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OP 2/16/11 8:39:34 AM#1
So I just watched a presentation about open branding and I was thinking about how this could be applied to games. The concept is that a base company creates a brand and then allows other companies to use that brand, for free, provided that they stick some basic guidelines regarding the brand. It's kind of like a corporate GNU license.
The idea strikes me as actually pretty solid for gaming and MMOs in particular. Think about all of the free servers out there. Now imagine if they were all legit and the company owning the original game could pick and choose the best gameplay and lore modifications from among them. Imagine completely different spin-off products that are independantly developed and brand supported. It's the best of all worlds. You get the creativity of the indies, fan involvment, and the growth of your IP.
Yeah, there are some wrinkles here. The core organization behind an IP can pull the brand from anyone that violates the IP guidelines, so the indie projects don't have complete creative control. But the sheer diversity of products that could be created from an IP like Starcraft or Pokemon would be huge. The best would survive, thrive and grow the IP while the worst would simply fad away.