Monday, 6 April 2009

The future of the MMO industry

One of the astonishing successes of WoW and to some extent other games has been their ability to harness players to code add-ons to extensively test add-ons at no risk to the parent company and then to complacently accept when the developer decides to incorporate the add-on into their own UI. All of these stages could have been stumbling blocks. If you had outlined this scheme ten years ago people would have said amateurs won't want to write your program for you without being paid, won't do it well, players won't test code written by random non-professional members of the public, and even if they do you'll never get away with taking amateur copyright code and incorporating it into a product you charge for.

But of course it's worked and Blizzard's UI is not only superior to anyone else's but has been written, and will be written in future by amateurs, tested for months and years by thousands of players and co-opted into the game by Blizzard once they know it's a sure-fire bet.

This will broaden as it's such excellent business for the game company.

I expect to see in future raids dungeons and classes written and tested by players then "lifted" by Blizzard. Perhaps they'll even name an NPC after whichever unpaid genius makes them the most millions.

This, not RMT, is the future of the MMO industry.

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