Monday, September 05, 2005


With the popularity of sports games, the only surprise is that MMOSports games aren't already a norm. But, MMOSports games are on the way. (Tony over at has a pretty good roundup of plenty of them last week, too.) Everyone knew they'd happen eventually. It's a no brainer really. Sports games sell well. MMOs offer continuous income. So MMOSports games should offer a lot of cash. But what are MMOSports games?

I mean, I barely know what classifies a game as an MMO anymore. Is it anything with more players than an id software game will support? Is it NeverWinter Nights' 64 players on a server 'massive'? How about 1000 players? That 'Massive' part has always been the trick. But we can't apply the standard 'thousands per server' to sports games as you can't have 3000 people on a baseball field playing at once. The best I can come up with is we either (a)change our definition to mean "thousand/hundreds of players in a designated league who play in scheduled and/or pick-up games," or (b)define it as "a sports game that allows every member of every team to be represented by a user." But '(a)' is essentially the same is '(b)' with arbitrary league restrictions. And both definitions could make FPS' like Counter-Strike and Halo 'MMOs'.

But if "MMOSports" games must exist, I believe that's what they'll be. So I'm going with (b). And while Tony did cover lots of the games out there, he didn't mention International Online Soccer. (Maybe soccer isn't a sport to George Carlin, but I'll let it slide this time.) It's a Half-Life mod (with a Source version coming out soon.) The Beta was originally released May 12th, 2003, so it's just over two years old now. And looking at the stats from August, it's doing 'okay'. Over that month only three days did they have below 400 players (5670 unique players the 31 days.) Sure it's not Natural Selection, the HL mod with 66,500+ players in a given month, but it's something.

Speaking of which, I've been kicking around the idea of making a sci-fi sports game myself. I figure it's time I updated the resume with something, y'know? Need to look around the Quake 3 code and see if I wanna go that route or just mod Half-Life 2. Think "Halo 2 meets Soccer." That's right baby, Rocketball.


Anonymous function said...

MMO is a lousy label birthed on the lazy interweb around when UO and EQ were showing up. "Massive" in particular is so equivocal as to be pointless. The whole thing stinks of marketing chatchphrase.

The most important part of these games is the PERSISTENCE. Every time you log in you're picking up your character where you left off. Not to mention that the world PERSISTS; humming along even when you're offline.

Don't bother trying to contort your ideas of Persistent Multiplayer Sports Games into pretzels just to fit some shoddy label that dosen't do the games any justice.

... Hooray for Rocketball!

9:45 PM, September 07, 2005  
Blogger Jeffool said...

So you're suggesting I call them.... PMS Games?


9:58 PM, September 07, 2005  
Blogger Tony said...

Thanks for the mention. I was previously unaware of IOS so thanks for the heads up. I think you're idea of what a MMO sports game is correct. Also, like function said, there needs to be some form persistence. Put those together and you've got a winner.

8:27 PM, September 15, 2005  

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