As closely as we watch the MMO scene here at Massively, all too often we neglect to look at the bigger picture. In the shadow of AAA titles developed in the US, there is an entire nation of MMO-players that all to often get ignored by the gaming press of the west. South Korea probably has the most enthusiastic population of online gamers in the world. The way they do MMOs is, most likely, going to dictate the future of the genre on a worldwide basis. Concepts like RMT, microtransactions, and the tenacious need to pay only when the mood takes the player are already being reflected in popular games here in the states. Gamasutra's Brandon Sheffield tackles this nation of gamers head-on, in an impassioned editorial meant to explain why we should all be paying closer attention to this fascinating country.
Sheffield notes that Korea is actually a country where non-MMO developers have to compete for staffing resources, so prevalent is the desire to work on Massive games in the country. This is a also a nation almost purely of PC players - many Koreans like to mix their work and play by earning some extra cash from RMT. As long as Koreans see gameplaying as something that can be a lucrative passtime, "for fun" console gaming will never take the place of more serious MMO titles. Check out the piece, to gain the perspective the veteran journalist displays here: "Aside from World of Warcraft, they've taken a genre we invented, and perfected it to the point where an online dance game like T3 Entertainment's Audition has tens of millions of subscribers worldwide."