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2D1651 - Datorspelsdesign - 21 nov 2005. Daniel Pargman Massiva multispelarespel massively multiplayer online games - MMOG. 051121 - 2D1651. Me SvenskMUD (moderately multiplayer online games) MMOG (massively multiplayer online games) Money & economy

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slide1

2D1651 - Datorspelsdesign - 21 nov 2005

Daniel Pargman

Massiva multispelarespel

massively multiplayer online games - MMOG

051121 2d1651
051121 - 2D1651
  • Me
  • SvenskMUD (moderately multiplayer online games)
  • MMOG (massively multiplayer online games)
  • Money & economy
  • Roundup
slide4

Daniel Pargman

University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics, Media/Computer game development

• Senior Lecturer 2005-

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), School of Computer Science and Communication, Media Technology

• Senior Lecturer 2002-

HCI consultant

  • CR&T

Department of Communication studies, Linköping university

  • Ph.D. thesis: ”Code begets community: On social and technical aspects of managing a virtual community (2000)”

Computer and systems sciences, Uppsala university

slide5

My interests

Computer sciences

Social sciences

Human-Computer Interaction

Design

Systems development

...

Sociology

Anthropology

Psychology

...

CMC

CSCW

Communities

Onlinespel

Society

Technology

slide6

Aarseth, “Playing research”

http://hypertext.rmit.edu.au/dac/papers/Aarseth.pdf

Three dimensions characterize every computer game:

  • Gameplay (players, playing, motives)
  • Game structure (game rules)
  • Game world (content, design, artwork)

Leads to three research perspectives:

  • Gameplay (psychology, ethnology, sociology...)
  • Game rules (computer game design - CS/AI...)
  • Game world (art, aesthetics, history, cultural studies, media studies)
slide8

Perspectives on SvenskMud

SvenskMud (SwedishMud) is:

  • A game (adventure mud)
  • A computer program (systems development project)
  • A hobby
slide9

SvenskMud as a game/computer program

  • Takes place in a Tolkien-inspired fantasy world and in a Sweden of the 19th century
  • Contains 6000 distinct spaces (“rooms”) full of monsters, treasures etc.
  • Access limited to 100 simultaneous users at peak hours
  • Is officially a project at Lysator - the academic computer club at Linköping University
  • Developed for 13 years by 100+ persons
  • Consists of ~ 3 million lines of “code”
  • Developed as an open source project
slide13

TDZK

  • Browser-based MMORPG
  • Persistent online world
  • 4000-5000 registered players
  • Space adventure game
    • Gather resources, trading goods, upgrading your ship, fighting your enemies
  • Semi-synchronous
  • “Symbolic” interface
  • Very complicated, knowledge intensive game
  • Played in 4-month rounds
slide19

From MUDs to MMOG

  • Graphical interface = more accessible
  • Three of four magnitudes larger = larger breadth of player base
    • Lineage, World of Warcraft
  • Commercial enterprises = big business (≠ hobby any more)

But - same social interaction and same social phenomena

massively multiplayer online games mmog
Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG)
  • Persistent worlds (PW)
  • Thousands of simultaneos players
    • Lineage 4.000.000 players in Asia (Korea, Taiwan)
    • Everquest 500.000 players in USA and Europe
  • Complex social interaction/sociala phenomena
  • Can be very captivating
  • Subscription model (10-15$ / month for unlimited online access)
slide21

Star Wars Galaxies

  • Sony Online Entertainment
  • Released in the US in June 2003 and in Europa in November
  • 125.000 subscribers the first week, 300.000 after the summer
  • > 3.000.000 posted messages on the official discussion forum on the web (spring 2004)!
  • Costs 15$ / month
  • Suffer from the same problems as other games (released too early = many bugs = bad press)
slide24

Master’s thesis on MMOG & money

  • Nine Master’s students at KTH, Stockholm
  • All looking at “money and economy in and around online games”
    • In Star Wars Galaxies, Eve Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Ultima Online, Ragnarök Online...
  • Master’s thesis = 20 weeks of full-time work
    • 10 weeks reading, preparation, analysis, writing
    • 10 weeks full-time study
  • Results will be published (on the web) during 2005
    • Five finished this far
slide25

Perspectives on MMOG & money

Money and economy in online games

  • The real-world/game industry economy
  • The in-game economy
  • The interface (E-bay) between in-game and real-world economies
slide26

MMOG economy (perspective 1)

(Mulligan & Patrovsky 2003)

