Some of you know that, a while back, I considered Richard Bartle to be a hero of mine of sorts. I don't really do the whole hero thing, so I never actually talked about it, but there was a stretch of time when I liked the guy a lot. He's also alive; this is questionably convenient.
There are a couple others. Raph Koster, for instance, as one of the few people I've actually gone back and forth with who is as willing as I am to dig into theory. Then again, he's also got a couple decades on me, so he's experienced and is a rock star of the game industry, to use Psychochild's words.
So, it won't surprise you that I'm that very pleased he's starting a new company. He intends it to be disruptive, and he's putting it on the boundary of MMOs and Web 2.0. (I tried to look for the quotation that I pulled that from, but I can't find it. I just saw it a second ago!)
Most people picked up on the story because Raph is president, and he dropped a bunch of "Hi, make fun of me now,"s all over the place. Which is fine. But I was more impressed by Corpnews' take: most of the people who ran the announcement also failed miserably to read the list of board members and advisors.
Hey, people, important. Especially in this case.
A solid number of people named the VP. This is good. Only three or four mentioned the advisors. And only two (that I saw) actually realized who they were.
Christopher Allen, of Skotos. The guy is an angel investor, by the way, but he's also the president of Skotos. Skotos is not a small deal. (It is in the MMOGverse, I guess but not in the online games industry.) Fitting.
Bartle. Nothing actually needs to be said. He's on the team. This makes everything better than it was.
Cory Doctorow. Famous name. Decidedly uninvolved in virtual worlds. Significant for Boing Boing, which I don't care about, and speaker for lots of engagements.
Randy Farmer. Randy is like Richard Bartle. He's old. He's cranky. He points out the obvious and reminds us to remember our history because we're wrestling with solved problems. He might not be founder of the genre, but he's a close second. He's also more involved than his partner in crime, Chip Morningstar. No idea what Chip is up to, these days.
And Amy Jo Kim. Online community specialist extraordinaire. Everyone should read Amy Jo Kim. And people have never heard of There.com, but it's "the other Second Life". *smirk*
Frankly, I'd be more surprised if the company takes off and remains at a low altitude. Glancing over the forum replies, I kind of understand. I don't think most people know the significance of these advisors. I mean, while it's fairly standard that an angel investor will sit on your board, the fact that it's Christopher Allen is really, really significant. The presence of Richard Bartle is a very big deal, but adding Randy Farmer more than doubles the size of that big deal. Quite frankly, you can't accidentally reinvent the wheel when they're watching over your shoulder.
And I have a hard time believing that Raph would shut them out. I mean, these are the same people he talks shop with. They know perfectly well what he's building, which is why none of them have said a word, and they've signed off on it by attaching their names to it.
I found where I saw the intersection between Web 2.0 and MMOs blurb. MUD-Dev mailing list.