This is an open letter to the gaming industry.
Dear Gaming Industry,
Please stop calling every online game you make a MMO. I’m not sure if you know what that means so allow me to tell you. It stands for Massive Multiplayer Online with the keyword being “massive”, that’s very important. You see when someone sees a game being advertised as massive, that person gets the impression that thousands of players will be able to game and interact together in one world or place. Now listen carefully because this is the most important part, it has to be at the same time.
I know this must come as quite a shock to you, but it’s true. You’re probably saying to yourself, “wow, that’s a lot of people!” and you’re right, but this is why they’re called massive multiplayer online games, because they are indeed massive.
Now, I want to make sure you’re clear as to what that means, so below I’ve listed a few important rules that can be used as checkpoints so you can correctly determine if your game is a MMO or not.
- If your game has a limit to the number of players that can enter at one time and that number is less than a thousand. Your game is not a MMO.
MMOFPSs tend to be the primary abuser of this rule, but it also happens with other genres as well. You see if only 8, 16, 32 or even 100 players can join a game at one time, then it is not massive. Remember, around a thousand players is the magic number. This is more commonly called an online multiplayer game.
- If the whole game is instanced and the only place where players can see each other or interact with are within towns, then your game is not a MMO.
Since the only place where people can see each other, chat and interact with are in towns, then these towns act as a hub or chat room. The actually game is played in small groups or solo, which again means your game is not massive. Think of it this way, if you log onto BattleNet to play Diablo, you can chat with tens of thousands of players, but when you go into the actual game, only a dozen or so can enter due to the fact that every game is instanced. Your game is the same thing, except your using a “town” as the chat room.
I hope this letter has better explained to you what a MMO game is and hopefully in the future you will start to label your games correctly.
Mike @ MMOCrunch