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Steve Wilson returns this week with his Casual Play column. Today, he tackles the successes of Grand Theft Auto, and looks at what the MMO industry could have learned from that hit game.
In the years that I've been playing MMOs, I've gone through many phases of love and hate. It seems that most of the early games really catered only to hardcore players. The demands on time and skill were so incredibly high that only players willing to devote a second life had any possibility of advancing enough to see any more than a fraction of the world. And one play style, killing things, was the only way to explore those worlds. MMOs catered to and consisted of hardcore players who were good at one play style. In that same time however, there were single player games that were able to create a perfect mix of hardcore and casual elements expanding the single player market immensely by drawing players into genres they weren't particularly attached to. Grand Theft Auto 3 was one of those single player games that drew in an audience beyond what was considered normal for the driving genre. If an MMO had copied some of those design elements the once mythical million subscriber barrier would have been broken much sooner.
Read the whole column here.