Monday, December 19, 2005

Death of an online world

Jochen Fromm, who runs the CAS group, and keeps up with EVERYTHING, pointed to this article in Wired that discusses the end of an online game. (I wrote about online games recently.) Here's the end of the article.
Online worlds are, of course, more than just playlands for slaughtering ogres and collecting magic chain mail. They're social hangouts where players sit around shooting the breeze about their lives, their jobs, their favorite music. "That gives one an odd sense of home. And no one likes to see their homes be demolished," said Chris Thorn, a 26-year-old player in Arlington, Virginia.

The economy has also tanked. When the announcement first came down, players say, a majority of gamers immediately fled. Previously, you'd log on and find several hundred people online; now you'll get nine or 10. High-powered character accounts used to sell for as much as $500, but the online auctions have gone silent. That's partly because, as the end nears, Turbine is tossing out some freebies and giving away more "rare" items, making them less rare. Without a sense of a future, capitalism ends. There's no demand in a condemned world.
The article says that the game was cancelled because it was not economically self-sustaining. I'm surprised that several hundred players at most times of the day aren't enough!

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