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Stephanie Spong
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Stephanie Spong

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Excellent review of a very early alpha test of Everquest Next Landmark.  I share his positive take on the game, having stabbed at the alpha myself over the weekend between server outages.  It's a Minecraft sandbox plus beautiful in that Everquest way.   I do hope they add deeper crafting mechanics as in EQII and Vanguard.  It's SOE!  Surely we can hope!

And, with my business hat on, another brilliant example of getting your fanbase to fund and compete to build your world like Richard Garriott de Cayeux is doing with his Shroud of the Avatar.  

I am curious to see if anyone out there has done any thoughtful estimates on the net impact of doing EQN Landmark on the EQN overall development budget. (Or for Shroud of the Avatar, for that matter.)  Is EQN Landmark a net cost (and therefore a marketing cost/player community engagement strategy to serve the EQN launch) or a net profit initiative (meaning the business model of getting players to build and sell digital assets to EQN and EQN players through SOE is expected to be profitable, not to mention the "crowdfunding" aspect of selling alpha test tickets to Trailblazers and Founders etc).  I would love to hear any thoughts folks have on which of these is more true.  (Privately if you are shy to s t e p h a n i e AT m o k s a v e n t u r e s . c o m.)

I don't have those numbers, and haven't attempted a back-of-the-envelope estimate of what it takes to build out EQN Landmark and all the forums and communication teams, but I would bet it's a win for SOE either way.  I believe player engagement will be higher under both the marketing and profit-seeking scenarios, plus under the net profit scenario there exists the possibility of creating a whole new eco-system of player-developers to build their new EQN world and stock it with a dizzying array of digital assets, while taxing every transaction.  Evil.  Brilliant.  Engaging.  I love it.  

In any case, SOE has to be saving on whatever they used to spend on old-fashioned junior testers, if you can get masses of rabid players to swarm your servers to test very early versions of the game like they did for this alpha.

And I love that the team is getting John Smedley to tweet out about when the servers might be up.  Feels like he cares, and players love that.

Now, would this model work for building, say, crowd-sourced education content?  Crowd-sourced health and wellness content?  It has gotten cheap to build digital asset marketplaces.  What other industries would benefit from creating efficient micro-markets for content assets?  Thoughts, anyone?
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I'm a gamer and a business-savvy geek, founder of Moksa Ventures, a micro venture fund dedicated to building out the game layer.
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