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Playable Worlds Talks Building A Cloud-Native MMO In New Interview

Aiming For A Shardless Experience

Joseph Bradford Posted:
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In a new interview, Playable Worlds' Raph Koster and Eric Goldberg talk about the MMORPG their studio is building, specifically how they are working towards creating a "cloud-native" MMO for the future.

In an interview with VentureBeats' Dean Takahashi, the gaming developers talked about some of the approaches they are taking to building their upcoming MMO. While Raph Koster has been open with his Riffs By Raph blog series on the website, the interview peels back some of the layers of what exactly the team is aiming to build, even though we don't have hard specifics about the world, story and so on.

One major aspect is the desire to create a cloud-native game that can be run on a multitude of devices. Koster told VentureBeat that while they aren't specifically stating platforms for their upcoming game, the company "won't care which device you're using."

"We see these devices as just screens," Goldberg added in the interview. He continues, "The most crucial thing is the degree to which the game is running on servers in the cloud, as opposed to being about game clients."

Goldberg goes on to point out most games today are clound-bound, however games like Roblox work more like a browser, being able to be run on multiple devices across the gaming spectrum. Koster goes on to describe some of what cloud computing could bring to an MMO, such as a more dynamic world.

"Cloud compute lets us do more simulation than what we typically see in handcrafted environments[.] It's still sad to me that when we were dreaming of online worlds, we wanted the seasons to change and the worlds to be dynamic. But they're not."

As such, Playable Worlds is working on "proprietary tech" to make their cloud-native game. And while we don't know much about it just yet, the recent blog posts such as Koster's talks about a player economy, or solving the player retention issue facing every MMO, gives a glimpse into what type of MMO we could see. One of those changes could be a shardless MMO.

"It's so clear that is the future," Koster told Venturebeat. "The whole notion of shards works against the player community. It was a necessity when we built it in the 1990s."

The interview gives more details about what kind of game we could see from Playable Worlds, including the social and level of world interaction the player has, such as the sheer number of different ways the player is able to interact with the MMO. This is something that Koster has touched on as well in his blog series, but expands on in the interview. This means creating a game where players can do what they want to do in the game world, from killing monsters to making chairs. 

“We want to have ways to reward players for engaging in things that they’re fans of, whether that’s the intellectual property or the environment.”

You can check out the full interview on VentureBeat.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore