What the hell is a 'Massively Single-Playing Online Game?'

Gamasutra reported a few weeks ago that Nintendo had filed a patent for an idea they call 'Massively Single-Playing Online Game.' The patent, which was filed in early 2010, lays out an idea for this 'Massively Single-Playing Online Game,' which turns out to be an amalgamation of a few different ideas. Nintendo seems to have taken the ideas for this MSPOG (I like to say M-S Pog) from its own Animal Crossing game but it also seems to have cribbed some ideas from other well made single player franchises.

The Gamasutra article got it's information from a Gamespot article. The Gamespot article lays out in more detail the specifics of what a MSPOG would look like. The Gamespot article starts by describing the merging of single player and multiplayer games into the same world.

“a single-player game in which the player's actions impact the characters and environment of other players enjoying the same single-player game.”

Animal Crossing has for years allowed players to copy their towns information to a memory card to be left with friends who will inevitably write the most foul mail, create t-shirts with numerous kinds appendages and orifices, or just sell every piece of furniture in town, only the send the money to themselves in an e-mail...the wounds are still fresh! No more!

We can see this kind of gameplay tweaked for better or worse; Demon's Souls and Fable 2 & 3. I think this kind of gameplay has been around for some time, it seems like Nintendo is the only company that wants to market it as a singular idea.

Nintendo also wants to get into the business of online economies. We have seen how these types of supply and demand economies are becoming commonplace in MMORPGs like Eve Online.

“a game with an economy affected by player demand for (and scarcity of) items. The company pointed to a purse in a fashion-centric game as one implementation of that, or perhaps oil in a global commodities trading game.”

As games move more towards being completely microtransaction funded, we are going to see developers try to get more out of their games. We only have to look at Valve, who, after making so much money off of hats and shirts, decided to make Team Fortress 2 free-to-play. Microtransactions are here to stay and they will just become a bigger part of the industry. Nintendo is just late to the party, and right now, they still have one foot out the door.

Nintendo seems to have heard about this whole Minecraft thing too.

Halloween Update“Another example given had one player spotting a pile of building materials in a virtual world and making a house out of it. Since the world is the same, the next player to happen along finds not a heap of lumber and tools, but a finished house (with the builder nowhere to be seen).”

Now, don't misunderstand me, I know that Nintendo has been playing this game for a while since the original Animal Crossing on the N64. But, Minecraft is different. While Animal Crossing is concerned more with esthetics; fung shui, Minecraft is about raw infrastructure; building cities and buildings. Nintendo seems to have noticed this little downloadable game.

Nintendo seems to be pulling from the playbooks with one of the last possibilities that Gamespot reported on.

“Additionally, Nintendo's filing suggested that one player could gossip to a non-player character in the world, who would then pass it along to other players.”

While this looks like a version of the mail system from Animal Crossing, I think it is a shout out to Demon's Souls. But, in the end, it is a promise of communication, with which Nintendo doesn't have a stellar record.

But, the final idea Nintendo had in their filing, was the most confusing.

“The application also covers one tweak to make the gameworld more traditionally multiplayer. If players have "friended" one another, they would be able to see each other and interact in the same environment.”

Which seems to mean “we also have multiplayer!”

Nintendo still has a lot to prove in the online space. I am not sure if the members of the Nintendo family have the will to stand up and make it understood that if Nintendo doesn't get into the online space soon they will float into oblivion like Sega. With the big words coming from Nintendo at last years E3 it sounds like they understand that the stakes are high with this one. We will just have to wait and see what comes of this MSPOG idea.

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Posted by sopachuco13

Gamasutra reported a few weeks ago that Nintendo had filed a patent for an idea they call 'Massively Single-Playing Online Game.' The patent, which was filed in early 2010, lays out an idea for this 'Massively Single-Playing Online Game,' which turns out to be an amalgamation of a few different ideas. Nintendo seems to have taken the ideas for this MSPOG (I like to say M-S Pog) from its own Animal Crossing game but it also seems to have cribbed some ideas from other well made single player franchises.

The Gamasutra article got it's information from a Gamespot article. The Gamespot article lays out in more detail the specifics of what a MSPOG would look like. The Gamespot article starts by describing the merging of single player and multiplayer games into the same world.

“a single-player game in which the player's actions impact the characters and environment of other players enjoying the same single-player game.”

Animal Crossing has for years allowed players to copy their towns information to a memory card to be left with friends who will inevitably write the most foul mail, create t-shirts with numerous kinds appendages and orifices, or just sell every piece of furniture in town, only the send the money to themselves in an e-mail...the wounds are still fresh! No more!

We can see this kind of gameplay tweaked for better or worse; Demon's Souls and Fable 2 & 3. I think this kind of gameplay has been around for some time, it seems like Nintendo is the only company that wants to market it as a singular idea.

Nintendo also wants to get into the business of online economies. We have seen how these types of supply and demand economies are becoming commonplace in MMORPGs like Eve Online.

“a game with an economy affected by player demand for (and scarcity of) items. The company pointed to a purse in a fashion-centric game as one implementation of that, or perhaps oil in a global commodities trading game.”

As games move more towards being completely microtransaction funded, we are going to see developers try to get more out of their games. We only have to look at Valve, who, after making so much money off of hats and shirts, decided to make Team Fortress 2 free-to-play. Microtransactions are here to stay and they will just become a bigger part of the industry. Nintendo is just late to the party, and right now, they still have one foot out the door.

Nintendo seems to have heard about this whole Minecraft thing too.

Halloween Update“Another example given had one player spotting a pile of building materials in a virtual world and making a house out of it. Since the world is the same, the next player to happen along finds not a heap of lumber and tools, but a finished house (with the builder nowhere to be seen).”

Now, don't misunderstand me, I know that Nintendo has been playing this game for a while since the original Animal Crossing on the N64. But, Minecraft is different. While Animal Crossing is concerned more with esthetics; fung shui, Minecraft is about raw infrastructure; building cities and buildings. Nintendo seems to have noticed this little downloadable game.

Nintendo seems to be pulling from the playbooks with one of the last possibilities that Gamespot reported on.

“Additionally, Nintendo's filing suggested that one player could gossip to a non-player character in the world, who would then pass it along to other players.”

While this looks like a version of the mail system from Animal Crossing, I think it is a shout out to Demon's Souls. But, in the end, it is a promise of communication, with which Nintendo doesn't have a stellar record.

But, the final idea Nintendo had in their filing, was the most confusing.

“The application also covers one tweak to make the gameworld more traditionally multiplayer. If players have "friended" one another, they would be able to see each other and interact in the same environment.”

Which seems to mean “we also have multiplayer!”

Nintendo still has a lot to prove in the online space. I am not sure if the members of the Nintendo family have the will to stand up and make it understood that if Nintendo doesn't get into the online space soon they will float into oblivion like Sega. With the big words coming from Nintendo at last years E3 it sounds like they understand that the stakes are high with this one. We will just have to wait and see what comes of this MSPOG idea.