Gamasutra notes that a new middleware company is offering online game developers tools to manage their in-game economies
. Twofish is the name of the startup, and their offering (Twofish Elements) is intended to plug directly into the backend of any in-development Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Their product seems to be geared at allowing indie developers to offer a microtransaction economy similar to the one Nexon
uses in Maple Story
The company was founded two years ago, in part by Lee Crawford
- a veteran of Yahoo! Games, Shockwave.com and Segasoft Networks. In order to prove out their technology they're also developing an online game to utilize it. Entitled Edgeracers,
the offering will feature "the culture of car customization and casual racing"
, and should release within the next few months. Crawford has a few comments featured in the announcement writeup, and (along with many players) views the move to microtransactions as a rough road for games and developers. "We see Twofish Elements being a way to help independent publishers and developers compete on a level footing ... In our view, the world is moving towards the mass-market consumer and, ultimately, the hardcore player going to free-to-play with microtransactions,"