On Witty Ranter # 7 we spent some time thrashing about trying to get people with somewhat different viewpoints to get together and create a plan for an MMO given a hypothetical $50 million war chest.
My initial suggestion was to hire some Bulgarians to do some sort of multiplayer version of Bejewelled and then split the remaining $49.5 million between us.
That was against the spirit of the whole premise, plus it would have made for a very short show. Instead we came up with some sort of rated M for mature, free to play, micro transaction, space game with no swords allowed EVER! A proud moment for all of us, to be sure.
But I had another idea in mind. A way to take $50 million and turn it into a magical everlasting money machine.
I said the magic word, the word that drives this idea about 27 times during the show, so Adam couldn’t have edited them all out.
The magic word is Pokemon.
I have been aware of Pokemon for some time now, not just since a DS wandered into the house. Heck, I have some real Japanese Pokemon cards stashed away somewhere.
But only since my daughter started drinking the Pokemon Kool-aid have I really started to see how Pokemon is everywhere.
So suspend your disbelief for a few and tell me if this wouldn’t be a money maker.
First, it has to go on the PC. Yes, I know, Nintendo will never go there, but that is why I said to suspend your disbelief. Come on, suspend it! Now!
Grahpics won’t be 3D. Instead it will be a mild upgrade to the Diamond/Pearl level of graphics. This will let it run on every PC made since 2000. You’ll be able to run it at home, at the office, on the road.
Then there will be the world. It will be done GuildWars style. Towns, contest areas, arenas, and the like, those will be shared areas. But when you and your friends go off into zones, it will be instanced. This will keep overhead down as every bit of action won’t be sucking up server resources.
Finally, it will be inexpensive. You’ll have to buy a box or a download copy, but $14.99 a month? forget about it!
The base game will be free to play. You will be able to buy expanded content as it comes out or subscribe to plan on the order of $20 a year to get access to all the content.
Of course, there will be micro transactions via the standard “spend cash to buy in-game points, use those points to buy cool stuff” model.
And, to tie it in with Nintendo’s standard game plan, while there will be some items and some Pokemon that will only be available on the DS Pokemon games, but that can be brought over to the PC version via Nintendo WFC.
So what does the PC player get?
Aside from slightly better graphics and a bigger, zoomable window on the world, the PC will have the option to go through the game with friends. I envision being able to form a group of two to four players to explore with a scaling encounter system that will adjust the number of opponents relative to your own group. There could be areas with epic Pokemon encounters, where you would need not just four people, but four people with the right Pokemon with the right skills to take down the bad guy.
Plus you can add on all of the tricks of the trade from MMOs past and present. Things like player housing, gym factions, live events, seasonal items, storage and travel options, all infused with micro transaction upgradability goodness.
In the end, Nintendo would never go for it. But I think it would have the potential to be a serious money maker.
And it must be a good idea. I got up this morning to post this article and found that Massively had a post on the same topic. Go go Pokemon MMO!