Nov 302011

I was sent a link to this set of YouTube vids on the history of the MMO genre from MUDs forward. It’s worth a look, even if only to get  a rare glimpse of actual video footage from some of the older games that many folks today don’t even know existed (after all, WoW invented the genre, right?)…

Among the oddities, errors, and omissions:

  • Leaving out Kingdom of the Winds, which predated Lineage.
  • Leaving out kids’ MMOs entirely, especially Club Penguin.
  • Saying that the Ultima Online team had never made anything multiplayer before (Ken Demarest, mentioned in the documentary, left very shortly after UO actually had a team put together — and the original core team that was assembled on the programming and design side was all MUD/MUSH/MOO veterans except for one guy).
  • Saying that Meridian 59 going flat fee was what opened up that business model… I’m fuzzy on this, but my recollection is that M59 was not flat fee at launch… it happened later. And for a while they had a weird complicated fee structure…
  • Leaving out Kart Rider, the genre explosion, and the rise of free-to-play in Korea… it just sort of stops short at Lineage there. Instead F2P seems to all be attributed to Runescape, which is a real misread of where the lines of influence actually flowed, I think.
  • No mention of key non-game worlds like Second Life and Habbo Hotel. I suppose this is excused by the emphasis on game worlds, except for the mention of Habitat.

As a side note, on the graphical MMO explosion — even though a bunch of titles launched in a very staggered way that is covered in the documentary, I think that in practice just about all of them started development around the same time. It’s just that some of them finished faster.

There’s definitely a book to be had about everything in this history… someone (not me) should go write it. 🙂

Vids after the fold:

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Google’s Lively

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Jul 082008

So at this point, I imagine everyone has seen the news about Google finally decloaking off the virtual bow with Lively.

The coverage showed up in both the gaming press, where Google shared a bunch of tidbits that seemed to indicate a PR outreach to the gaming community, and also of course in the tech press, where commenters seemed overall less than impressed, questioning how Lively relates to Google’s avowed purpose of “organizing the world’s information.”

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May 082006

So, I’ve already linked to a ton of other people’s commentary on the Metaverse Summit, but I haven’t given any of my own thoughts yet. If you’re used to thinking of me as the pie in the sky idealist, prepare for some grounding…!

Annotated versus virtual reality
There was a definite tug of war between two competing versions of what the metaverse means. One of them is the virtual world thing that most readers of this blog will be familiar with. The other is the annotated world augmented reality thing, which is the idea of pulling web data into the real world by overlaying it on our physical existence via heads-up specs and the like. In between is the “mirrorworld” which is a compromise, replicating the real world into virtual space and then annotating it there.

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