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Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Magic the Gathering: Online 3.0

There's an article up at GameSpy ostensibly on the upcoming MtG: Online 3.0. Not much about Magic at all - instead they have 2 editors who clearly don't know much about the game wittering on to each other. They seem much more interested in how the business model relates to MMOs but sadly they don't get that right either.
You know, in a roundabout way, I think you may have actually put your finger on the problem with today's MMOs -- they don't support the aftermarket because they can't. Their gameplay design and business models are inherently unable to support them. That's because they work off the subscription model in which players pay a certain fee for unlimited play time. The result of that is that the game designers have an inherent motivation to put as many time-sinks as possible into the game because for the company, time played equals money.
This is a common misconception about MMOs. Time played does not equal money for developers. Their ideal use case from a business point of view is one where players give them money to maintain characters but never actually log on - bandwidth and servers cost money. The time sinks are there to keep people hitting the bar in the Skinner box as per my previous musings.


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