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General: The Third Age

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

MMORPG.com columnist Justin Webb returns to discussing the ages of MMOs by talking about the Third Age that is beginning to take shape around us now.

In a previous article, Why You Like What You Like, I introduced the concept of the three RPG Ages, and talked a bit about the First and Second Ages. I adapted Marshall McLuhan’s “hot” and “cool” terminology to help illustrate why we gravitate to games of a specific “temperature”. This time around, I’m going to talk more about the Third Age, and what it predicts for the game industry in the (very) near future. I’ll use the movie Transformers as an example of why “hot” and “cool” is particularly difficult to use in this age, and also Tetris as an example of why we always take a step backwards when developing something new. As further examples, Dinosaurs will become extinct; and mammals will rule the world. This metaphor will be used clumsily throughout.

Read The Third Age.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • AristidesAristides Member Posts: 172

    Thank you for this thought-provoking essay, Justin.

     

    For years, some designer friends and I have kicked around thoughts just on the verge of what you describe as "mammalian MMO" features, appropriate to the tech available at the time, such as SMS alerts about in-game events or activity.  Now we see products with Facebook widgets, mostly as marketing gimmicks.

     

    I have zero doubt that the revolution you are describing is under way; the question to me is what mechanisms will be both effective in terms of tying sophisticated gameplay into the more casual social systems, and what will be cost-effective, that is, profitable.

     

    It's going to be an interesting ride.

  • docminusdocminus Member Posts: 717

    who knows, it may be as William Gibson already described soon 30 years ago. At the time matrix was just a SciFi thingy, not many years later we had internet. With the advancing technology as described, everything is possible.

    A year ago I never thought I would be interested in wireless internet. That changed with my iPhone, and while wanting to play MMOs on the iPhone, that not being possible, aside from the latest developements, I use now a netbook to play online at times, e.g. while at *cough* work. This goes back to what Aristides writes as well, effectivness and costs will determine things.

    imageimage

  • MMO.MaverickMMO.Maverick Member CommonPosts: 7,619

    Interesting, a great read! keep 'em coming, too bad you can't put a "like" vote in here for articles :D

     

    It'll be an intriguing game to guess what this next evolutionary batch will be: will it be ARG-style (Alternate Reality Game) where, via the usage of web apps and mobiles and other media, reality and fantasy will mix  and interact to form its own biosphere that will be the MMOish world? Or will it be something more like EVE Online and DUST 514, where via several platforms like mobiles, facebook and consoles the games on those platforms all in different ways contribute to the same MMO world?

    One can only guess.

     

    Thanks for this brainteasing article image

    The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

    The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
    Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  • garrettgarrett MMORPG.COM Staff UncommonPosts: 284

    Great read Justin....another thinker!

    I agree with the "Ice Age" theory....and the adapt or die mentality.

    And that damn squirrel makes me laugh everytime.

     

     :p 
  • Xondar123Xondar123 Member CommonPosts: 2,543

    Marshall McLuhan and the CGI movie Ice Age... I never would have seen that coming...

  • NightCloakNightCloak Member UncommonPosts: 452

    I cant wait for the first MMO dinosaur to offer some hot chocolate in the ice age to lure us away from the warm fuzzy mammalian MMO.

  • DarkDavisDarkDavis Member UncommonPosts: 19

    I didn't understand the statement of KoTOR being a "Second-Age MMO"... I thought this was a single-player game? And he can't be referencing Star Wars: TOR since it's not released yet. I'm assuming, then, that this was a typo?

  • mmosnarkmmosnark ColumnistMember Posts: 24

    Originally posted by DarkDavis



    I didn't understand the statement of KoTOR being a "Second-Age MMO"... I thought this was a single-player game? And he can't be referencing Star Wars: TOR since it's not released yet. I'm assuming, then, that this was a typo?


     

    Yep, I meant Bioware's upcoming SW:TOR. Thanks for spotting the typo.

  • dealakadealaka Member UncommonPosts: 21

    Interesting post. I got a few laughs out of it too. How would you classify F2P games then? Dinos or Mammals? What about browser based games?

  • DracondisDracondis Member UncommonPosts: 177

    Originally posted by dealaka



    Interesting post. I got a few laughs out of it too. How would you classify F2P games then? Dinos or Mammals? What about browser based games?

    Neither.  F2P games are generally evolutionary dead ends because the goal of F2P games isn't to create a game so much as to create a money sink in your wallet and get you to part with obscene amounts of cash while convincing you that the game doesn't cost you a penny.  Its the con, the shell game, the 3-card monte of gaming.  Everyone wins, but the house is really the only winner.  You're a mark, a shill, an easy target when you play.  Like playing Tic-Tac-Toe, the only winning move is not to play.

