playable Worlds site, this time talking about the value of economies driven by players, and what that really means.

This often all gets boiled down to the phrase “a player-driven economy.” And people think it means revenue models and monetization. Maybe, if they are savvier about online worlds, they think it means players make the items that other players play with – and that’s true, they can and do and should! But even that is still a reductionist way to think of it.

A player-driven economy isn’t about the money. It’s about having every way to play the game serve a role in the ecosystem. It’s about all the wonderful and weird ways we choose to live and play, and how we find out that our silly hobbies are vital necessities to someone else.

In the end, it’s about making everyone important. Because we all are. Important. Plumbers, baristas, roleplayers and raiders.

Check it out here!

The Future of Online Worlds

 Posted by (Visited 888 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Mar 252021
Colorful blue and green background with geometric shapes and lines. On the left: a circular picture of Playable Worlds CEO Raph Koster at a speaking event. On the right: large white text reads "The Future of Online Worlds".

We are starting to open up a bit about what we are doing here at Playable Worlds!

I am going to tell you that yes, worlds can feel alive, like real places. Places where you can stake out your virtual homestead, and leave your mark in a lasting way. Online worlds can be dynamic, fully persistent, and modifiable by players, and not just unchanging cardboard set pieces an inch deep and monetized a mile wide.

We have the technology: cloud computing power lets us do things with simulation and AI that once seemed impossible. This dream can come true.

To read more, head on over to the Playable Worlds website for the full article!

Feb 112019

I’ve written endless words on this in the past, but sometimes you just need a cheat sheet. Particularly these days when people who aren’t community professionals find themselves on the front lines out of business necessity or just because of the nature of social media. So here’s just a quick set of advice for those who find themselves speaking to members of their user community.

Always be honest. Honesty and straightforwardness buys goodwill for when you screw up. Lies buy ill will. And screw ups will happen.

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