Found this article on Mashable.com, which I usually read for internet/social networking news. Thought some people would appreciate reading it.
How One Startup Aims to Revolutionize Online Gaming
For the past four years, gaming startup Trion has been working with more than $100 million of funding and a staff of about 300 people to introduce a distinctive game platform to the Internet. The company’s first game, Rift, will be released in North America next month.
The world in Rift will differ from that of other massively multiplayer online (MMO) games in that it will be constantly evolving and users themselves can influence this change. For instance, if players fail to save a town that is being attacked, it will still be burned to the ground when players log in tomorrow. Developers can also make small changes as they learn how people are using the game.
Another game in the works takes advantage of the dynamic platform in another unprecedented way: by aligning its story line with a television show that SyFy is producing using the same world. If an event in the television show changes the world’s landscape, those changes will be reflected in the game world after it has aired.
“We have changed the experience dramatically, Trion founder and CEO Lars Buttler says. “A traditional video game is played in your machine, in your local counsel, and is a static experience…the game does not evolve and it’s also not really social because you cannot play with all of your friends against the environment that is created in the video game.”
Massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have long been dominated by World of Warcraft, a game that surpassed 12 million subscribers in October. In 2009, the game’s subscription fees represented a 58% share of western spending on subscription MMO games, according to research from media analyst Screen Digest.
But Trion, and its impressive list of investors (one that includes Time Warner, NBC Universal and Bertelsmann) think the MMO gaming world is ripe for new domination. Mashable recently spoke with Buttler about how Trion plans to incite a revolution in MMO games.
A New Kind of World
Trion is developing constantly evolving worlds for its new platform; they change in response to player activity.
“Just like companies like Zynga in the casual games are constantly measuring what people do and improving their games in the casual space, we can now do this for video games,” Buttler says.
Being able to tweak the games also opens a more diverse range of opportunities for advertising or creating virtual goods. Trion plans to release games across every genre — role playing, strategy and action games are already in the works — and every game will have a different business model. The first game, Rift will use a subscription model that charges players $10-$15 per month.
Aiming to Be Zynga for Video Games
Before people played casual games on Facebook, they downloaded them from sites like Yahoo Games. Before that, maybe they played them on their Game Boys. The genre has evolved to become more social and dynamic.
“The same is happening to video games, and we are really leading this transition where we make games that have the quality of traditional games, that have very different genres like role playing strategy, action, but they are also completely dynamic and live and incredibly social,” Buttler says.
Trion’s games allow hundreds of players to collaborate at onc, and encourage users to work together for higher rewards.
“Imagine you could do something similar [to what Zynga has done with casual games] to the much bigger category of premium video games,” Buttler says.
Working With TV
Trion’s third scheduled game release, currently going by the title Syfy Action MMO, will have a television component produced by the SyFy Channel. The show will tell a character story within the game’s world. If something happens in the show, it will be reflected within the game world. Likewise, if a player does something heroic during the game, they might find their feat being discussed on the show.
The partnership will help the SyFy channel connect with its audience inbetween episodes and seasons. Trion’s main motive in joining the partnership is to introduce the MMO genre and its game to geeks who might not otherwise be online gamers.
“we want to branch out,” Buttler says. “We want people to have the opportunity to get familiar with it a little bit. For example, by watching the show and then jumping into the game and maybe being a little more of an observer at first.”
If you’d like to be part of Trion’s Rift beta testing event, follow @RIFTgame on Twitter and retweet this article. Trion will direct message 50 Mashable readers with invite codes.