MMOs - where are they now and where are they heading?, Michael Smith, MindCandy
There are forms of gaming beyond WoW and Second Life. "You can't make computers cry. Playing against other people is more fun." Text-based MUDs evolved into 3D worlds. WoW has 7m players and has generated 1b revenue for its makers.
Infiltrating other areas of popular culture - e.g. South Park WoW episode.
Habbo Hotel - players get their own rooms, to furnish as they wish. This is a big revenue stream for the makers. Trend: virtual worlds are free to access, upgrades are charged for. Another example: CyWorld, where 90% of the teen-late 20s population is logged on, $300k/day revenues.
Webkinz: looks like it targets younger players: buy a cuddly toy and you get a unique code for a virtual version which you maintain online.
Test Drive Unlimited: MMOOR (Massively [Multiplayer?] Open Online Racing). Sports-based MMOs are going to be hot over the next few years, he reckons.
Huxley by Webzen: FPS, due out before the end of the year.
"Naughty America - The Game". I loved the fact that an MMORPG targeted at adults in the land of the free has to have such a twee name.
Mobile MMOs have promised a lot but not delivered yet. NokiaGame, for instance, showed potential but nothing has emerged. "We're on the cusp of seeing a huge mobile hit."
Virtual Laguna Beach - MMORPG themed around the TV show.
PerplexCity: spills into the real world, using it as a gameboard. Magazine, CDs, classifieds, actors at live events, black helicopters buzzing real-world players, etc. Spilling them over into the real world allows games more interaction with brands. Swords and Sorcery brands have a problem: it's difficult to put a coke banner into the game (I think some would argue this is exactly what players are trying to get away from... ;))