     

    As for mammal games, I'd like to see them no longer defined by platform, but not defined by interface, either.  I'd like to see them make a truely cross-platform game that plays on consoles and PCs, has methods of non-game access for wi-fi devices (like PSP, DS, iWhatever, and even cellphones) similar to Blizzard's Armory app for cellphones (maybe access to guild chat, VC, and/or auctio house updates (but not selling and buying)), and progresses based on player actions, not set pre-concieved storylines.  You would need to plan out such a game in a myriad of directions before you started, and provide an Server robust enough to handle such changes per server, but the client could be a simple enough construct to require few actual system resources, allow the server to do all the hard math while it just displays the outcomes.  Take a page from old dumb terms, and make the thinnest client you can for it while maintaining the highest quality standards for the experience.

    That would define the next gen game, the next age of gaming.

  • NytakitoNytakito Member Posts: 381

    Great post, and like the last one, it got me thinking. 

    Although, unless my memory failes me.... It was an asteroid that took out the dinosaurs...

    Maybe that's why everybody is always on the lookout for a WoW Killer???

    "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." - Henry Ford

  • erictlewiserictlewis Member UncommonPosts: 3,021

    I got a good laugh out of it, but serously maybe for the kids but us old gamers nahhhhh dont think so.

  • danJ188danJ188 Member Posts: 56

    It was a good read but I disagree with the fact SW:TOR will be a second age game. The symbolisim was there, but, I just dont really care much for how you try to simplify everything into a neat little package of "This game goes there, that game goes there" based upon the technology present, and the game itself and how it runs through the interface. Some games just dont die, simple as that(Mario for example.)

     

    I dunno, it was a good read, but it doesnt sit right. MMO's will never evolve to have too much media exposure, and alot of mmo players dont want them too. It cheapens the game and ruins the expirence.

  • KothosesKothoses Member UncommonPosts: 893

    Did you write this just to hear your self talk? Gaming is a natural evolution not an age based revolution, new technology and media appear and disaapear all the time and the only thing that makes them catch on is brand and marketing, which the "dinos" have in spades.

     

    Its like the old adage, Innovation leads to exploitation, both of product and consumer, there will be no grand shedding moment, simply the continued gradual evolution of gaming.

    Promoting thought a new Gaming video blog http://www.youtube.com/user/quinnthalas discussing games, gamers and the internet with gameplay footage as background.

  • severiusseverius Member UncommonPosts: 1,515

    Some problems with the article: 

    Sure there are different ways of watching movies, however there are some movies that their theater experiences cannot be replicated outside of the theater.  If so theaters would be closing down and movies wouldn't be breaking weekend attendance records.

    These user interface hardwares, that are being wrongly attributed to a Third Age, have been around since the very beginning of gaming and continue through their fads today.  There have been racing wheels forever, fully featured flight sticks, and lets not forget that one Mech game that had a huge freaking console controller.  Nintendo's powerglove, the light guns, etc etc etc.  These "new" input devices have died off more times than any other fad in gaming so to proclaim them the "mammals" while traditional input methods are labeled "dinosaurs" is a whole lot of nothing and shows a distinct, imo, lack of knowledge of that which has gone on before.

    As to the whole social networking nonsense, not everyone uses facebook.  Not everyone is a self-aggrandizing, narcissistic asshat that actually believes that their own little narrow view of the world means jack squat.  Sure these developers may try and rope you in with iphone apps, or ways of interacting with the game in some limited fashion from your watch (people do still wear those right?) but that will lead, quite simply, to more and more people running into problems with the real world.  Things like work and family.  If someone truly needs to keep track of the virtual toon that they rent from blizzard 24 hours a day 7 days a week they probably should pick up a less destructive habit like crack or heroin.

  • Death1942Death1942 Member UncommonPosts: 2,587

    Originally posted by erictlewis

    I got a good laugh out of it, but serously maybe for the kids but us old gamers nahhhhh dont think so.

    thats the thing though.  The current crop of gamers are getting older and older and the new generation of kids are being brought up in a world full of gaming.

     

    Once those kids grow up who do you think the devs will target?  The older generation who are dying out (either literally or due to health issues, family constraints, life issues) or the younger generation who will be larger (as they grew up in a world full of games and it has become acceptable for them to play).

    MMO wish list:

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

  • xaldraxiusxaldraxius Member Posts: 1,249

    Hive mentality. People are, at their hearts, 'drones' and the advancement of all of this 'interactivity' tech is simply leading up to the time when a 'Queen Bee' will arise to lead a nation of zombies down the proverbial 'Primrose path'.

    Opening ourselves up to the influence of absolute strangers and in turn giving them some sort of influence over our behavior; grouping games, Facebook friend activities, and 'who knows what' coming down the path, puts everyone at risk of being subverted by a superior intellect.

    Individuality is already becoming a hinderace as 'he with the most friends wins', so several people falling prey to a single, pervasive, idea and having it spread like wildfire isn't a great leap of speculation.

