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Indie MMOs Business


Over the years I’ve read everything I could find on the business of making indie games and I learned a great deal but since MMOs were made by AAA until now, not much is written about how manage games like these.

Do you guys know of any resources on the subject?

Improbable has great partners that could share some knowledge.

Pretty please :pleading_face:

edit -> Here’s some pertinent resources;
Ramin Shokrizade’s blog => FTP, Monetization, how to not be evil, etc…

Raph Koster’s website => MMO game design, community building, what is fun, etc…

All kind of amazing stuff

I’m not sure how much has been written on the topic (maybe articles/posts on Gamasutra now and then), but there is a lot of knowledge out there – just not among indies, for the most part.

The biggest thing t know is that developing and launching an MMO is the easy part. Truly. Launching and managing a community, and doing so while keeping the game financially solvent, is far more difficult. Plus it requires an entirely different set of skills. MMOs are truly “games as a service,” and most developers have clue about the “as a service” part.

One possible advantage with an “indie MMO” is that communities are easier to manage when they’re small; the difficulty and effort goes up quickly. So if SpatialOS makes possible small, niche, artisanal games and communities, it may be a lot easier than it has been in the past. Even then though, running the business and running the community are still going to be tough, and very likely to require skills a lot of developers have never mastered.

Hmm, maybe there’s a business opportunity there. :slight_smile:

(FWIW, I’ve had experience developing and running multiple MMOs from 1996 to 2013. I’m very much hoping SpatialOS opens a new era of these games.)


I have similar hopes that SpatialOS will push down the threshold for sustainability.

My dream would be to run my game for years by myself or with a small team.

Thanks you your thoughts! May I ask what MMOs you worked on?

I was the lead designer on Meridian 59, the first 3D MMO. I was then lead on SimCity Online, The Sims 2, and very briefly the Sims Online. Then I was the lead designer on one of the Ultima Online reboots, consulted on a bunch of others, and pitched and even got to beta on others (it’s a tough business). The last one I ran was Realm of the Mad God – I didn’t design it, but after the company I worked for bought it, I led the team and managed to make it profitable and not completely broken.

Here’s to hoping SpatialOS can make MMOs possible again without requiring tens of millions of dollars for a budget!

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