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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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2D1651 - Datorspelsdesign - 21 nov 2005

Daniel Pargman

Massiva multispelarespel

massively multiplayer online games - MMOG


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051121 - 2D1651

  • Me

  • SvenskMUD (moderately multiplayer online games)

  • MMOG (massively multiplayer online games)

  • Money & economy

  • Roundup


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?


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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


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My interests

Computer sciences

Social sciences

Human-Computer Interaction

Design

Systems development

...

Sociology

Anthropology

Psychology

...

CMC

CSCW

Communities

Onlinespel

Society

Technology


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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)



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Perspectives on SvenskMud

SvenskMud (SwedishMud) is:

  • A game (adventure mud)

  • A computer program (systems development project)

  • A hobby


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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



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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






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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


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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)


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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)



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Money and economy


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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)


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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


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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?


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    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”


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    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”




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    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


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    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




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    Contact:

    Daniel Pargman

    pargman@kth.se

    +46 8 790 82 80

    KTH/Media Technology

    100 44 Stockholm

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


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