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Is it time that the MMO development industry evolved?

TarkaTarka LancashirePosts: 1,662Member

No, I'm not talking about diverting away from High Elves and making more steam punk games.  I'm not even referring to not "dumbing things down".  I'm referring to how MMO companies conduct themselves when developing and releasing their products.........read on before you make any judgements on what my post is about:

I've been giving this some thought off and on for some time now.  Because of the nature of the industry, a lot is constantly in flux when developing, releasing and even maintaining an MMO in today's market.

There are now a varierty of big players in the MMO development industry (e.g. SOE, Funcom, Blizzard, Turbine, Codemasters, etc, etc) .  Some are publishers, some are developers, some are both. 

Maybe the time has come for them to agree on certain internationally recognised levels of quality (and I'm not just referring to graphics here) which MMO products should aspire to in order to be awarded an internationally recognised "standard" (e.g. like an ISO standard). 

I'm not talking about something which can be enforced by law, just a standard which MMO companies can brandish both on their products and on their literature when their product achieves a certain level of quality.  

To some degree one could argue that reviews and previews of games achieve that goal.  But such articles are based on the writer's own opinions and not on a preset list of quality checks.  Such a "standard" could assure that the product meets those quality requirements.  Maybe the standard could have varying levels?

Such as:

  • Does the product play acceptably well on a certain specifications of machine?  Maybe have varying specifications for varying levels of "standard"?
  • Quality in advertising - are the adverts accurate, do they imply too much and not actually deliver?).
  • Are the MMO companies partners acting in fair interest of both the public and the MMO development company? Maybe partner companies (e.g. online advertising companies) get their own "standard" and levels of quality to aspire to?

These are just a couple of aspects which could be used to consider if a company's MMO product achieves a certain level of quality.  Whats everyones thoughts on this?

Comments

  • est0niaest0nia Houstin, TXPosts: 62Member

    Originally posted by Tarka


    No, I'm not talking about diverting away from High Elves and making more steam punk games.  I'm not even referring to not "dumbing things down".  I'm referring to how MMO companies conduct themselves when developing and releasing their products.........read on before you make any judgements on what my post is about:
    I've been giving this some thought off and on for some time now.  Because of the nature of the industry, a lot is constantly in flux when developing, releasing and even maintaining an MMO in today's market.
    There are now a varierty of big players in the MMO development industry (e.g. SOE, Funcom, Blizzard, Turbine, Codemasters, etc, etc) .  Some are publishers, some are developers, some are both. 
    Maybe the time has come for them to agree on certain internationally recognised levels of quality (and I'm not just referring to graphics here) which MMO products should aspire to in order to be awarded an internationally recognised "standard" (e.g. like an ISO standard). 
    I'm not talking about something which can be enforced by law, just a standard which MMO companies can brandish both on their products and on their literature when their product achieves a certain level of quality.  
    To some degree one could argue that reviews and previews of games achieve that goal.  But such articles are based on the writer's own opinions and not on a preset list of quality checks.  Such a "standard" could assure that the product meets those quality requirements.  Maybe the standard could have varying levels?
    Such as:

    Does the product play acceptably well on a certain specifications of machine?  Maybe have varying specifications for varying levels of "standard"?
    Quality in advertising - are the adverts accurate, do they imply too much and not actually deliver?).
    Are the MMO companies partners acting in fair interest of both the public and the MMO development company? Maybe partner companies (e.g. online advertising companies) get their own "standard" and levels of quality to aspire to?

    These are just a couple of aspects which could be used to consider if a company's MMO product achieves a certain level of quality.  Whats everyones thoughts on this?

    Why would these even matter?  Are you proposing some kind of MMO quality assurance law?  That would never happen.

  • ObiyerObiyer Louisville, KYPosts: 511Member

    That is a good idea, in the same spirit as the Nintendo Seal of Approval in the old era, or the Greatest Hits in the console world. It guarantees that the product meets some level of quality. The problem lies on who the judging body would be, we already have magazines, gaming websites and other for-profit organizations giving out "editor's choice" and similar awards. Or it could be purely based on sales, and that seems a bit polarizing. It could hamper creativity akin to titles such as Wurm and Eve Online. The last thing the MMO industry needs is less originality. I understand your point Takra, and hope it could happen but we need a purely objective body with incredible taste.

    You could say MMORPG.com is a body like that since the game of the year votes are done by the community. We do have Player Ratings, and some of the staff does reviews on some titles but how accurate and universal they are is left in the air as much as any other review done by a gaming site. The ratings always seem to hover over a certain percentile with most popular games. And lets not forget the time when certain games got suspiciously high player ratings when they obviously weren't mainstream.

