MMOG‘s are becoming increasingly popular and although I have never played one, I find them extremely interesting.
An MMOG is a game that is always running and can be joined by hundreds (or often thousand) of players at once. The developers create a persistent online world which players can enter. When you subscribe to one of these games you get an online character (an avatar) which represents you in the online world. A lot of people spend a lot of time (and money) developing these avatars – check this one out.
Then any time you want to play, you can move around in the online world, interact with thousands of other players (all represented by real people) and try to achieve whatever the goals of that game are. For instance in World War II Online there are constantly updated front lines as thousands of players do battle in a virtual Europe.
I think this is extremely cool, because whole worlds populated by (mostly) real people exist on the internet. Whole economies (often linked to the real economy) and societies develop. For instance Second Life
“has its own economy and a currency referred to as Linden Dollars (L$). Though the exchange rate fluctuates, as of February 2007 it is reasonably stable at around L$ 270 to one US dollar.”
These companies make a lot of money too. World of Warcraft has more than 8 million subscribers which at $15 a month turns into monthly revenue of $120 million!
There is just so much to say about all this – but not here (I want to go home!).
Here is a link to a NY Times photo collection of real people and their online avatars. Some interesting combos.