E3: Taking your game online session

The final installment of the online game track gave four (pardon me, three) case studies of companies that have brought out games with online components.

Represented were FASA Studios for MechAssault, Zipper Interactive for SOCOM: Navy Seals, and Mythic for Dark Ages of Camelot.

Rudely not showing up was Digital Illusions for 1942.

The interesting aspect of this discussion was that only one of the panelists was talking about a PC title. MechAssault was the first title to come out for X-Box Live, and SOCOM was an early Playstation title.

Each of the people had a different story to tell, from the Microsoft story of "carte blanche" to the Mythic story of "carte nothing" we got to hear about the production requirements and decisions of building an online game.

Not a lot of earth-shattering stuff in this one, but interesting to watch the contrast of the organizations, as Mythic was coming from years of online gaming experience but no money, Fasa/Microsoft was coming from a background of almost no experience but endless resources, and Zipper Interactive was coming from the middle (reasonable budget, but limited experience).

The key take-aways were:

  • Testing, testing, testing
  • Community, community, community
  • Focus (Clearly focus isn't repeated because you wouldn't want to split your focus.... )