Business 2.0 has a story on the online gaming and the parallel worlds that they are spawning. It is mainly about Sony and its plans. One of Sony’s biggest hits has been Everquest. Writes Business 2.0:
The beauty of EverQuest, aside from its subscription model, is that players effectively pay to entertain each other. Sony just provides the playground: more than 1,000 computers in San Diego that have kept the game running since 1999. EverQuest also relies on 47 staffers to continually add items and quests to the game; another 128 “game masters” function as customer service reps and patrol the world answering questions.
The result is a game so addictive that the typical player spends 20 hours a week on EverQuest. That’s about 8.6 million man-hours a month devoted to the game. (It took 7 million man-hours spread over 14 months to build the Empire State Building.) One-third of players 18 and older spend more time in the game world than they do at their paying jobs, according to Edward Castronova, a California State University at Fullerton economics professor who studied usage. Scarier still, some 22 percent said they’d spend all their time there if they could.
What’s the attraction? Mostly socializing. Players keep coming back to find friends. Some have held funerals there for players who have died in real life.
Coming soon to a video console near you: Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided.