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Business 2.0: SimCode?

Nov 27, 2002, 05:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jimmy Guterman)

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" Much attention is being given to the new massively multiplayer version of The Sims, and rightly so. But consider the vast collection of modifications to the single-user iteration of The Sims, distributed across the Net by a verging-on-obsessive group of fans. They remind us that a game doesn't need an overt multiplayer component for players to dissect it and share the results with a couple hundred thousand of their closest friends. This was, in a sense, already a multiplayer game.

"It's a given that The Sims Online will have a profound effect on the game industry: More and more games considered single-player endeavors will go online, and platform after platform (today Xbox, tomorrow Playstation) will move to the Net as well. Publishers find those monthly subscription fees irresistible. It will get absurd, I'm sure: Someone somewhere must be dreaming of a massively multiplayer redo of Tetris. But the most profound changes that these everybody-get-on-the-Net-and-play-at-once games may trigger might have nothing to do with games.

"How many of you use Mozilla as your Web browser? OK, both of you can put down your hands. Mozilla, you'll remember, was the super-cool open-source version of the Netscape browser that was going to take over the Web because thousands of programmers from around the world, all committed to building a better browser and countering the Microsoft behemoth, would pool their talents and create the greatest browser ever. More than four years later, Mozilla has generated far more press releases than products and has done nothing to help the Netscape browser retake any ground from Microsoft. This was one massively multiplayer project that never took off..."

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