If Raph Koster’s metaverse talk has left you even more confused than before, don’t worry; his new more technical blog will confuse you even more. He contends that Playable Worlds‘ metaverse technology will help solve some of the problems and costs associated with developing MMOs in the current day, by making sharding, custom rulesets, dynamic content, and patching much easier.
“Slow iteration means fewer chances to refine gameplay,” he says. “It also means higher costs, which leads to greater conservatism in game design; higher costs make devs less inclined to take risks. When we look across the history of games, we see periods of enormous innovation come along whenever costs fall. Flash games, mobile games, the availability of Unity and Unreal: all of them led to new experiences, because cost barriers fell. Well, MMOs have not had that happen. If anything, barriers just keep going up.”
Koster reiterates that Playable Worlds’ aim is to develop the technology, utilize it to create his sandbox MMORPG, and then fill out the platform for other applications such as modding or “networks of many games, not all produced by us.”
“We are making a game with this tech for you, rather than asking you to make games for us,” he finishes. “But there’s no point in paying much attention to that until you make a great game. All of this only matters if players are happy. So that’s what we’re working on first. A great player experience is the point.”
Finally, we’d like to thank Koster and his team for allowing us to use a 5-pixel tall image; we’ve restored it to 290-pixel glory and will use it until we get some actual screenshots.