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How can we make a Europe-wide MMO Publisher?

(4 posts in one day? Yeah! Too busy to be regular right now. GDC is on the way)

At the end of my commentary on the formation of NC West, I added almost as an afterthought a little comment about Europe and the MMO industry:

there’s a gaping hole in the MMO sphere. For someone bold enough to step into that hole, you could “own” Europe’s online gaming industry for the next decade.

Since I wrote that, surprisingly many people have commented on it both by email and in person, either along the lines of “look who else missed the opportunity” (Jagex, Ankama, Bigpoint, Gameforge), or along the lines of “yeah!” (count me in) … or both.

So, I wonder: what *would* it take, right now? If you have ideas, post them here. I’ll be at GDC in 3 weeks time, and I’d be more than happy to pitch this as a credible plan, if you come up with a comprhensive-enough plan. It’s a lot more expensive than any of my own humble plans, but in many ways I find it a lot easier to justify, financially. And I’m not even trying (it’s just a game for me right now, idly imagining what I’d do, if I were Jagex, or Ankama, or Gameforge, etc).

Wishlist time. Over to you, Dear Readers…

2 replies on “How can we make a Europe-wide MMO Publisher?”

I don’t really have a plan per-se. I’m.. well, not really up to conceptulising one right now (especially since I’m in the middle of nailing down rules for a OGL (d20) RPG game).

But I do think the lack of a…more traditional… (and while you obviously know more about NCSoft Europe than I do, TR had more to do with it’s closure as a dev studio than anything…I’d not say more in this public forum) MMO dev house in the UK is missing out on some great talent. Of course, given I’d like to work on one, I’m also biased.

Of course the UK is doing very well (as you know fullwell of course, given your time at mindcandy) in the ARG space, which while typically considered seperately from MMO games… (I’m acquainted with the Hon’s via being on some of the same mailing lists for a decade or so, and I have nothing but respect for what they’ve achieved)

I agree, Europe is very undertapped right now. Even strong European actors have unequal success across all territories inside the continent. I’m not sure the MMO publishing business as it is traditionnally handled has a bright future either. I think the next gen pan-European MMO publisher would have to adopt a lightweight and extremely locally focused approach (for everything from game genres to localization to payment means, etc) , while giving exposure and good deals to developers (who else have more and more incentives to simply bypass the publisher) and leveraging its size behind the scenes for economies of scale.

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