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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Zenimax Forms MMO Division

Default Zenimax Forms MMO Division

August 2nd, 2007, 10:55
This is more a newsbit for our MMO news but clearly it might have implications for the Elder Scrolls and Fallout in the future. Pete Hines let us know Bethsoft's parent company Zenimax has formed an MMO division under the leadership of Matt Firor (ex Mythic):
ZeniMax Media Announces Establishment of OnlineGaming Division – ZeniMax Online Studios
Subsidiary to be headed by noted MMO veteran
August 1, 2007 (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of Bethesda Softworks, announced today the creation of ZeniMax Online Studios. The division will be headed by Matt Firor, a well-known expert in the field of online gaming, and will focus on the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) market segment.
Firor was one of the founders of Mythic Entertainment, where he worked for over 10 years on MMO titles. At Mythic he was the producer of the worldwide #1 smash hit Dark Age of Camelot, a MMORPG considered one of the most influential online games of all time. When he left Mythic in 2006, Firor was responsible for all development projects at the company. For the past year, he has been a consultant in the online gaming industry, advising leading publishers interested in entering the online market.
“This could not be a more perfect opportunity for me,” said Matt. “I am extremely impressed with ZeniMax and Bethesda Softworks management – their development philosophy closely matches my own, with an emphasis on quality, innovation, and craftsmanship. I am eager to get back to what I love – the development of cutting edge MMOG titles.”
“We are excited about the opportunities we have in the online gaming space and felt that Matt is the perfect person to lead this effort,” said James Leder, COO of ZeniMax Media. There are relatively few people who have the actual experience and knowledge that comes from having created a successful MMO, and Matt is the real deal. We feel fortunate to have him join our group.”
Firor is a graduate of George Washington University and has worked in the gaming industry for 17 years. He has lectured at the University of Virginia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology on game development topics, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. Firor has written articles for Game Developer Magazine and was a regular columnist covering online game development for the Korean gaming magazine “Onplayer”.
For more information on ZeniMax Online Studios, visit www.zenimaxonline.com.
More information.
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August 2nd, 2007, 10:55
And thus, the raping of the Elder Scrolls was rendered complete.

Tedders, Julian, et al, take a bow. Or don't, rather, for Todd and Pete are there right behind you both.
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August 2nd, 2007, 12:34
Good news, IMO. I was always worried that Bethesda would give in to the pressure and make an Elder Scrolls-MMO - now they don't have to, since this new division will surely do it for them. In other words, they can continue making great single player RPGs.

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August 2nd, 2007, 14:05
This could indicate that the next TES game will be an MMO game….for some odd reason every publisher and some devs. think that MMO games will be big hits in the common years. I'm not that sure. Nearly every mmo that has ever existed commercially either loose a lot of money or has been cancelled after a few years. Only Guild Wars and WoW seems to be making it big in the MMO-universe.

Bethesda seems to be, imo, with the TES series. Now Bethesda sees the Fallout franchise as the next big thing, they will make money on making.
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August 2nd, 2007, 16:22
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
This could indicate that the next TES game will be an MMO game….for some odd reason every publisher and some devs. think that MMO games will be big hits in the common years. I'm not that sure. Nearly every mmo that has ever existed commercially either loose a lot of money or has been cancelled after a few years. Only Guild Wars and WoW seems to be making it big in the MMO-universe.
I am not so sure about the boom or bust thing here. I don't know any numbers but take a look at SOE. They seem to be quite happy with a few games in the 250k people range. Granted it helps that they can pool resources for these games (servers and maintenance devs). I think there might be a good market there for the right business plan and smaller MMOs.

A Bethesda MMO probably wouldn't get WoW numbers but would get a lot more than the average MMO, probably a lot more. I think this move was inevitable.
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August 2nd, 2007, 17:17
And let's not forget that this isn't Bethesda who's making a new studio, it's ZeniMax. AFAIK, Bethesda will continue making single-player games just like before. That's what I like about this whole thing: I can ignore the new studio and what they create.

If ZeniMax hadn't done something like this, I think we would have seen Bethesda branch out into the MMORPG-market eventually - and I'm glad that's not happening.

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August 2nd, 2007, 17:18
Originally Posted by very unregistered View Post
Good news, IMO. I was always worried that Bethesda would give in to the pressure and make an Elder Scrolls-MMO - now they don't have to, since this new division will surely do it for them. In other words, they can continue "to try but fail badly at it" making great single player RPGs.
There its fixed now

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August 2nd, 2007, 18:05
The Elder Scrolls franchise is perfect for adaptation into an MMO. The games already do huge business, and multiplayer gets more and more popular, it's a logical move to make (if that is indeed what's going to happen).
I might actually play it, too. Morrowind would've been great if it were a populated MP environment.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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August 2nd, 2007, 18:12
[JADED]

"I hear there's a lot of money in them new-fangled morpegs. We should form a new company. Everyone's doing it. And out of the hundreds of games released in the last few years, at least one is making money hand over fist!"

