May 212008
  • The Hernandez case in Florida, where IGE is being sued for damaging the WoW gameplay experience, is trying seeking class certification. This was always their intent, so I suppose really, I am just pointing out that the slow gears continue to grind on.
  • In other legal news, a Legend of Mir 2 player is suing Shanda, trying to get monetary damages for the value of the in-game items that they lost due to some sort of technical glitch. In other words, a “virtual property” case. The player had been buying these items, and Massively did the math, working out that the guy had spent almost $30,000.
  • SmallWorlds is about to launch — basically, it lets you make isometric multiplayer apartments and embed them on pages and link them. They are apparently planning on lots of Hollywood tie-ins. It will be interesting to see how this goes, given the similarities to Whirled, which has not set the world on fire yet despite being very cool. Using the “open big” estimation method and eyeballing their curve using the numbers they report on the site, they look to be on track to peak around 20-30,000 users unless they manage to crack another market or go viral. Naturally, we’re watching all this kind of closely since Metaplace bears some similarities to both of these.

  8 Responses to “Brief notes: IGE, Shanda, SmallWorlds”

  1. > Using the “open big” estimation method

    Aye aye. We’ve very deliberately ‘opened small’ — no PR, no ads, etc. We’re still beavering away on so many things, not least tuning, games, API extensions, etc. Certainly we expect to grow on a very long S-curve, like Puzzle Pirates, not a ‘go large and drop off’. I can’t think of any successful pure online distribution story that’s worked that way — can you?

  2. No, I can’t either. When I look close at S curves, they tend to look like “open bigs” writ small, just sloping up really slowly, and then either switching to a J curve or not.

    I think a lot of “going viral” does amount to “cracking another market or audience or social group or whatever.” So none of my comments are meant as negative, of course.

  3. > “going viral”

    Go J-curve!

  4. Somebody tell me more about S-curves and J-curves. I mean, I know what that would look like on a graph. What I want to know is the reasons why user populations follow that track and how they came to be common knowledge.

  5. A J-curve is every developer (and their investors) dream, the legendary ‘Hockey Stick’. It could be a viral firestorm, or it could be a big paid advertising campaign. The question is when it tops out and goes south, which comes into retention and intrinsic virality.

    The S curve we imagine is starting slow with a small population then at some pointing cracking the code and going into a steep J… and then perhaps exhausting the dry firewood and topping out into a long plateau. Within that plateau you’ll have users churning in and out, but if the game has good retention and strong sources of new players (viral or otherwise) it can maintain for a long time. Eventually you may move into a long decline.

    Puzzle Pirates is more or less at that plaeau, but we have recently found new ways to kick us back into growth again; so you can get SS curves!

    Ve hav wayz ov making you play!

    Andrew Chen writes a lot about this kind of thing and is much cleverer than me;

  6. Daniel – haven’t you been across the pond long enough to avoid verbs like “beavering” ?

  7. Only time will tell when an institution is able to “garnish” or “attach” wages and/or income in an online game.

    Wouldn’t it be wild to login one day to recieve a notice from the credit card you defaulted and all your virtual items were sold?

  8. OMG! I forgot to go back to Whirled!

    This is where it gets scary — misplacing entiring worlds. Forgetting them.

    You had a character, an apartment, a life — but you had so many, you lost them like a penny.

    Hey, that rhymes.

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