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Q: Can you peek for a second into the Richard Garriott crystal ball and predict where MMOs are headed? We mentioned the fact that WoW appeals to the mass market and not just the hardcore gamer. Is that the direction future MMOs will take?
A: I believe that MMOGs are still in their infancy ... that WoW is still in the first generation of MMOG. I love the game and have nothing but compliments for it. But it is also extremely derivative of the other online games that have come before it. They all fall into a very similar mold in terms of the way your life unfolds inside these virtual worlds. What we haven't seen, for example, are real-time strategy MMOGs or first-person shooter-style MMOGs. The cycle time to build an MMOG is three to six years, so I think that changes will come slowly. But they are starting even now. We've talked to practically all the MMOG developers either for spy reasons or to discuss potential partnerships. And I believe that almost every MMOG now in development is trying to get out of the first-generation mold of repetitive level grinding that we discussed. The winner in the competition for the next-generation MMOG will be the developer who can create a game with the same real tension and excitement that solo-player games offer.
Spies! There are spies among us!