MMORPGs: The Trendy Corporate Money Pit

[/JADED]
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August 2nd, 2007, 18:56
Originally Posted by Gallifrey View Post
The Elder Scrolls franchise is perfect for adaptation into an MMO. The games already do huge business, and multiplayer gets more and more popular, it's a logical move to make (if that is indeed what's going to happen).
I might actually play it, too. Morrowind would've been great if it were a populated MP environment.
I first tried Everquest back in 1999. My friends and I all said at the time, "This is just like muli-player Daggerfall!"

I am glad they are doing this.
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August 2nd, 2007, 19:03
Just because a franchise is popular does not mean it would make a good MMO: The Warhammer and the D&D MMO's, for example, are fairly lowkey, wouldn't you think?

'Sides, from TES, you could only make a "standard" MMO (ie. Everquest and such - the thing WoW perfected), and the market is getting quite saturated for that kind of MMO (not to mention that WoW already has a huge slice of it).
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August 2nd, 2007, 19:17
Absolutely Super News!!
(so many doom and gloom posters.. how do you sleep at night with such pessimistic outlooks? lol )
More games, more people working on games.. more development on games.. both single player, multi-player, and MMO, is all good!!.. Right?
Of course!!
Go Zenimax! Good Luck Matt!
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August 2nd, 2007, 19:55
Originally Posted by VPeric View Post
Just because a franchise is popular does not mean it would make a good MMO: The Warhammer and the D&D MMO's, for example, are fairly lowkey, wouldn't you think?
How is the Warhammer MMO "fairly lowkey" if it hasn't even been released yet?

'Sides, from TES, you could only make a "standard" MMO (ie. Everquest and such - the thing WoW perfected), and the market is getting quite saturated for that kind of MMO (not to mention that WoW already has a huge slice of it).
I strongly believe that every MMO developer is secretly thanking and praising Blizzard in their prayers every night before bed-time for making WoW. It is EQ and WoW that have made MMO gaming popular/mainstream and that have taken care of establishing a potential customer base of several million people worldwide.

Sure, some people just try online gaming and find out it's not for them and they drop out again. But there are also a lot of people who stick with it. Who get hungry for more. Those people migrate from game to game when they get tired of the "latest and greatest". That's why even small MMOs can survive in today's market. The gross number of people playing these games (= the market) is getting larger and larger.

This is not a static market where these nine million people are WoW players and these other 300K people are EQ 2 players and these other 250K folks over there are the Final Fantasy XI peeps. That's not how it works. The market is dynamic and constantly in motion. Today's WoW player is tomorrow's SWG player and then Warhammer Online's player and then D&D Online and then the Elder Scrolls (or Fallout?) MMO one day.

The market is certainly not saturated yet. It's growing steadily and with a franchise like The Elder Scrolls or Fallout, I bet that Zenimax can quite easily make a profitable MMO. Not a "WoW killer". Everyone knows that such a mega success is unlikely to be repeated for a very long time but unless they end up making a game that really sucks, I'd guess that they will be able to establish themselves in the 150K - 300K subscribers range where it's certainly quite possible to make a decent profit from the game.
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August 2nd, 2007, 20:19
Cant wait to lvl up on mudcrabs !

When on earth was retardo mainstreaming ever good for real gamers ?!? geez…
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August 2nd, 2007, 20:33
Originally Posted by VPeric View Post
Just because a franchise is popular does not mean it would make a good MMO: The Warhammer and the D&D MMO's, for example, are fairly lowkey, wouldn't you think?
Warhammer will do extremely well when it is released, I think. Right now it's in beta testing so the people there are under NDA wraps, hence the quiet. Once it's released things will change. As for the D&D MMO, it had a few things working against it. For starters, it was set in the less-popular Eberron setting rather than the extreme favourite Forgotten Realms. It had a low level cap and many traditional D&D roleplayers had NWN's persistent worlds to play in, and that was free and devoid if MMO conventions (like grinding and less idiots).

'Sides, from TES, you could only make a "standard" MMO (ie. Everquest and such - the thing WoW perfected), and the market is getting quite saturated for that kind of MMO (not to mention that WoW already has a huge slice of it).
The Elder Scrolls games are massively popular and the gameworld is very detailed and well designed. These two things alone are an excellent base for an MMO. The very name The Elder Scrolls on an MMO couldn't be a better interest-builder for an MMO I would suspect.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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August 2nd, 2007, 20:36
Spent the last 15 mins trying to write a reply, but I suppose you might just be right - at least in some ways!

I still think, however, that the future of MMO's is in some sort of innovation (Eve Online, anyone? Or something like Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates maybe?), and not in rehashing the old stuff with insignificant interface changes. But, because it is TES, I can't really see them breaking the mold at all, mostly because they've influenced that mold a lot, IMO (ie. Everquest = multiplayer Daggerfall).

