Here’s the Wired blog post:
Opinion: MMOs Need a Wii
Here’s my answer, posted also there as a comment:
Of course you’re right.
AoC rocks, but will be limited by how narrowly focused it is on adult guys. And I don’t think they’ve left themselves enough room to change that over time.
Hardcore gamers don’t want a Wii, and don’t want non-hardcore gamers to exist.
The problem of a Wii-style game is half a game design problem, and half a content problem.
The game design problem means the game has to actually contain within it multiple different ways to play the game, which variously appeal to the range of players. This primarily means the gameplay needs to make room for true casual gamers (note that’s different from “casual players” of current MMOs). Current MMOers call that “dumbing down” – but the point is the game needs to attract and interest and hook true casual gamers. If you think of this demographically, the game might abandon the attempt to hold hardcore MMOers, to better focus on casual gamers. There are way more than 10x as many casual games as hardcore, so this does not have to be a bad business decisions. Note this also has implications for the business model – casual players aren’t going to pay $15 a month as easily as hardcore MMOers do now.
And the content has to be content that appeals to the full range as well – this probably means the content needs to move toward or into the “real” world, because that’s the content humans have the most common interest in. Maybe a known brand could do it. Most everyone here (readers and commentors at the Wired blog) will piffle this, but here’s the answer, if they design it right: