When everything is massively multiplayer
By Michael Mealling
I've played EVE Online off and on for the past 5 years. CCP is in the process of releasing a new add-on called Dust 514. For those that don't play these kinds of games EVE is a massively multiplayer game in a universe with hundreds of star systems, thousands of planets, and tens of thousands of players. While CCP does release new updates that change gameplay, player actions permanently affect the world. Dust 514 is a first person shooter where missions and campaigns are directed by players in EVE. The two games are connected to each other and exist in the same universe. As far as I know this is the first time two games have been connected to each other.
The new Simcity also comes out next month. Unlike previous versions, this new version is inherently multiplayer. Each city can buy from and sell into a global marketplace that all other cities have access to. You can also setup cities in regions with other players and cooperate/compete (no fighting, though). The gameplay demos are beautiful and the interaction with other players is subtle and interesting.
Game makers seem to finally understand that always on, universal network access means more to gameplay and story telling than most first person shooters simply running around the same maps over and over again. First person shooters seem to have been moving back to limiting the story telling to the rigid story line and a limited number of maps. If Dust 514 and Simcity succeed could they start to move back to letting players create their own maps? Could the next version of Halo let characters take and hold territory?
Many online businesses are trying to 'gamify' their products. Is there something for them to learn from these new massively multiplayer games?
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