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A Game By Any Other Name

Posted Apr 09, 2010 by Jon Wood

A Game By Any Other Name's Jaime Skelton focuses her column this week on trying to define the MMO.

Jaime Skelton

The virtual gaming world has exploded in recent years with the advent of social gaming and social networking sites. By proxy, so has the gaming market. Somehow – whether in search of a new label for a growing genre of games popping up across the Internet, or by creative planning by producers who want to join a bandwagon – many games and virtual worlds are getting labeled as MMOs and vying for attention from the press and consumers among more classically defined MMOs. The definition of MMO is being stretched.

Take Mytheon, for instance, which is being reported on by several MMO news sites. Mytheon is an online adventure RPG in the style of Diablo and Torchlight. Mytheon will offer several multi-player PvP modes, including a Co-Op mode which pits two teams against each other as well as standard enemies. Mytheon never ventures to call itself an MMORPG. It lacks a persistent world, and it lacks any sort of social hub or interaction beyond the multi-player modes. Unlike other lobby-based MMOs, multi-player isn't even required to advance in the game. In short, Mytheon is highly similar to Diablo with Battle.Net attached. So if Diablo isn't an MMO, why is Mytheon being treated like one? Better yet, what is an MMO?

Read A Game By Any Other Name.