In February, Gaia announced that it would be using its current virtual world user base to launch a casual MMOG. Virtual World News has an interesting interview that gives more details about the Gaia MMOG:
Beyond the virtual world background for the casual mmo, Georgeson also highlights the fact that Gaia offers more variety in its gameplay than some other MMOGs. Locations will behave differently according to the number of people present, monsters will spawn in different ways, and a wider variety of scripts, he says, create a sensation of spontaneity.
Also, there’s golf.
“One of the other things I’m particularly proud of is that a lot of MMOs have the same experience where you go or no matter what you’ve done for how many people are in the area,” said Georgeson. “It’s a big treadmill of killing monsters and getting loot. We still have that, but we also have aboveground game like golf that people can play even if there’s a battle raging around them.”
Although the kids/teens based MMOG world is getting increasingly crowded, especially as the media companies like Disney and Nickelodean launch new games, I think Gaia’s new game will likely be a success. As Virtual Worlds News notes:
Gaia Online is described as a virtual world and a forum, which makes it seem more open-ended and unformed that it actually easy. There’s actually already a fairly extensive guild system, roleplaying community, and narrative built into the world, though. It’s just not always readily apparent.
Gaia has held many scripted special events in the past that brush right up to the edge of becoming an MMOG. They already have an avid user base that has created and customized avatars, an in-world economy, and a digital goods business model. They also have an expertise in creating fun gameplay. Adding in levels, skills, quests and powerful virtual items is a small step for them to take.
I’ll be watching their launch in the summer with great interest!