I have heard and read a lot of people talking about what makes an MMO an MMO and the technical definition is. "Any game that has the massively Multi-Player Online." But Then games like Halo3 would be considered MMO's as well as any online multi-player title.
Wiki defines MMO's as "A massively multiplayer online game (also called MMOG or simply MMO) is a video game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and feature at least one persistent world. They are, however, not necessarily games played on general purpose computers; most of the newer game consoles (Xbox 360, PSP, PS3, Wii, etc.) can access the internet, and thus can have MMO genre games."
So can we differentiate the MMO from the RPG? The community of MMORPG fans hold tight onto their definition. Which is a "persistent world" where players can have interactivity, trade and cooperation where characters are developed and improved upon. Yet more and more FPS and console titles are moving towards persistent character development meaning they work on developing and improving a character buying new gear and equipment for him. They often participate in co-op missions with other online partners. With the goal of leveling up their character to give them advantages in the game. While the world itself is not persistent the characters are. Yet the media and most MMO fans do not call this an MMO.
Has the term MMO been hijacked by the RPG? Could we not have MMOFPS or MMOPVP? Yet I only tend to hear MMO when it relates directly to RPG online titles. most console titles are defined as an "FPS with online play" or a "VS game with online capabilities." As someone who is a huge MMO RPG fan and also a huge console and PC game fan. I enjoy both equally and spend about equal time on both. (*begins to understand why my wife hates them both now that I think about it.*) But I have always pondered... why we can't have a MMO without the RPG element?
Perhaps we could say that no medium except RPG lends itself to the MMO name more since it can have the largest online community at any given instance. Since most console online titles or PC games with online "capabilities" do not require them to be online to play. But since most titles are made for online play and in most cases the "Campaign" portion of the game is considered secondary to it's online component. Could we not call these titles MMO?
I know some of you are saying "what's the difference." or "boy you wonder about stupid... crap." (I know some of you would use something more colorful but I will refrain.) But it just piqued my curiosity as to psychological reason we tend to only use the MMO moniker with the RPG. Would we gain anything by calling titles like halo 3 MMO's or the many other online FPS and other games out there? Most likely not. But wouldn't someone be justified in using MMOFPS to explain such titles without the wrath of the MMORPG community falling down upon them?
Now in saying that I am as guilty as the next guy as using the MMO term exclusively to reference all MMORPG titles. But should we not try to share it with others so that we can have a single term to use for any and all online games. Would it not be nice to say MMO and know it means any game with massive multi-player online community. Then let each tag on their genre of play style to the end? Would it not be the right thing to do as such generous and kind people that us MMORPG fans are?.....
On second thought... You know what... it's quite a pain to always have to type MMORPG when I want to reference my MMORPG games... let those "other" people get their own acronym. ;P