Raph Koster’s plan is to build the metaverse tech, build a sandbox MMORPG on it, then open it all up


If Raph Koster’s metaverse talk has you more confused than before, then don’t worry; his new more technical blog is going to scramble your brains even more. Essential, he argues that Playable Worlds’ metaverse tech will help solve some of the difficulty and cost of building MMOs in the modern world, making sharding, custom rulesets, dynamic content, and patching much easier.

“Slow iteration means fewer chances to refine gameplay,” he says. “It also means higher costs, which leads to greater conservatism in game design; higher costs make devs less inclined to take risks. When we look across the history of games, we see periods of enormous innovation come along whenever costs fall. Flash games, mobile games, the availability of Unity and Unreal: all of them led to new experiences, because cost barriers fell. Well, MMOs have not had that happen. If anything, barriers just keep going up.”

Koster reiterates that Playable Worlds’ plan is to build the tech, build his sandbox MMORPG using it, and then flesh out the platform for other uses, like modding or “networks of multiple games, not all made by us.”

“We are making a game with this tech for you, rather than asking you to make games for us,” he finishes. “But there’s no point in paying much attention to that until you make a great game. All of this only matters if players are happy. So that’s what we’re working on first. A great player experience is the point.”

Finally, we’d like to thank Koster and his team for kindly granting us a 5-pixel tall image to use; we’ve restored it to 290-pixel glory and will be using it until we get some real screenshots. First official pic, right here!

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