Massively Overthinking: The future of a global MMORPG industry
Massively OP Patron Duane's done the math on what is becoming, more and more, a truly global MMORPG industry. His question for Overthinking this week is a simple one:
"Devs in over 27 countries have released MMOs as of 2017. What country which is NOT your own would most excite you with a future MMO release?"
Now this is an unusual one! I posed his query to the team, and when we're done, we'd love to hear from the rest of you.
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I hope I'm not cheating here, since my passport reads USA, but my blood and relationships are multinational.
My gut reaction was for a new Japanese MMO aimed at a global audience, but beyond that being fairly easy to get sometime even this year, I lived there for 4 years, so I'm biased. What I was really enjoying about Japanese multiplayer games was the dual emphasis on local and online gaming, with some offline practice options. Monster Hunter is a great example of this. Imagine harvesting supplies offline, using a home or portable console to form a chunk of your group, and then inviting online people as needed, or even competing against them. Smaller homes means fewer LAN parties. Portable consoles mean forming a "raid" in any space you can find. I'd like to see more of that stateside.
Then I thought something out of Egypt might be interesting since they've got a very different social/political situation that could make their games quite different from what we expect from first world countries, but I'm part Egyptian, so that could be my bias working again. Still, an MMO focused on even fantasy politics should probably have a different feeling from people who've felt relative peace drop into chaos.
If I really push myself, though, I'm going to say I'd like to see something from Papua New Guinea. It's one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of cultures and languages. I'm sure if they had the technical and creative skills (plus resources) to focus on a game world, we could get something that could be quite immersive and diverse.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I definitely think there's a temptation to assume that because a game is coming from a faraway place, it's necessarily going to be different or maybe just untainted by here. Hopefully the rise of the East Asian and Russian MMORPG has shattered that illusion: Foreign games are usually more similar to what we grow locally than they are different from, with only slightly more regressive or progressive themes and business models that reflect their own unique lifeline to the global culture.
That said, I have been a student of Indian history longer than I've been an MMORPG gamer, and I've been continually disappointed that India has yet to become a major player in the MMO market. Its contributions have been limited to mobile games in spite of a thriving tech footprint. I'd love to see what kind of MMORPG the diverse subcontinent could cook up.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): While we've gotten MMOs out of a number of countries, the vast majority come from a fairly narrow set of cultural values, so pretty much anything outside of that sounds like good times to me. I'd love to see what an Ethiopian MMO would look like, for example, or a Chilean game. Traditional Western fantasy is walking around bowlegged and sore at this point, so let's go further afield. In terms of countries that have more than enough infrastructure to support it, though, I hope that we get a good Indian MMO sometime in the next several years; that would be a trip.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Brazil contains an absolutely massive and passionate gaming community that's quite unique in many aspects. Some MMOs have made it a priority to localize for the country and region in order to crack into the market, which I think is a smart move. But I can't say that I recall MMOs being made by and for that country, first and foremost. It would be very interesting to see a project emerge from Brazil to give us a South American MMO. I'm all about cultural gaming exports.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I'm like the boringest answerer ever! I don't have much of a reason to want to see MMOs come from anywhere over another -- good games are good games. As for cultural flair, I'd find it hard to choose; so many interesting countries! However, if pressed to pick, I'd like to see more come out of Ireland and Scotland, if for no other reason they are my heritage and hold my heart. That, and the sheep have such attitude there! I think a SheepButts game could be wildly popular.