Early adopters often take the risk of having their new toy become useless when technology continues on evolutionary path. HD-DVD players are still available if you want one, as are products like laser discs, four-track cartridges, 8-tracks, wire recorders, or countless other gizmos that were very cool in their day. Many of these can be found in my guest bedroom, incidentally.
But what about when the company behind an otherwise viable product bites the dust? Have you hacked your Amp’d phone into something useful, for example? This is a question gamers are starting to ask about MMOs. Namco Bandai Games put Hellgate: London on its servers for free after the demise of Flagship Studios, but it announced they’ll shut it down at the end of January. After that, just like Uru Live, the game will become single-player only.
Asian players are already familiar with MMOs that are free to play but which collect micropayments for upgrades, special abilities, personalization and other premium options. This model is gaining traction in the States, a trend that will only accelerate if many more $60 boxed games leave purchasers playing with themselves.