The Cosm (Magicosm) Saga

Here is a tale which demonstrates how great dreams can turn to dust; and also an example of how not to do things on the Internet!

Cosm, later known as Magicosm was a multiuser role-playing game involving dungeons, dragons, fantasy and social interaction which was way ahead of its time back in 2000; a long long time ago in Internet terms. Perhaps the first mistake the developers made was to release it in it's raw state and gradually add more functionality, whilst inviting anyone who wishes do so to contribute code or ideas. The idea was to develop the game until such a time as investors could be brought in, after which the finance would allow development to proceeds at a much greater rate than before. Not a bad idea at all, assuming that all the time in the world was available. Although there was tremendous interest in the game there were a lot of bugs and progress was extremely slow since the developers had other projects to consider, not least of all making a living! However after a couple of years code was being written all over the world and Sun Microsystems and expressed an interest in assisting with developing it on the Java platform! The future looked rosy; but unfortunately the rest of the world was not standing still. World of Warcraft came out; a game which, although quite primitive by today's standards was head and shoulders above anything that Magicosm was likely to aspire to in the foreseeable future. Dreams of future financing faded away and the project came to a sudden and abrupt end.


What lessons can we learn from this? The first is that if you have an innovative idea the last thing you should do is to tell everyone on the Internet about it because there are other people out there who just might possibly be able to produce a better product than you can. The second lesson is not only to get your product perfected before you launch it, but also to do so as quickly as possible so as to grab a market before your competitors take it. The third and possibly most painful lesson is that when it comes to competition, the ones with the deepest pockets have got a huge head start over those trying to make progress on a shoestring.

This is not to say that there is no room for penniless innovators on the Internet; things are changing daily and there is no doubt that in five years time the web will be a completely different animal than it is now! Competition however is intensifying constantly and, as in every jungle, only the strongest will survive.

Copyright 2009 cosm-game.com