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WOW passes "the Bushnell Threshold"

Atari founder's son gives up; it's all over.

As well as knocking Atari in his interview with Gamasutra, Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and creator of Pong, has declared that MMO mega-hit World of Warcraft has just passed "the Bushnell Threshold".

The Bushnell Threshold, he explained, is passed when his sons lose interest in a videogame - something his eldest has just done with WOW. Bushnell was saying that he thinks WOW will leave a vacuum in mass-market gaming when it eventually runs out of steam.

"I don't see anything being worked on to replace that when it burns itself out, which it ultimately will," said the entrepreneur, soon to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio in a film. "In fact, World of Warcraft just passed what I call the Bushnell Threshold.

"The Bushnell Threshold is... I watch my sons, and because they're my sons, they tend to start things at the beginning, or sometimes a little bit before," Bushnell clarified. "So they play and play and play and play, and all of a sudden, they don't play any more. They stayed with World of Warcraft for a long time.

"My older son all of a sudden got Mage 72 or whatever it is and quit. All at once. Cold turkey. I didn't think it was going to happen. And my 14-year-old is getting close to there, which is surprising."

Bushnell is often called the Father of Videogames, which presumably would make his sons the Brothers of Videogames, perhaps explaining the prophetic importance attached to their playing habits.

"Who's going to take [Blizzard's] place?" Bushnell mused. "I don't see any intelligence out there that is looking to do anything other than another 'level up your character by cutting and slashing,' which I believe is the metric that's over," he said.

Perhaps he hasn't heard of Lego Universe, Free Realms, APB or The Agency yet.

About the Author
Oli Welsh avatar

Oli Welsh


Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.

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