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Community Spotlight: The Future of MMOGs

Posted by MikeB Thursday February 4 2010 at 4:55PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thought-provoking thread, “MMORPG’s of the Future. 2030,” by user ImmortalBird. In the thread, ImmortalBird wonders what MMOG’s will be like in the future, specifically, as far out as 2030:

“What kind of major changes do you think we will see?
I think gaming will become even more popular and thus more players for MMORPG's as the years go by and people get wealthier and wealthier and end up having more leisure time with nothing to do.

I think there will be new concepts for how an MMORPG is designed and how it's gameplay is handled, something quite drastically different than the basis of Everquest and games like World of Warcrafts gameplay. Also the action-element based MMORPG's of recent will take some unusual changes too I think.

Me personally, I'll keep a little bit of an eye out on how things are going, but I won't try out any games unless something just miraculousy captures me like how I felt about games when I was a young boy. Which are slim chances heh.”

ImmortalBird’s topic sparked some interesting responses, with generally something for everyone. The thread is replete with conspiracy theories involving the end of the world in 2012 (thus making MMOG’s in 2030 impossible, duh!), plain ol’ funny responses, and of course a few somewhat serious ones.

Let’s start with a conspiracy theory by Lansid. We won’t have any MMOG’s in 2030, we’ll all be dead come December 21st, 2012:

“Trick question.There will be no MMORPG's in 2030. Dec. 21st, 2012 we will all be dead.
However in the unlikely event that we all live... I highly doubt the term MMORPG will be used 20 years from now, either by political correctness of evolution of the genre.

10 years ago, the majority of MMO pioneer people were playing Everquest, Asheron's Call, Ultima Online, or Meridian 59... on their 56k modems, PII cores, 256 Megs of ram and 16 Meg vid cards.

10 years ago, the first Silent HIll on the Playstation came out, Nsync, Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin and Britney Spears ruled the airwaves... The Force was revealed as a parasitic infection in The Phantom Menace, the term "Bullet-Time" was coined from the Matrix, and there was a movie about a witch with three kids running around in the forest and a chicks runny nose that went on to be the most successful indie movie to date.

That's just TEN years ago... and you're projecting TWENTY?

What exists now will be a laughable shadow of what "once was" idealism followed by teens saying "Oh my god, why the hell did you SIT at your computer for hours, days, weeks, years... on end? Talk about archaic!"

Mark my words and archive them.”

In all seriousness, Lansid does still make a good point. If we do manage to survive 2012, we’ll be mocked by the youngins come 2030 for ever sitting in our computer chairs and playing these games the way we do, perhaps implying that virtual reality or a holodeck style MMOG would be possible by then.

How about another conspiracy theory? This time let’s go with the tried and true monolithic Microsoft concept. NinjaNerf explains how Microsoft will rule the MMOG world:

“Before 2030 Microsoft will buy up the majority of the social networks (facebook, twitter and such) and develop them into a giant social mmo network similiar to Second Life but only 100x bigger.
Indie mmorpg developers will be bought into the Microsoft Online Social Network. These will include a list of popular indie games (e.g runescape) and some defunct games by then (e.g. WAR and AoC), and of course Microsoft will also buy Club Penguins from Disney for an outregeous price to promote their kiddy products.

By 2030, we will have major breakthrough in space technologies or may even discover lifeforms from outerspace. So a lot of mmorpg will be sci-fi instead of fantasy.

Since microsoft will turn mmorpg into a social/marketing tool, in game visual advertisement system will be in desire so dying mmo such as Anarchy may still squeeze out a few bucks from microsoft.

We will also see gambling and porn mmorpg.

And of course, Bill Gates will be the president of the United States.”

There are some positives to NinjaNerf’s future. For example, since we’ll apparently discover lifeforms from outer space, most people will tire of fantasy MMOG’s, and we’ll mostly see sci-fi one’s instead. Here’s hoping!

Disownation is ahead of all of us. He knows what the future is, because, well, he’s developing it:

“In 2030, the term MMO will be a thing of the past.

It will be replaced by VRSRPG (Virtual Reality Simulation Role Playing Game). I know this, because I am developing it.”

Vaske1984 offers a brief description of MMOG’s in the future:

“1.Sit in the chair.
2.Plug-in device in your brain (matrix thing)
3.And your online :D”

I’m surprised we got more conspiracy theories and humorous responses than a huge discussion debating the possibility of The Matrix like virtual reality.

I obviously don’t know what the future holds, but having seen the movie the 13th Floor, I would hope that some day that is essentially what we end up with. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it is similar to The Matrix, but it fits this discussion better than the Matrix would, as the worlds are created entirely for the purposes of entertainment. Users can, like the Matrix jack into these worlds and assume an identity, with all the worlds living beings essentially being programs or AI.

I won’t spoil the movie for any of you out there looking to check it out, but there is a pretty mind bending twist in there, and I highly recommend it!

With that said, what do you think the far away future holds for MMOGs? Do you believe in a more practical future where the games evolve from where we are currently at? Or do you subscribe to the theory that things will be radically different, and virtual reality, a’la the Matrix, is a very real possibility?

Let us know in the comments below!