CCP’s Tinny gives high praise to the EVE Online community and credits them with part of EVE’s success and has a little to say about the business side of MMOs.
“A lot of MMOs that have beene out there for 4-plus years and developed a steady playerbase, those aren’t the ones you’re seeing layoffs in right now,” he says. “Even if you have only 100,000 people playing, if it’s a subscription model, you know what your income is going to be next month, and if you’re a prudent businessperson you build your company’s model within that framework.”
Advice Tinney would offer to startups launching a new online product? “I don’t think that I would start going after a million people, a million WoW players,” he says. “I would not try to launch a new virtual world that has no community support behind it against any of the large, established virtual communities,” he says.
“Because you’re not just competing against the program’s client –you’re competing against the social community that engages and supports that world,” he advises. “Set a very reasonable goal to build a very small community — don’t aim low, but build a biz model that supports an early-adopter mentality and then support the hell out of this community.”
“There’s a lot of strategies out there, and there’s so many ingredients in the recipe of a successful MMO any one of them can throw the whole thing off,” he adds. “But I think the community is one of the most important ingredients.”