MMOG: An Overview of the Massively Multiplayer Online Game Phenomenon

Main Page - Introduction
Contexts for Libraries
What are MMOGs?
The Development of MMOGs
Issues and Discourses
Works Cited
About the Author


        Computer gaming has become a tour-de-force in the global entertainment market. The promise of fun, adventure, stress relief, and the acquisition of virtual glory tempts an ever-increasing number of people to experiment with a wide variety of games and game technology. Considering the variety of games that exist and the huge number of devoted players wanting to deepen their in-game experience, it is little wonder that one of the fastest developing genres of game-play is the Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)*. These games have been blossoming in number and complexity, etching their way into the public eye as a form of entertainment worthy of study and consideration as a serious topic of inquiry. With this increase in publicity, however, questions as to the negative affect of MMOGs have also come to the forefront. Popular opinions - both positive and negative - are formed, but rarely is the actual nature of the MMOG understood by any except the most dedicated of players. In order to better understand the impact of MMOGs on the computer gaming industry, those interested in this style of play must have basic knowledge of the MMOG genre: what it is, how it has developed, and some of the current issues and discourses surrounding this form of entertainment.

* There are several variances on this name based primarily around sub-genres, such as Massive Multiplayer Online Role Play Games (MMORPG), Mobile Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMMOG) for those games played on mobile devices such as cell phones, Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooters (MMOFPS), and Massively Multiplayer Online Real-Time Strategy (MMORTS). These distinctions may be very important to the some players, as many players become loyal to one or two sub-genres. Furthermore, it should be noted that the term 'massively multiplayer' is relative. The number of players that one server or game can support at a time may not even compare to the player capacity of another game with a different game system and play style.

Created by Lauren de Bruin
School of Library and Information Studies
University of Alberta
Last updated on March 8, 2006.