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The MMO industry has lately focused on niche titles, niche communities, niche gameplay. It's not one particular niche, mind you. It's lots of different niches, all being catered to in different titles: PvPers, sadistic gankers, raiders, dungeoners, roleplayers, crafters, explorers, achievers, soloe...

November 14th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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Last month, the long-running, scholarly virtual world blog Terra Nova updated with a post suggesting that the blog, like the worlds it covered, might be coming to an end (the blog, at least, has been saved in the interim). Founder Dr Edward Castronova argued that virtual worlds and MMOs have seen a...

October 16th 2014 at 8:00pm 0 Comments
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ZeniMax Online and Bethesda's decision to release The Elder Scrolls Online as a subscription-based game unleashed a fresh wave of debate on the future of MMO payment models and the unique advantages and drawbacks offered by each. Virtual economist Isaac Knowles is the latest expert to offer his opi...

September 19th 2013 at 4:00pm 0 Comments
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A couple of interesting points came out of last week's review of The Raid, and I'm going to use them as a springboard for this week's column. There were two topics that dominated the discussion: one was Edward Castronova's analogy of raiding as sport and the downing of the Lich King as a World Cu...

August 18th 2011 at 2:00pm 0 Comments
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Over the weekend, Gary Gannon from Gamebreaker.TV hosted a unique event in the world of MMOs: a film premiere, complete with fancy suits and ties and even an afterparty (albeit in the form of a chat room). The film is The Raid, which followed the World of Warcraft guild Double Dragons as it worke...

August 11th 2011 at 5:00pm 0 Comments
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Virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games have truly evolved over the past several years. It wasn't so long ago that incorporating virtual economies into games was a new idea. Nor was it so long ago that we were overwhelmed at the depth that was possible in massively multiplayer online g...

December 11th 2008 at 6:00pm 0 Comments
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Is taxation of commerce in the virtual space inevitable? We've been hearing more and more about this coming out of China, South Korea, and Sweden, but a recent piece on BBC News -- "Slapping a tax on playtime" -- hits a bit closer to home for many of us. Flora Graham, a technology reporter for BBC N...

November 29th 2008 at 8:00pm 0 Comments
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As you may recall, Edward Castronova, professor at Indiana University and researcher of virtual world economics, had been developing a Shakespeare-based MMO, only to close it down because, in his words, 'It's no fun. We failed to design a gripping experience.'In the current issue of Wired, Castronov...

March 23rd 2008 at 9:00am 0 Comments
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You may never have heard of Arden, the brain child of Edward Castronova and now you never really will. The project was ambitious, aiming to create a MMORPG that also educated the players in the world and works of someone regarded by many as the greatest wordsmith the English language has ever seen.A...

January 8th 2008 at 12:01pm 0 Comments
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As we've previously covered on Massively.com before, virtual worlds researcher Edward Castronova's new book is entitled Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun is Changing Reality -- but if you want to know if it's actually worth reading, there's a review over at Rik Santos's personal blog.I'm a...

December 27th 2007 at 9:30pm 0 Comments
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When you play a Massive game, are you escaping the real world? Are you running from it? Or are you just seeking a temporary refuge from all the frustrations and challenges of modern living? That's the question asked by well-known Virtual Worlds researcher Edward Castronova in his new book Exodus to...

December 17th 2007 at 3:00pm 0 Comments
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Arden, the MMO supposedly based around "the world of William Shakespeare," has been released... kind of. I've been waiting for this one for a while-- who wouldn't want to walk the halls of Kronborg Castle with Hamlet, or visit Banquo's banquet with MacBeth? But unfortunately, "released" is a little...

November 27th 2007 at 6:26pm 0 Comments