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Reader Comments (25)

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 9:12AM Dlangar said

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Mr. Garriot's reasons for jumping into the social gaming arena amount to just about the same as everyone else's that I've seen, ie., "You're an idiot and will be left behind if you're not onboard with this!". But what is far more interesting, IMHO, once you get get past the social gaming stuff is the backstory he gives on some of his design processes back in the day when he came up with Ultima 4 and Ultima Online. If you're a fan at all of some of the games that founded the CRPG genre, it's well worth the read.

Dusty

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 9:46AM (Unverified) said

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Garriott is a has-been. He basically blew himself out of the mmo realm with the shitfest known as Tabula Rasa, so now he has to settle for making crapware for Facebook. It's what he deserves, and he can stay there where real gamers won't have to deal with him ever again.

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 8:27PM tRaFiK said

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I never knew about that Activision/Kotick event.

In the process of uninstalling all Activision games, closing my WoW account and from here on in boycotting anything to do with them.

Yes I'm a small fish, but people have to act with their wallets. What they have done and what Kotick has said can only be labelled as disgusting.

Its just a shame that Blizzard has to miss out on my money as well, I was rather looking forward to Diablo and Starcraft.

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 10:13AM HackJack said

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The professional advice and critique from the obviously superior minds of Massive readers is always welcome. Especially on the life of other people.

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 10:18AM TheJackman said

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Sadly there are the less superior minds of Massive readers as well.
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Posted: Apr 6th 2010 10:24AM Triskelion said

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Boy, you guys certainly know how to rile us up; just post a pic of Garriott in some space outfit and the hate ensues.

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 10:41AM (Unverified) said

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I think Garriott is a pretty cool guy. eh kills aleins and doesnt afraid of anything

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 10:45AM LaughingTarget said

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He just wants more money to fund his trip to the Moon. Maybe he'll take up permanent residence up there, allowing the rest of us to live in peace.

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 11:09AM Ripper McGee said

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So much misplaced anger and jealousy. He's got vision and passion, whether you like it, or not.

~Ripper

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 11:33AM (Unverified) said

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You guys are laughing now but if you haven't noticed there ar enot near as many full scale traditional MMO in production at this point and if you really get down to it, after the new SW game, there isn't much on the long range radar.

So many MMO developers have already jumped on this bandwagon it's not even funny.
These social games are making hundreds of times the cash the average MMO is making and you could make one alone in your garage...
It doesn't take a rocket scientist or Richard Garrott to figure that one out.

The days of the "epic scale, monthly subscription fee, monolithic, virtual world mmorpg" are coming to an end.

Unfortunately.

I would say dig into whatever game you like that is out there, you are going to be playing it a long time.

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 12:09PM Cendres said

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Love this post, I find myself reluctantly agreeing with you. ;)
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Posted: Apr 6th 2010 11:49AM aurickle said

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It's so easy to hear "social game" and immediately think of Farmville or Mafia Wars. Also, given how many of us suffer through being spammed to death on Facebook by our contacts' various exploits in these games it's easy to develop a hatred for them. But that doesn't invalidate the concept.

When you consider the growing popularity and market penetration of iPhone, Droid and other mobile app-capable devices there is a massive market in the portable arena. Now we also have iPad and the various other slate devices that are on the near horizon with their larger screens. The potential here is staggering when you look at the Chrome and Android operating systems for these devices.

Who really wants to spend hours upon hours tied to their computer desk? Yes, those hours are fun with MMO's, but who wouldn't like to have ready access on the couch or on the go?

This is why capitalism shines. Someone can see a potential market and start working on ways to capitalize on that market. Initial attempts may or may not be successful (and in fact, history is filled with early ideas that become eclipsed by someone else who perfected the idea). But it is these ideas that always advance the industry. Some of them may be completely off the wall, but there are always lessons to be learned which other people will then be able to build from and eventually produce something great.

I'm glad to see that Garriott is willing to try pushing the envelope. It's easy to focus on his ego and eccentricities. And yes, he's had some spectacular failures. But at the same time, his successes have managed to create or at least fuel entire industries. That's something to respect.

Posted: Apr 6th 2010 12:55PM Dblade said

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Yeah, that's why so many people play online MMO games on their DS and PSP. I'm sure the lolipad is going to reach penetration levels like that, and people will love playing anything more complex than pacman on tiny mobile phones.

Garriot is just making money creating tools for the saps who think facebook and social games will be something big. So he needs to talk a lot of crap to get business and keep perpetuating the idea that they are the next big thing or his company will fold. Designers have "vision" so whatever they work on will change the world: very few are honest in public about intentions.

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Posted: Apr 6th 2010 1:52PM (Unverified) said

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You would have to be a fool to not recognize the Guttenberg like moment of Farmville on social media. 75 Million players? That is 75 million "saps" dblade. Compare that to EVEs 50K?

It's a number that is almost impossible to comprehend. Of the social networking companies, Zynga had 250 Million in 2009 - and this is before Farmville really got big. Compare that to WoW's estimated annual membership fees of about 240 Million or EVE's 9 Million. That makes Zynga the second larger profit making social networking company (1st being Facebook).

Does Farmville suck to the average Massive reader. Yes.

MMORPG gamers have shot themselves in the foot with their mob mentality against ingame stores. MMORPGs have shot themselves in the foot by coming out with one WoW clone after another.

