First ever democracy in a virtual world, future of MMOs

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CCP, publisher of the second largest massively multiplayer online role playing game in the U.S. and Europe, EVE Online, made an announcement today that may change the future of how we play MMOs. They have announced the formation of the Council of Stellar Management (CSM), a democratically governing within their online world, and the first ever of its kind.

“EVE Online has evolved from an MMORPG to a virtual world with a virtual society. It is our role as its caretakers to evolve our approach as well, through economics research, political science or other aspects of operations or development,” said Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP. “A democratic election process of representatives is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. We are bringing a version of that to EVE now with hope of it allowing us to expand EVE Online in a similar way to what we’ve seen on Earth.”

EVE Online has been known for its complex social and economic intricacies, so this seems to be a natural progression for that game. Some games have tried features where players competed to become “King” of their worlds for a time, but a democratic body is something altogether new. Is this just a gimmicky gameplay feature that will turn out to be similar to what we’ve already seen in other MMOs of the past? That may ultimately lie in whether the Council’s decisions have any real real measurable impacts on their virtual world. What do you think, is this innovative game design and something other developers should try in their MMOs or is it a bad idea?

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