Game designer Jon Van Caneghem and former Electronic Arts executive Dr. Lars Buttler have faith in the power of broadband. They believe in it so resolutely that they’ve built a new game development and publishing company, Trion World Network, devotedly solely to delivering content with it.
I suppose if you’re talking about the »Tip of the Iceberg,« you’re allowed to be particularly vague with your details. Lars Buttler hailed broadband as the next content platform and failed to elaborate. He did point out that while current forms of entertainment are facing stagnant growth, online games are growing at a rate of 60 percent to 90 percent. And he says they’ll soon surpass traditional software sales. With most devices (PCs, consoles, mobile phones) now connected to broadband, online has becomes the largest development platform. It’s projected to reach $13 billion in revenues by 2011.
To harness this mass audience, Buttler proposes blending the trifecta of online games, Web 2.0 and Internet-based media. With broadband, a developer immediately knows what people like and dislike about a game (because all the game data is hosted on your servers), explained creative director Jon Van Canegham, famous for Might & Magic. With this knowledge, developers can change and update the game in real-time — allowing them to build titles organically over time. The plan is to release smaller titles for the community to test and improve upon before spending more resources.
Unfortunately, Trion World did not expand upon this basic concept or mention any internal projects. Judging from the muttered comments around me, there’s currently more confusion than excitement about this …