Interesting piece, but in some ways these guys still don’t get it.
“Sharding” is a commonly accepted technology limitation now, he said, but “I’m not so sure consumers are going to be willing to put up with that in the next generation of online games.”
Sojourn’s Cerra agreed that improvements in server and networking technology will change what consumers expect from online games, with larger online worlds and faster responses becoming key. “Things like having a no-sharded world will be real differentiation factors for a successful multiplayer game,” he said.
I’d love to know what they’re basing this ‘wisdom’ on. Among my friends, I can’t recall ever hearing “Gee, if only all the players were on the same server.” In fact, I hear quite the opposite. Some people want to play on a designated RolePlay server, others want to play on a Player-vs-Player server, for instance.
People complain a lot about crowding now. This isn’t just about the network connectivity. If you have an audience of 10,000 users spread over 5 servers, your gameworld only has to support 2000 people; I’m talking content here. You need quests to keep 2000 people happy. You need enough geography for 2000 people to fit on. On the other hand, if all 10,000 of your users are on one server, you need to build 5 times the quests and supply a world that has 5 times as much geography, or else you’re going to be crowding players.
And crowded players are unhappy players.