New online games being developed by EA.com, the online division of Electronic Arts, are becoming so interactive you not only play the game, you are a part of the game. EA.com has teamed up with AOL to provide possibly the most interactive online game of all, Majestic. To register, you enter your age, e-mail address, AOL screen name and phone number. Not only can you play the game online, but you will also receive instant messages, e-mails, faxes, and phone calls regarding this online scavenger hunt. Becoming the only game provider for AOL was an expensive deal for EA. The company will pay an $81 million minimum to AOL. However, EA's current revenue from their first online game, Ultima, will not be enough to cover the fees due to AOL. To compensate, EA will also offer other popular games such as NASCAR Racing, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Web Golf, and Knockout Kings Boxing for $4.99/month. Other games EA is developing are Sims Live and Sims Online. Sims Live combines instant!.
messaging with 3-D animated characters, and Sims Online allows players to compete to become the most popular, rich, or powerful. Sims online, like Majestic, will also incorporate instant messages and e-mail. According to the author of the article, these games could turn online gaming into the next mass medium.
As a person who only uses the internet for email and occasional research, I do not see the appeal of online games in general. Making a game that interrupts your everyday life as opposed to supplying a break from it brings bigger issues to my mind. Many people use the internet, as well as other media, to escape from the sometimes harsh reality of our lives. However, when the TV, radio, or computer goes off, we are brought back to reality. Some people however, seem to lose touch with reality at some point and do not fully understand the difference between what they saw on TV or the game they played on the internet, and the real world.