The hosts of Warcast feel this was the result of the way traditional gaming media thinks about MMOGs. Says "Renata," "[MMOGs] are meant to be played in different ways by different people. In an [MMOG], you've got tons of different ways you can take the game. You can get into crafting, you can get into raiding, you can be a more casual player, you can do tons of alts [alternate characters], you can log in just every once in a while. There are so many ways to play the game - we don't struggle with finding content. Bigger sites don't live the game the way that we do."
So, podcasters are playing these games for hours on end, pouring their heart into their shows; you'd think they'd have their minds on their pocketbook. Instead, passion for the subject matter seems to be the primary motivation for the most successful podcasters. If anything, getting money involved would make it less fun. As soon as money comes into the picture, so do schedules and forced production windows. "We work to a schedule that suits our need not to burn out," says Starman. Cyanbane agrees: "We wanted every show to have lots of content; no regular schedule allows us the freedom to address news as it's released."
It's this interest in keeping the podcast content fresh that prevents hosts from committing to the idea of a podcast-for-pay. Shawn would need to expand beyond his current setup to feel challenged by podcasting for a living. "If I had the opportunity to do podcasting, let's just say podcasting in general as a career, I would not only do GuildCast more often. ... I have so many ideas for other podcasts in my head right now, it's not even funny."
While there may not be money in independent podcasting, the medium is becoming very popular with interests who have already made a sale. SOE's Crosby, when asked if he'd be podcasting even if it wasn't a part of his job description, just laughed. "Actually, when we created the community department, there were no plans for a podcast. It came about because two of my community managers decided they wanted to try it. So they put together the first one, which we [called] podcast beta, and it grew from there. So this was never something that was mandated, we just did it because we love what we do, we love the communities." Beyond SOE's walls, companies like EA Mythic are turning to expensive podcasts to excite gamers about their upcoming products.
With that trend in mind, it was interesting to hear what the hosts had to say about the future. Brent and the VirginWorlds site are already paving the way, banding together with several other shows to form the VirginWorlds Collective. "There are people who guided me along the path to figure out what this whole podcast thing was. ... Now that VirginWorlds is pushing 70 shows, there are several new waves of podcasters coming up behind me, pointing at me as an example. People ask me all the time, 'How do I get started?' and I got the idea to start this co-op or collective of podcasts. The podcasters would own everything; I'm not trying to sell ads, I'm just trying to build a community. That's what VirginWorlds is about." As established shows reach back to aid up and coming hosts, it's easy to see the hosts' dedication to the community isn't one-way.