I'm not ready to call out the death knell for subscription based PC MMORPGs, but because of the huge development cost, players desire to play free games and then revolt in mass nerdrage when a company tried to recapture development cost with ingame stores, it has crippled the model needed for a company to make a quality game.

Garriott was able to see the desire of PC gamers to play and compete together in a virtual world. The subscription model was unheard of then. Reviews of the game online was the typical nerdrage spewing about having to pay for a game, monthly! Yet UO succeeded and paved the way for other subscription based MMOPRGs.

UO was revolutionary and as disgusted as I am with Farmville, I can't deny the popularity and the fact that Garriot is on to something.

His frustration in the article stems from the insane production cost of a game...and he's right to a degree. I've seen great story and dialog in Bioware games but that's about it. It's a horrible interview but what I think he's trying to say that there is too much risk in investing in a story driven MMORPG - so he's developing the tools for others to take that risk.

What they haven't said about Portalarium is how open an easy a platform will it be for developers. If he really understands social media and produsage and what drives the medium - he will ensure that the product is available for most users to develop games, and not just development companies.
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Posted: Apr 6th 2010 2:27PM Dblade said

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We already had this with F2P. Maple story was and still is the Farmville of the F2P world, with over 100 million players worldwide. Gutenberg moment there, too. But F2P surprisingly hasn't gone anywhere. A lot of badly made, second rate games even among the successes, with no real impact because all they did was copy other games, F2P and not. The only big name currently is DDO, which started life as a P2P game.

They even have their own Garriott: did you know Nolan Bushnell is hawking F2P games too?

It's the same thing. People see the money to be made, rush in, and flood the market. People like Garriott get rich off of them, but most of the projects get ignored or fail, or are irrelevant. Just like we continue to await TOR or the Secret World, and not care about whatever new F2P 2-d sidescroller comes out, facebook games will be the same way. People will talk it up the blue, but as soon as Garriott gets enough funding he'll dump facebook to make a AAA mmo or sell the business.
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Posted: Apr 6th 2010 4:08PM CaseyTheBrash said

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He's more jumping on a bandwagon than pushing anything...
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Posted: Apr 6th 2010 4:50PM (Unverified) said

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"""
You would have to be a fool to not recognize the Guttenberg like moment of Farmville on social media. 75 Million players? That is 75 million "saps" dblade. Compare that to EVEs 50K?
"""

http://www.psychochild.org/?p=919

"""
It's also telling if you ignore the fluff and start looking at what really matters for businesses: money. A lot of people throw around the fact that Farmville has 60 millions players whereas World of Warcraft "only" has 11.5 million. But, only 3-5% of those 60 million (that is, 1.8 to 3.0 million) players are actually paying anything. Compare this to 100% of WoW's players. Looking at revenue, things are even more stark. According to Blizzard Activision's 10-Q filing, MMORPGs (that would primarily be WoW) earned the company $1.233 billion (with a B) in 2009. Compare this to Zynga who has a wide variety of games but according to one analyst looking at payment processing made $250 million (or $0.250 billion to use similar units) in 2009. Put in that perspective, one can see that people are getting carried away with the wrong big numbers.
"""
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Posted: Apr 6th 2010 8:22PM (Unverified) said

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@joiry - that was a pretty good write up but he seems like a lot of us in the gaming industry, very bitter.

It reminds me of Hollywood's attitude toward's television in the 50s.

So, with his number crunching - 3 million "Paying" players is still impressive for a game that is utter crap with little content. It still outperforms EVE. How much is Age of Conan bringing in? Then look at how much AoC cost to develop.

Was WoW jumping on a trend when it follow UO and Everquest into the MMORPG world? Or did it recognize the immense popularity of Evercrack and perfect it, making it a billion dollar game?

Psycochild talks a lot about independent video game makers, comparing it to indie film makers. Social networking games and iphone apps provides the tools to do that...so I'm still not sure where all the hate is coming from? He makes a lot of claims that the success of Farmville is all smoke and mirrors but anyone that has Facebook is painfully aware of the popularity of Zinga game.

As for Richard Garriott - he was not only the father of Ultima - leading to UO but he was the executive producer of Lineage I and II which at one point had over 4 million subscribers. It's not WoW but when compared to all the other games out there - that is a success.

In the end, times have changed, and now games need to change with it or suffer the fate of the forgotten. Richard Garriot learned that lesson the hard way in Tabula Rasa.



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Posted: Apr 7th 2010 12:03PM (Unverified) said

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@Joiry:
"According to Blizzard Activision's 10-Q filing, MMORPGs (that would primarily be WoW) earned the company $1.233 billion (with a B) in 2009."

When I saw that posting I did the math, at the time, out of interest:

1233000000
/12 (months)
102750000
/15 (monthly sub)
6850000 (6.85m users avg paying for an account per month)

..unless they somehow slip other titles in under the 'MMO' banner.
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Posted: Apr 7th 2010 12:45PM (Unverified) said

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"6850000 (6.85m users avg paying for an account per month)"

That is a hell of a lot of server transfers.

http://investor.activision.com/results.cfm

I'm looking at the 10-Q filing and I don't see the magic $1.233 billion #. In 2009 it was actually 4.28 Million...although in 2010 they are predicting 4.4 Billion net revenue.

It's activision so remember that they own Call of Duty and Guitar Hero and Starcraft which is still huge in Asia.
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