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September 27, 2006 / conceptbin

How do you pronounce MMORPG?

Mike Butcher of has invited me to speak at the My So-Called 2nd Life event, organized by NMK. Mike will be leading presentations and discussion on the business, culture and evolution of synthetic worlds as media platforms.

My own contribution will focus on entrepreneurship, e-learning and education. I’ll blog more about it closer to the event (anyone who tells you they plan presentations weeks in advance is lying), but I predict it will draw heavily on experience and ideas that come from working on the Upstart project.

Whatever ends up as the main point, I’ll definitely kvetch a little about the words we have for environments like World of Warcraft, Second Life, and (from my native Reykjavik) Eve Online.

Have you tried pronouncing “MMORPG”? It looks like a rude word in Klingon. I’ve seen “MUVE” (multi-user virtual environment) around, but try using it in a sentence (“Second life is a social MUVE, not a violent one”). I like the term “synthetic worlds,” which comes from the economist Edward Castronova. He writes about online environments in accessible, acronym-free English in his book Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games (2005), and in this article, and I wholeheartedly recommend his work to anyone who wants to understand the economics of buying an EverQuest magic sword on eBay with US dollars.

I’ll try to present in plain English, but I’ll be practicing my Klingon pronunciation of MMORPG just in case.



Leave a Comment
  1. Esther / Oct 17 2006 10:17 am

    Mor-Peg. At least, that’s what I’m going to say and hope no one looks at me as if I’m the Klingon in the room.


  2. gauti / Oct 17 2006 12:02 pm

    Thanks for that Esther – a phonetically elegant solution. Still, it sounds like some enhanced type of mpeg rather than a game. I look forward to seeing you at the NMK seminar.



  3. Roo Reynolds / Oct 25 2006 2:59 pm

    I reckon Esther got away with it. Those of us who had never heard it pronounced “mor-peg” soon assumed we were just unfamiliar with the latest trend. 🙂 Although it takes forever to say I still seem to stick with “em-em-oh-arr-pee-gee”.

    Nice to meet you both there by the way.

  4. Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson / Oct 26 2006 2:20 am

    I think the full “em-em-oh-arr-pee-gee” is the most common pronounciation, but it’s interesting to consider other terms. About 10 years ago the term “Distributed Virtual Environment” (DVE or “deevee”) was used quite alot, but may have sounded too technical for the game world. The term “Virtual Worlds” was also very popular in the early VR community (and was the name of a very active Usenet group on the topic), while the term doesn’t necessarily imply shared access, the vision was firmly rooted in the ideas of a global network. Speaking of a vision: How about “Cyberspace”, “Metaverse” or “Matrix”?


  1. What’s Next? » Blog Archive » NMK conference: “My so-called 2nd life”

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