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Feature: 'Where Game Meets Web: Raph Koster Speaks Out'

In this latest exclusive Gamasutra interview, acclaimed entrepreneur and MMO game designer Raph Koster speaks out on why he feels the MMO business "is doomed because the web is steal
In this latest exclusive Gamasutra interview, acclaimed entrepreneur and MMO game designer Raph Koster speaks out on why he feels the MMO business "is doomed because the web is stealing their thunder." Koster is perhaps best recognized for his work as the lead designer on Origin Systems' Ultima Online, as well as his role as the creative director on Sony Online's Star Wars Galaxies. In this excerpt, Koster comments on why exactly he feels that the traditional MMO business is in danger of losing out to comparatively low tech, yet incredibly popular web-based MMO titles, such as Webkinz and Club Penguin: “...there’s something up with the ways we do our development practices. The web principles are release often and fail fast. We don't do that. We plan for two or three years, putting something together and then dumping it out there. With the web guys, it's just a whole different method of operating. Flickr patches every half hour. I think we have to look at the current game industry as being a subset of big media, and big media is running into some issues lately. It's not that they're going to go away, and it's not that they're going to have less power. Well, maybe they will have less power in some ways. But what's happening in the other industries, like film, TV, music, publishing, is we are seeing a radical redistribution of power--where the money is going and where the eyeballs are going.” He later adds: ”We shouldn't kid ourselves; we're in the exact same boat. The only reason that isn't happening even more with us is that our industry isn’t relying on proprietary record play. Can you imagine if there was a standardized platform games, if PC were it, what would happen to the games business? The answer is, we'd be screwed.” You can now read the complete interview, which includes more from Koster on the dangers threatening the MMO game space, as well as his thoughts on Sony's Home initiative, and why GDC is “way too damn big” (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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