  • Costs (USD) for running a popular MMOG for three months. (100-150.000 subscribers, 30.000 simultaneous players.)
  • Server clusters 80.000 * 10
  • Player relations 4.000 * 12
  • Community relations 4.000 * 3
  • Live development team 6.000 * 12
  • Management 8.000 * 4
  • Account mgm + billing 4.000 * 5
  • Office space, furniture, PCs etc. 250.000
  • Bandwidth 20% of previous costs
  • Network operations personnel 5.000 * 5
  • Overhead costs 80.000
  • Total > 2.000.000 USD
slide27

MMOG balance sheet (2002)

  • Development costs: 7 (average) and 10-12 (typical) million USD for AAA title
  • Launch costs - 3-5 million USD (and rising)

+ Can bring in millions of dollars for 5-10 years

- 40-60% of revenue spent on running the game

+ A major hit (200.000+ subscribers in 6 months) can pay for development/launch costs in < 1 year

slide28

Game market players

  • Hard-core market (10%)

Will do anything to play games. 15 million worldwide (2002)

  • Moderate market (20%)

Money (equipment, fees) & time concerns

  • Mass market (70%)

Play short, easy-to-learn games. 140-200 million worldwide (2002)

Xbox 360

slide29

In-game economy (perspective 2)

  • Economic systems emerge spontaneously
    • Resources are limited
    • Nothing is free

∑ People need to barter/trade with each other in the game (e.g.the emergence of markets)

  • Faucet - drain
    • Tax vs service
  • Virtual inflation, cartels, rares, crafting/trade vs battle
slide30

In-game vs real-world economy (perspective 3)

  • Norrath (in Everquest) is the 77th richest country in the world! (Castronova 2001)
    • GNP per capita = 2226 USD, hourly wage = 3,42 USD (319 PP).
    • Hourly wage < 3,42 USD in China, India (Mexico?)
    • Black Snow Interactive set up a sweatshop in Tijuana to capitalize on trade between Mexico, USA and Norrath.
  • How can this be? ...because of E-bay
  • Norrath has production, labor supply, income, inflation, foreign trade and currency exchange (1 platinium piece ≈ 1 cent)
slide31

In-game vs real-world economy II

  • To whom does the fruits of the labor belong when someone develops virtual resources (“works”?) within a game?
    • The company that produce the game/owns the server?
    • The player (who produces the economy)?
  • Mythic entertainment vs Black Snow Interactive
    • Infringement on intellectual property rights
    • Unfair business practices
  • The online game “There” hired an economist to work full-time on in-game fiscal policy
slide32

Dark Age of Camelot commerce on E-bay

    • Data from mid-Nov to mid-Dec 2004 (4 weeks)
    • Info through Hammertap’s Deep analysis
    • 2350 sales - US$ 210.000 changed hands
      • Virtual currency (67%)
      • Accounts (31%)
      • Virtual objects (2%)
    • DAoC costs US$ 15/month - 30 servers (* 3 “realms”)
    • Trade in virtual currencey - three actors account for 85% of all commerce
      • Large scale advantages accept all major credit cards, trust, customer service, E-bay “powersellers”
  • Homework: Volume of E-bay trade in relation to the total subscription fee?
slide33

Example of an E-bay ad

“Blade Of The Righteous - $210. Well it’s really the best weapon... Makes HUGE DAMAGE... So it’s a Super Slayer”

slide34

In-game vs real-world economy III

  • In-game market place
  • E-bay
  • Trader
  • Employer (small scale) Black Snow
  • Company <www.ige.com> ”IGE is the world's leading provider of value-added services to the players and publishers of multiplayer online games”
slide37

A short reading list about MMOGs and money

  • Thomson (2005), ”Game theories”

http://www.walrusmagazine.com/article.pl?sid=04/05/06/1929205&tid=1

  • Hunter & Lastowka (2003), ”Virtual property”

http://www.nyls.edu/pdfs/hunter_lastowka.pdf

  • Burke (2001), ”Rubicite breastplate priced to move, cheap”

http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/tburke1/Rubicite%20Breastplate.pdf

  • Castronova (2001), ”Virtual worlds: A first-hand account of market and society on the cybrarian frontier”

http://ssrn.com/abstract=294828

slide38

Next thesis subject -

Groups and guilds in online games

Gemeinschaft/Gesellschaft - Tönnies 1887

Small (The village), rural, slowness, tradition

Friends and enemies

Group (projects), belonging, commitment

Natural, unplanned organism

Relationships as mutual, significant, long-term, informal, personal

Big (The city), urban, speed, variation, fashion, fance

Strangers and competitors

Individual (projects), alienation, convenience

Constructed, artficial mechanism

Relationships as instrumental, convenient, transient, anonymous

slide41

Contact:

Daniel Pargman

pargman@kth.se

+46 8 790 82 80

KTH/Media Technology

100 44 Stockholm

www.nada.kth.se/~pargman/thesis