EDIT: That first sentance was in response to Moriendor, though I suppose the point still stands. Also, I have to admit that I didn't know that Warhammer wasn't released (<blush>) - I blame that on the complete lack of press coverage in local magazines.
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August 2nd, 2007, 20:55
Originally Posted by VPeric View Post
I still think, however, that the future of MMO's is in some sort of innovation (Eve Online, anyone? Or something like Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates maybe?), and not in rehashing the old stuff with insignificant interface changes.
Absolutely. Rehashing what is out there is not a good way to go, but it's also possible to go too far and make the game too fiddly for many players.

But, because it is TES, I can't really see them breaking the mold at all, mostly because they've influenced that mold a lot, IMO (ie. Everquest = multiplayer Daggerfall).
Genre isn't really the issue when it comes to MMOs. Lots of people play WoW that have no real interest in the fantasy genre, but they play because it's fun, their friends play, and because it has a robust gameplay range that supports everyone from casual to hardcore.
If there is to be a TES MMO, the innovations need to be in gameplay. I don't want to grind mudcrabs at all, if they go that route I'm not interested. If they can implement a quest structure that includes more single-player RPG type quests, throw in some solo instances and that sort of thing, alongside paths for the more in-depth MMO players (like WoW's raid instances, arenas, battlegrounds etc), I'd be quite intrigued.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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August 2nd, 2007, 22:39
There is a difference in being a optimist and a realist. I clearly am a realist. I really don't want to play an online game and pay maybe USD 10 or 15 each month just to play the game…I already have paid good money for at the video gaming store. But that's just me, I guess :shrug:

I just pointed out that Everquest, Funcom's first online MMO-game, and some other MMO-games really don't do that well, financially. Wow's popularity seem to stem from the fact that most of the people playing just want to be able to loot as much as possible, kill monsters as fast as possible and level up as quickly as possible.
However, this has led to a growing industry in China (I think?) in which European and American+other players around the world are paying Chinese players to play their avatar for them, to fast level them very quickly. I don't know if Blizzard is doing about this, because to, at least, this is a form of cheating.

I also don't understand all the hype about World of Warcraft :huh: I just don't understand why a game has to be released at 1.01 Danish time on the day (or night rather) it is released :huh: What's wrong with waiting til 10.00 AM Danish time…

Auto Assault had what, about 150-300,000 subscripers?? And know NCSoft? is shutting Auto Assult down (a thing i spotted a while ago over at nma) because it simply isn't profitable enough, e.g. the suits behind the company isn't making enough money…

Maybe Zenimax's MMO division will surprise us. I doubt it though. My guess is that there will be an TES MMO game as there has been a growind demand for this on the Bethesda boards. And that the MMO will let you run free all over all of Tamriel…
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August 2nd, 2007, 23:17
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
There is a difference in being a optimist and a realist. I clearly am a realist. I really don't want to play an online game and pay maybe USD 10 or 15 each month just to play the game…I already have paid good money for at the video gaming store. But that's just me, I guess :shrug:
This bothers me too, but given the amount of time you end up sinking into an MMO, the cost works out to a pretty good bargain. And I can't speak for MMO's aside from WoW, but the support the game gets from the developer is unlike any other game I've played. So, at least with that game, I found the subscription to be good value.

Wow's popularity seem to stem from the fact that most of the people playing just want to be able to loot as much as possible, kill monsters as fast as possible and level up as quickly as possible.
For some players certainly. But WoW's appeal is really the end result of a number of factors. It has a lot of players, it's popular, so that continues to generate interest. The art design is very appealing, and it runs and looks great on low-end systems (this is a massive point in it's success I believe), it's easy to play and has a very rich world to explore. WoW facilitates all manner of players and play-styles, from the casual to the hardcore raider and PVPer, and no play-style gets the short end of the stick. There's strong appeal to both genders, which is great and certainly boosts it's popularity as well.

However, this has led to a growing industry in China (I think?) in which European and American+other players around the world are paying Chinese players to play their avatar for them, to fast level them very quickly. I don't know if Blizzard is doing about this, because to, at least, this is a form of cheating.
It's absolutely cheating and violates the Terms Of Use. Blizzard does suspend and ban accounts for it, and they do take the problems seriously. But it's not a problem that will go away, it's part of MMO culture now, unfortunately.

Auto Assault had what, about 150-300,000 subscripers?? And know NCSoft? is shutting Auto Assult down (a thing i spotted a while ago over at nma) because it simply isn't profitable enough, e.g. the suits behind the company isn't making enough money…
Auto Assault was just a mess, that's why it failed. It was a mess in beta, the problems were reported, nothing was done. AA could've been so much more than it was, but the design was wrong from the start. Because of the huge potential, I think many were disappointed.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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August 3rd, 2007, 00:21
When you buy an online game, you don't just buy a game to run through a few times and then put on a shelf. You buy a game that constantly evolves, that you will sink more hours into than anything else out there. I used to dislike the idea of spending money for subscription myself, but the truth is - MMOs are very often much bigger, more solid, and developed over a longer period of time than most games. Simply put, they are worth more because you get more value for your money.

However, they are designed as timesinks, and for casual gamers I consider it a waste in most cases. So much time is spent doing absoluttely nothing that unless you get to the fun parts, it's not worth it.
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