    I totally agree we need an over-arching body in the gaming industry to hand out reviews similar to ratings given by the ESRB. Of course nothing federally mandated, as laughable as that would be, but at least carries enough clout like Famitsu does in Japan. Even then some of their ratings I personally disagree with. Entertainment is too varied, what could be wonderful for one person is horrible to another. I'll look forward to it if it does happen, and if doesn't happen maybe it's a good opportunity to get something started.

    Until then the advice I received pertaining to reviewers was spot on: "It's a good thing when you find a reviewer who you are in tune with.". But unfortunately for a lot of people Greg Kasavin left Gamespot a long time ago.

  • TarkaTarka LancashirePosts: 1,662Member

    Originally posted by Obiyer


    That is a good idea, in the same spirit as the Nintendo Seal of Approval in the old era, or the Greatest Hits in the console world. It guarantees that the product meets some level of quality. The problem lies on who the judging body would be, we already have magazines, gaming websites and other for-profit organizations giving out "editor's choice" and similar awards. Or it could be purely based on sales, and that seems a bit polarizing. It could hamper creativity akin to titles such as Wurm and Eve Online. The last thing the MMO industry needs is less originality. I understand your point Takra, and hope it could happen but we need a purely objective body with incredible taste.
    You could say MMORPG.com is a body like that since the game of the year votes are done by the community. We do have Player Ratings, and some of the staff does reviews on some titles but how accurate and universal they are is left in the air as much as any other review done by a gaming site. The ratings always seem to hover over a certain percentile with most popular games. And lets not forget the time when certain games got suspiciously high player ratings when they obviously weren't mainstream.
    I totally agree we need an over-arching body in the gaming industry to hand out reviews similar to ratings given by the ESRB. Of course nothing federally mandated, as laughable as that would be, but at least carries enough clout like Famitsu does in Japan. Even then some of their ratings I personally disagree with. Entertainment is too varied, what could be wonderful for one person is horrible to another. I'll look forward to it if it does happen, and if doesn't happen maybe it's a good opportunity to get something started.
    Until then the advice I received pertaining to reviewers was spot on: "It's a good thing when you find a reviewer who you are in tune with.". But unfortunately for a lot of people Greg Kasavin left Gamespot a long time ago.
    I completely agree that it would have to be a body who isn't biased to any one company or game.  An independent body who compares the submitted MMO to the list of quality checks.  Such checks would have to be ones which doesn't stifle creativity or imagination but at the same time rates the MMO based on widely accepted standards both in terms of the general design of the MMO, through to packaging, adveritising on the net, and even post launch of the product.

    Such things don't have to be enforced by a launch.  The standards would offer the MMO public an insight into how well each MMO meets the standards.  Now if the big names were actually behind it and maybe even involved on the standards committee, this shows that those companies are committed to such levels of quality.

  • VrikaVrika FinlandPosts: 3,044Member Uncommon
    There is already a huge number of gaming magazines and sites doing quite professional reviews on MMOs (my opinion is that mmorpg.com isn't one of them). If you want your games rated, wait for those reviews and read the ratings.



    Any other standard would imho just cause argument. Because there isn't any objective definition of where goes the line between a good game, and the not good game, and there can never be.
  • ImpacatusImpacatus San Diego, CAPosts: 436Member

    If I understand what this proposal is, I think it might be a good idea.  Game reviewers generally only provide feedback on games themselves.  It might be nice if there was some organization that provided reviews of the company's conduct, such as how well they've kept their promises, how in touch they touch they are with their community, things like that.

    If you're building an mmorpg, or if you'd like to share ideas or talk about this industry, visit Multiplayer Worlds.

  • Death1942Death1942 CanberraPosts: 2,587Member Uncommon

    maybe an international organization like the red heart foundation?  anyway this is entertainment we are talking about,  you cant have anything like that as it is almost pointless.  as for quality control...money speak louder than words in this industry (and practically every other industry) and you wont get the money unless you can deliver a profitable product to the investors.  as for profitable products...thats up to the players to decide.

    MMO wish list:

    -Changeable worlds
    -Solid non level based game
    -Sharks with lasers attached to their heads

  • wjrasmussenwjrasmussen west toluca lake, CAPosts: 1,493Member

    The industry is in a constant state of evolution.  Just becuase things aren't going your way doesn't make it less so.

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