Friday, March 7, 2014

Why are MMOs Even Made?

I've asked this exact question to a bunch of bloggers and most of the answers I got were feelings of negativity towards the genre, IPs being "stolen"  for profit, or fanboism.

The main reason I was wondering, was because MMOs, in general, are too risky to expect a profit. The main problem with asking my fellow bloggers are, they form their theories around abstract ideas of why. Just like I do. I want to believe a game is made because companies love gaming and they love socializing, like me. But if you take a small look at the gaming community you'll realize, that idea is even stupider than the financial one.

One of the major arguments that always surfaces when a new game come out is, "how much am I going to pay for this game?"

The gamer thinks: "I want it all to be free! Shit why aren't they paying me to play their game?"

The investors think: "We want all the money! We except first born too."

The developer thinks: "I want my paycheck and I hope this game lasts forever. Please don't get fired!"

Without mentioning games or payment models, I wanted to get to the main reason MMOs are made. Not what the game is or the IP, but simply the genre and why.

We all know every game should and could be a single player game with or without multiplayer aspects. That's not the point. On the flip side every game could be an MMO. The problem with trying to fit a game into a genre is perspective. Not the developers' or your perspective, but everybody's perspective.

As a gamer you look at a game according to what you think is fun. The fun factors are different for everybody. You could be a person that loves shooters and hates realistic graphics. You could love only MMOs no matter what they look like or what sub-genre they're based off. The possibilities are endless. Another factor is money. This is a big factor and easier to nail down whether you'll play a game or not based on how much you're willing to pay. It's always a sore spot for everybody. There are different breaking points for everybody and again, I'm not going to psycho-analyze it because, frankly, I'm too stupid to do that.

What fail to understand is, these games are business only to some people. You think, I know that, but can you truly fathom that? These people slap down more money than you'll make in your lifetime in one check. You think your butt hurts when a game company has the NERVE to charge you this or that? Think of the guy that just put millions down so you could complain about $50. Remember how pissed of you were when you lost or broke something you just paid for? Now times that by a million.

I'm not trying to sway anybody into a gentler way of thinking about MMOs because compared to what they've invested in a game, our opinions are ignorant and narrow-minded. I think to help people understand, they might want to open a window in their box they're living in to get some fresh air from time to time.

I'll put it simple:

The bitching and complaining about why a game charges this or why a perfectly good single player game is now made a single player MMO just to rob me of my money, is fucking dumb. Pull your gamer head out of your ass and think about things bigger than you.

I look at the gaming community and think, wow these spoiled little shits complain about everything.

Then I pull my head out of my ass and realize it's not just the gaming community, it's the whole fucking human race. Yes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and we keep greasing that wheel. It's a helpless cycle that will doom us all. Go on, pick a random topic and a random forum and you'll see. Granny Quilt Making Club... Betcha some old bitch is on the forums right now complaining about the prices of thread.

None of this stops at gaming. People live their lives devoted to religion of peace and love. Monday-Saturday they're out butchering their neighbors because their neighbor refuse to believe what they believe. You sit their and whine about your $60 game on your $500 system because it's your RIGHT to have your opinion. Just like it's my right to call you fucking stupid for your opinion. This community or any community is going nowhere, but to hell.

I spent the other day to taking care of a puppy that was beaten by its previous owner. That person had nothing better to do than beat the living shit out of a dog they choose to own. That dog hated me because I was like that evil owner he had.

Naturally, a dog is a predator humans domesticated for their personal reasons. Over hundreds of years dogs became less of predators and more dependent on humans to live. They became loving companions. We genetically change their purpose for our own purpose. Dogs are beautiful animals that are extremely loyal. Then, some fuck beats a puppy. I have to slowly gain the trust and love from that animal because of that simple-minded prick that had the RIGHT to do what he wanted.

I have 3 amazing children. Over the years I've taught them the most important thing they will ever learn, love. I've cheered my kids on, I've shown them what a real parent is. My job as a parent is to love my kids. That love has made them the most respectful and loving kids. They would never go on the Internet and act like most of the fucktards that populate it. They' ve been taught to respect the opinion and decisions of others while being curious enough as to "why".

I'm not the dad of the century or anything, but my kids are the best. That dog didn't want me to leave his side when I had to go. He wanted me to touch him and love him even though he knew the next pat could hurt.

We're all entitled to our opinions good or bad. Like pats they can be soft or painful. Like children we can show our love with support or screaming about what they did wrong. Any community is like an animal or child, you have to love and respect it or it will bite your fucking hand off. So next time you want to express your opinion, think about who it will affect and how.

What does this all have to do about: Why are MMOs Even Made?

Well I asked that exact same question to a REAL expert. A guy that has made MMOs, not a blogger. A man I think is brilliant and has always been a straight shooter. I asked Derek Smart this question (just a note, you say anything negative about him to me, I'll consider it an attack on myself personally. He is the only developer that gives me the time of day to talk to me like a person not potential customer to his game.). He answered:

"A lot of folks originally found value in Software As A Service (SAAS) and during that time, they all figured that it would be so much more profitable to make a massive game that would be a source of recurring revenue. 

