What is an MMO?

Today’s Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (“MMO’s”) evolved from text-based role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons.  They began for the most part in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, when various individuals, like Richard A. Bartle, co-creator of MUD (the first multi-user dungeon), engaged in online role-playing game behavior.  The online text-based commands and prompts allowed the players to act out various fantasies without the close proximity requirement which was inherent in the earlier written and oral role-playing gaming forms.  As the online technology grew, so did the nature and complexity of the interactive games, including the addition of videogame graphics to the text-based game elements.  In the 1990’s the current state of online MMOs began offering a real-time socially interactive component that was not available on traditional offline console gamming.  While the physical space and landscape is simulated in the virtual environment of today, the social interactions are for the most part real, since virtual characters or “Avatars” in the digital world are generally controlled and operated by a real person and not just by strict computer code.