    The revolution won't just be televised, it'll be Transmedialized.

  • PinchfistPinchfist Member Posts: 40

    "Also, whenever there is “technological” convergence, the product is usually worse at its original function. For example, the iPhone isn’t a very useable phone compared to a standard phone; and the original Xbox wasn’t a very useable DVD player"


     


    Not necessarily a bad idea but... my iPhones is way more useful than a standard phone.


    Oh, and the obligatory [citation needed]. 


     


    Thanks for the read.

  • PinchfistPinchfist Member Posts: 40

    Er, iPhone.  I only have one, whoops.

  • ChuckanarChuckanar Member UncommonPosts: 210

    Originally posted by severius

    Some problems with the article: 

    Sure there are different ways of watching movies, however there are some movies that their theater experiences cannot be replicated outside of the theater.  If so theaters would be closing down and movies wouldn't be breaking weekend attendance records.

    These user interface hardwares, that are being wrongly attributed to a Third Age, have been around since the very beginning of gaming and continue through their fads today.  There have been racing wheels forever, fully featured flight sticks, and lets not forget that one Mech game that had a huge freaking console controller.  Nintendo's powerglove, the light guns, etc etc etc.  These "new" input devices have died off more times than any other fad in gaming so to proclaim them the "mammals" while traditional input methods are labeled "dinosaurs" is a whole lot of nothing and shows a distinct, imo, lack of knowledge of that which has gone on before.

    As to the whole social networking nonsense, not everyone uses facebook.  Not everyone is a self-aggrandizing, narcissistic asshat that actually believes that their own little narrow view of the world means jack squat.  Sure these developers may try and rope you in with iphone apps, or ways of interacting with the game in some limited fashion from your watch (people do still wear those right?) but that will lead, quite simply, to more and more people running into problems with the real world.  Things like work and family.  If someone truly needs to keep track of the virtual toon that they rent from blizzard 24 hours a day 7 days a week they probably should pick up a less destructive habit like crack or heroin.

    I  see this fellow as hitting the bullseye. Also to think social networking as the next tier to me is silly. Think of the implications. there are pervs and outright criminals now using facebook to see when you are home so they can rob it. To see a company splicing together with whatever social media sounds great til someone gets hurt and sues the both or all of them. Why would a game company add to its possible lawsuits by doing this.Just my opinion.

  • JaedorJaedor Member UncommonPosts: 1,173

    Great article, Justin. I'm a fan of using history to extrapolate and predict so this (short) series is right up my alley. I hope you'll write some more on this topic.

  • BlazzBlazz Member Posts: 321

    I'm looking forward to games becoming a larger thing, expanding throughout all of our little new social networking nooks and crannies.

    I just hope they do it in a reasonable fashion, as opposed to an automated twitter message "xXJacksonXx has just looted a [Bear's Carass], come help him reach level 60 today! #SomeMammalGame"

    I am playing EVE and it's alright... level V skills are a bit much.

    You all need to learn to spell.

  • zymurgeistzymurgeist Member RarePosts: 5,484

    Mass media are inherently hotter. The more people are engaged in an activity the less control the individual has of the activity. Not everyone can drive the bus at once. This is where the truly massive MMO falls short of the merely multiplayer when it comes to social interaction. While people scream bloody murder about instancing it does allow a MMO to emulate in part the social functions of a smaller multiplayer game.  The trend to cooler will, I think, inevitably be to the less massive. People forget how small the first age MMOs were.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us." ~Pogo Possum. 

  • drbaltazardrbaltazar Member UncommonPosts: 7,856

    its a reflection of various bigger entity,c, wasnt designed for muttitread app,neither c+,c++,java etc etc etc

    none of core programming langage were or are for multitreaded app.so today what gamer live is the reflection of these wall.

    oh all using those will say oh we conceived extension we updated it etc.lol!its like trying to use the wow engine to make a new game .and its exactly  where we are right now.the programmer did a tremendous job .crysis1 crysis 2 etc

    but the fact is the wall today is the core programming langage! in lot of instance, its way too mutch work for the reward.

    so first before we can even want (humongeous multitreaded app)everybody will have to sit together and design a new

    core programming langage that will be designed from the start with today in mind .so far all i saw are patched techo that date back from the late 80s.patch ?come on lets get serious here patching c,c++,java wont cut it!

    lol!true like thats gona happen?the industry  dont have the choice(intel made sure of that) the method they had thot for the single core is obsolete.

    we feel it more ,because gamer are at the front of technology.once electronic gets a new core programming langage that is design with todays need in mind, then everybody will be able to move on .

    but if i think about it , lol we wont get the third age of gaming for decades to come, because we are stuck with core programming langage that are so old, almost everything we have today didnt exist when the langage were created .

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