Browse other gaming articles
Updated: 29 Sep 2020 22:57
PBBG's: A Historic Perspective
I'm afraid that for the most part, the usage of the acronym "PBBG" has reached its peak. Though it is still in use, it is to a lesser degree than when it was initially coined as a term to describe Browser MMO's. The problem does not stem from lack of interest alone, but from the improper use of curation by developers, publishers, and gamers. These days, the line between an application based MMO versus a browser based PBBG is blurry. This is due in part to the rise of all things mobile. It is true that there is still a distinction, but it is also true that gamers are thinking less about those distinctions, even if some developers still embrace them. However, I do believe that the term will persist for those individuals that wish to keep their searches refined, and for those that wish to target PBBG fans.
In January of 2007, browser based MMO's were incredibly popular and there was a lot of discussion about how to classify them to make it easier to find them when compared to other games. This was due primarily to their ever rising popularity and the need to distinguish them apart from application based MMO's. Most of these discussions took place on the old onrpg.com website which was, back then, a haven for budding developers connecting with other developers, as well as gamers.
At the time, the name that I was suggesting was "PBRPG" which stood for "Persistent Browser Based RPG" as well as "PBRTS" to identify strategy games played in a browser. Being a multi-massive game was assumed. The site you are on now, though it has changed over the years, reflected my preference with the URL bprpg.wikidot.com, which has since then changed more than once. Another contender with his own idea for a naming convention coined the acronym "PBBG" and thereafter bought the domain pbbg.com. Since he was willing to spend a whopping $10 on a .com, everyone kowtowed to the convention as the new standard for defining browser MMO's. I too accepted the new convention and renamed my site to pbbg.wikidot.com.
Interest in PBBG's reached a peak in July 2008 and then steadily declined until about 2011 and has remained somewhat steady since then.
My First Wikidot Site
My little pbbg site was the first wikidot site I built, back in 2007. Fast forward to 2017, and now I've built… (digging through my portfolio) 74 wikidot sites and 44 are still running. Despite a decline in the popularity of PBBG's as a viable genre, I have not been able to bring myself to delete my site and over the years it has morphed from pbrpg.wikidot.com to pbbg.wikidot.com and 10 years later to illumiblocki.com (that's another story) only to finally settle on the current domain: pbbglab.com.
These days, my interest in PBBG's remains the same but I don't have as much time available to find new great PBBG's as I once did. In the early days I might take a break from my site that lasted a month, now I take breaks that can take a good year and then do big updates all at once. But on occasion someone will Submit a PBBG for me to check out.
As far as I know, I believe that my site was one of the first, if not the first to focus specifically on PBBG's only, but using the term PBRPG. The idea wasn't unique however as there were already a lot of sites dedicated to listing MUDS and in some cases, MUD's were played in a browser (moreso today). Over time, a lot of other sites popped up and listed every known PBBG out there, no matter how terrible, and there were a lot of terrible PBBG's that were nothing more than a learning experience for student developers that had no real interesting in seeing it through. So I changed my approach and focused on listing only the top browser based MMO's. That concept persists to this day.
What Does The Future Hold?
I'll explain it this way. This article is in reply to an email I received from the developer over at pbbg.com. He asked me about the history and future of this site. What you've read so far was my email response to him. However, after taking the time to type up a reply, I decided that that I wanted this content on my site, rather than his. (Sorry FoohonPie).
So even though I recognize a decline in the interest of PBBG's, to include the number of quality games, the number of sites talking about them, and the number of users looking for them, I still have no plans to abandon it and it's nice to see others taking up the torch here and there. This site has loyal fans that still check in a few times a year to see if I have any new PBBG's listed. They don't represent a large fan-base, but what they lack in quantity, they endure with quality. So this site will remain for them, and for myself, as well as for new sites that continue to reference my Mammoth PBBG List for inclusion on their own sites.