Earlier this week Raph Koster, founder of Holoportation, told me something that has been on my mind a lot. He said that the best way to create a truly metaverse is to take a very small piece of it and then release it into a larger environment. He also mentioned that the only way to have a truly metaverse is to have a subset of the world that is connected to a metaverse without any limits to what you can do or transfer to other people in the metaverse. In other words, you create a region of the world that is shared by everyone in the metaverse and allow people to transfer items from the shared region back to their own region.

On Wednesday, Raph Koster—the creator and lead designer behind the highly successful online gaming MMORPG Ultima Online— made a statement to his company’s employees, and the Internet at large, that hinted at the possibility of a massive, massive new online gaming experience.

Before the days of MMOs and persistent worlds, video games were episodic, taking place in a single, linear world. Then we got the world of online games and MMORPGs, in which we can play different characters and in which we can move between servers. For the past 10 years, the world of video games has been shaped in these ways, and we’ve seen the birth of the MMORPG and the massive online games we know today. 2.5 – Introduction / Recap

No screenshots yet, obviously.

Whether you’ve been listening to businesses like Epic Games yammer about the “metaverse” for the past year and wondering if it’s all just a bunch of gibberish, you should read up, and who better to provide that reading than someone who actually created and managed one? MMO developer Raph Koster is one among them, and on the Playable Worlds dev blog for the unnamed MMORPG sandbox he and other Playable Worlds developers are working on, he’s written a post attempting to clarify the word – and going all the way back to 1978 to do it.

He continues, “Online worlds lead to multiverses, which lead to metaverses.” “At the moment, almost no one has real metaverses to offer.” Fortnite, which he claims is a social or creative world; MMORPGs, which come under the game world category; and even LegendMUD, which provided various activities that were simply “extras” when you were bored of murderhoboing, are examples of things that aren’t metaverses. He doesn’t utilize that phrase. Koster would never do such a thing.

“A multiverse would be the next step up from here. You see, almost every graphical online world has a same visual motif. Is bouncing between shards of the same game all there is to it? That’s simply balancing the strain on your playerbase, not creating a multiverse. There are many distinct worlds linked in a network in a genuine multiverse, none of which have a common theme or set of laws. This allows you to jump between quite diverse worlds, each with its own unique set of experiences. […] A metaverse is the future’s dream. A metaverse is a multiverse that is more connected to the actual world. Most definitions contain substantial augmented reality components, such as strolling through a real city while seeing virtual objects. It involves virtual reality shopping in real shops. If you take courses, it’s possible that you’ll be in a class with a mix of virtual and real participants. You may do a work entirely in virtual space and get paid real money for it. It combines the actual and virtual worlds. It may still contain worlds that are interactive games, social worlds, and creative worlds. However, it also contains worlds that are digital replicas of the actual world (known as’mirror worlds,’) as well as things that don’t even resemble worlds.”

Of course, you’re wondering whether Playable Worlds is creating a multiverse at this point. While he doesn’t reveal, he pledges to go into more detail in a future blog, and he leaves the reader with a big clue: “The company’s name is a hint.”


This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • raph koster playable worlds
  • raph koster new mmo
  • raph koster theory of fun
  • raph koster ultima online
  • raph koster star wars galaxies
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