Fans control online games, MIP delegates learn

Fans control online games, MIP delegates learn

Companies may create online games, but the fans ultimately control them, Hilmar Petursson, CEO of CCP Games, told a conference on community entertainment today.

Demonstrating his Eve Online massively multiplayer sci-fi online game, which has 300,000 players – equal to the population of Iceland where his company is based – he said he had to scan the fansites to find out what users were doing in the virtual world CCP had created.

He could also read the Eve magazines, which have 10,000 subscribers at $15 a time. Right from the start, he said, the behaviour of players had been surprising. They had grouped into nationalities to colonise the lawless outer reaches of Eve’s space galaxies, and 2,000 Russians had attacked 3,000 Scandinavians. “The Russians couldn’t understand why they weren’t winning until they found out that the Americans were secretly funding the Scandinavians. It wasn’t until the Russians got the French to attack the Americans and cut their supply line that they won.”

Catherine Warren, founder and president of FanTrust Entertainment Strategies, said Yahoo! had found online creatives were a minority – 89% of its video users were just watchers, 10% reversioned material and only 1% created content. But that content could be potent: Obama Girl drew 200 million views and turned its star into an overnight celebrity.

Ericsson’s Volvo Ocean Race had three times as many fans following the virtual version as were tracking the real thing. Frank van Oirschot, CCO of ExMachina, said TV was still the dominant entertainment platform but in decline, so broadvasters need to realise they can create cross-platform content at very little cost and potentially substantial gain.