Never again did you have to spend five years and millions of dollars on a one-off game that you had to make lamb sacrifices in the hope that they make money; let alone turn a profit. No, instead, they were going to make one game, then charge gamers a monthly fee to play it. Kinda like cable. But with more fun. Because gamers.

Somewhere deep in the bowels of EA (last I checked, they started this shit over here - of course), some guy in a suit crunched an ass-ton of numbers. And thus SAAS came to gaming.

Of course back in the day, when the whole notion was still in its infancy, a bunch of companies (e.g. EA, Funcom, SOE) made a killing.

Then as it always happens in our industry, everyone wanted to jump into the fray because they saw it as a quick way to make money.

Most failed. And in some cases spectacularly.

While all that was going down, overseas where the cost of living is low, the advent of F2P took off. Once those Asian companies started bringing that over here - again - everyone hopped on.

The suits in finance were once again, back in business.

Then as it always happens in our industry, everyone wanted to jump into the fray because they saw it as a quick way to make money.

Most failed. And in some cases spectacularly.

See the pattern?

While all that was going down, a bunch of rubbish F2P games started to flood the market. And in true fashion, the glut came, gamers got hip to the fact that they were actually a part of a massive shaft-worthy snow job. That aside from the fact that, well, there's only so much money to be made and gamers, being the stingy bastards that they really are start picking sides.

Then they rebelled. To the extent that any MMO that has F2P associated with it, immediately got trashed (though in truth, most were trash).

Seemingly overnight, the MMO landscape went from the money-grabbing Gold rush that it was supposed to be to the pan-handling metric that F2P turned out to be.

The subscription model started to die once more games with a cheaper barrier of entry - aka F2P - started to hit the landscape.

To make things worse, MMO gaming had gone from I give you game, you give me money to a crap load of metric-laden bullshit with acronyms that most of the people who make up that shit, couldn't even remember, let alone explain. We're talking ARPU, ARPPU, ARPMU, ARPMU and all that. In fact, IIRC, they had ARPSU* in there as well - just to be sure that someone was actually paying attention. 

Don't take my word for it @nicholaslovell has made an entire career out of deciphering that F2P bullshit and he's the utmost authority on it last time I checked. If you want to make head or tails of the landscape, you should follow him, read his blogs etc. If nothing else, it will massage and light up the parts of your brain that process meaningless acronyms.

There is nothing wrong with SAAS in a gaming model. It all boils down to how it is implemented.

So why do F2P games still get made? Well because we can make them and because when presented with the lowest barrier of entry, even your dog will want in on the action. Good luck getting the pooch to pay up though. And that's the challenging part of F2P. "

What does that mean? To me it means the MMO genre is as fucked as its community. MMOs are an investor's dream for potential lifetime income. It's a risky endeavor,  but they thrive on the risk. It also means, they don't give a shit about your opinion. You're like a roach they just crushed beneath their $200 loafers. Feels good you bitched and complained countless times about this game or that game, doesn't it?  Feels good you cared enough to have an opinion that will never change shit.

For once stop fucking complaining about games you'll never play anyways. That type of toxic behavior will only ensure you'll never see the game you REALLY want to play. No matter if that game pays you to sit on your ass like all of us gamers dream about. Not to mention the developers will never have to worry about money or criticism again. The investors can ride the magic money carpets into the sunset.

MMOs are made... You decide for yourself.


  1. Not to be crude, but your article reads very aggressively. Saying you are going to take things as a direct personal attack, just for questioning the integrity and history of someone is ... bizare.

    The premise of your article is basically that bloggers can't articulate issues they have with a game. If we are only allowed to say good things about games, then games can never truly get better.

    If I'm paying for something, you can bet your ass I have the right to say whether or not I like it.

    If someones trying to sell me on a game, you can bet your ass I'm going to analyze the game to see if its for me.

    This notion that we can't criticize stuff runs contrary to our rights as humans to free speech. If you can't handle negative reviews or previews of games you want to play... don't read them.

    You made the comment that complaining doesn't change shit. You'd be wrong. I've seen and witnessed countless hundreds of thousands of posts by gamers that were directly taken into account and implemented in a game.

    Go look at EVE Online for relevant RECENT examples. Bloggers carry a lot of weight with that community and some of the more prominent ones are part of the Council of Stellar Management. If you need an example to refute your inane arguments that complaining doesn't lead to change you can take a good long gander at that program.

    I don't mean to criticize your post as much as I feel like I am, but your entire post rambles from one topic to the next and reads sort of like you are going to reach out and punch people for not agreeing with you. I can't imagine that type of complaint having much impact or carrying weight with any of your target audience. Me for example? I would happily disregard your "threat" and criticize @nicholaslovell if I knew who the fuck he was and if he wasn't relevant for your discussion. Fortunately I don't even know what his quote was intended to highlight in this article.

    Take the criticism for what its worth. Sometimes a kinder, more organized approach might yield bette results eliciting the type of change you are writing about.

    1. It is your problem that you take a general rant that is aimed at nobody in particular too personal. As if it would be about you. So you don't like the way he writes and argues, fine. I am much finer with that than with bloggers thinking so highly of themselves that they feel like telling others how to write their blogs and coming along with the "right of humans to free speech".