One of the few advantages to getting old is that you get to see history repeat itself. Today a couple of folks pointed me to this Red Herring article about how user created content sucks.
“There’s a reason some of us are employed and paid to make games, and there’s a reason why most people are not. It’s because they’re really bad at it,” added Starr Long, game director of NCsoft.
Well, of course, I just talked about this (that whole “quit being snobby” thing). But today it strikes me from a slightly different angle. See, I remember a time when there was this whole online gaming industry that made millions and millins, and had all the answers. Their titles were acknowledged as the kings of the hill, and they were quite proud of the fact that outsiders didn’t seem to know how to crack the market.
Then one day a strange confluence happened. A few companies that had money, from outside this cozy online industry, hired a bunch of amateurs. Within a few years, the amateurs had taken that old guard online ggaming industry and dismantled it. A few survivors limped along — some made the shift and changed over. The big money folks, who remained clueless about the way the online world worked, mostly went and acquired and dismantled them.
I am speaking, of course, about the mid-90s, when the moneyed game corps got into online. The old guard were victims like Kesmai, and the new guard was, well, people like me & Kristen, and Damion Schubert, and Daniel James, and Steve Nichols, and Rick Delashmit, and tons of others whose names you haven’t even heard. We came out of amateur, hobbyist muds, and now we’re the old guard. Edit: in case the irony wasn’t clear — Starr is actually one of the guys who hired several of us. 🙂
I vividly recall Jessica Mulligan complaining that the higher budgets that the game companies brought were a tragedy for the industry. I also recall that it took a while for the new guard to be accepted by the old guard. Now, of course, we’re all friends and hang out together at conferences.
So on the panel referenced in the article, who was the new guard? MTV. 🙂