A year ago, we all tackled an Overthinking topic on the golden age of MMORPGs — whether there ever was one, and when precisely it might have been. One thing we didn’t much discuss? Whether the golden age hasn’t actually happened yet.
That idea bubbled back up in my brain this past week, when Microsoft exec Phil Harrison told GI.biz that the golden age of games — “democratisation of platforms, democratisation of technology to make content” — is yet to come.
“When I started out, 80% of your development budget would be writing your 3D engine, and you’d have to throw that way every time you make a new game. It’d almost be like a filmmaker throwing away the Panavision camera and reinventing another one each time they went to make a film. We’ve got to the point where the reach is there, the tools are there, the distribution is there, the ability to stand up an online service is there. And we can now start thinking about what happens when you have very believable worlds, very believable graphics, very sophisticated AI, what happens when those things co-exist? That’s a very interesting future.”
Harrison is talking about the gaming industry on the whole, of course, but we can drill down — MMOs are all about believable worlds and AI. What do you think? When was the golden age of MMOs? Or is our golden age yet to come?