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Examining the "Icelandic Model" of MMO Development

Posted by Michael Bitton on May 20, 2010  | Comments

Examining the "Icelandic Model" of MMO Development - MMORPG.com

EVE Online expert Alexander "The Mittani" Gianturco wrote an interesting article on the "Icelandic Model" of MMO development that CCP Games pursues over at Gamasutra, asserting that EVE Online's systems-based sandbox design is the key to success for many of the smaller MMO outfits out there who have been trying to compete on the "Big Content" model that games like World of Warcraft pursue.

The article serves as a continuation of the talk he gave at this year's GDC on EVE Online's metagame where Alexander met many game developers who "were disheartened by the dominance of the blockbuster business model -- its incredible cost, its astonishing risk and rate of failure, and the linear content-based gameplay it has engendered."

Alexander breaks down the "Icelandic Model" into four pillars, a sandbox-based endgame, a unique, engaging environment, reinvestment and organic growth, and features over linear content. The basic idea here isn't for developers looking to skyrocket to success, but for developers on a smaller budget who are comfortable with a slow burn and the cultivation of their game. EVE Online started out with a small base sandbox game, very light on frills and content, and continued to expand horizontally over time with additional features as CCP reinvested the profits coming in from the niche subscriber base they had back into developing the game, which in turn helped the game grow in subscriber base significantly up to where it is at today.

Read the full article over at Gamasutra for the full examination of the "Big Content" model's issues as well as the benefits of the "Icelandic Model".

[Thanks Inktomi for the tip!]

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Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB
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