Prolific essayist, tabletop roleplaying designer, and video game advisor, Allen Varney
, writes about the future of MMO gaming in The Escapist
. But it's not what you might think. In the year 2020, World of Warcraft won't be dominating charts -- it'll be something closer to World of MySpace. MySpace, as we speak, is quite possibly the largest MMO in existence. No, I don't like it either, but it's hard to disagree with his logical progression.
Consider the not-so-far-flung similarities: You dress up your MySpace page (configure your avatar, which doubles as player housing), join any number of interest groups (guilds), assemble your officers (your Top 8 Friends), download music and videos (to spur the player-driven economy), and collect friends for server-wide prestige (the grind for loot). And there are definitely "friend farmers" as well as griefers in the MySpace arena, not to mention countless blind-invites from indiscriminating buddy-mongers.
With entire generations growing up with game consoles in their baby cribs, the distinction between Game Life and Real Life will blur as much as many politicians fear it will.