The future is sandbox, and I can’t wait. The announcement that Everquest Next will be a sandbox confirms what many of us in the blogging game have been thinking for some time; the era of the theme-park is over, let the time of the sandbox begin. I have been following the Pathfinder Online game development closely, and this announcement from Everquest just confirms that Pathfinder were correct to get their foot in the door early. As Ryan Dancey the CEO of Pathfinder Online said on their forum today;

“… From what Smed says, it sounds like they’re at least two years out, minimum. He’s promising that next year they’ll show work in progress but they don’t have anything to show this year.

That’s about what I expected when I first pitched Pathfinder Online to Lisa last year; that there’s a window open right now for a great fantasy sandbox MMO but it won’t stay open forever.

I think the net effect of more companies coming into the space is more awareness getting raised about why sandboxes are a fundamentally better way to play an MMO than the Theme parks were. And that does nothing but help us, so that makes me pretty happy …”

I’m quite certain that other companies will jump on the bandwagon as well. While I couldn’t possibly tell you which game I’ll end up playing, what I am hopeful of is at least one company getting it right. Whether that turns out to be WoW huge or niche game market, either way it’s good for me.