Warning: the below content is astonishingly obvious stuff that could change the video game industry but just won't unless they gain a truly amazing perception of the obvious.
Here's a software development lesson for you that I thought up while stuck in traffic on the way home today: There are two ways to develop software. Big Bang, and Pay As You Go.
Big Bang involves coding a bunch of stuff and then testing i to see if it works. If it doesn't work, you try and figure out what went wrong, someplace back on line 546 or perhaps line 1234 of your code. Shoot, now I need to change the combination on my luggage... This can apply to coding but it also applies to politics, (making bills for healthcare that are too large for anybody to understand), music (Beethoven wrote and rewrote his works line by line I'm sure) and anything else created that's worthwhile.
Pay As You Go involves lots more testing, testing every step of the way. Seasoned good developers do this all the time. I am sure that, in the code sense, developers in every company do this because its the only way to get done in a reasonable amount of time because if something goes wrong, you know exactly where it is because you JUST wrote it.
Where am I going with this thought? Why is this significant if everyone already does it? Well the thing is, NOBODY does this with testing with consumers (except for perhaps Minecraft which has let everyone buy its alpha product) Now there have been (ahem.. lame. ahem...) reasons for this over the years. But most of it boils down to being steeped in tradition and coddled in safety. Video game companies sell things in huge installments because they want good reviews from the content locusts. If they sold them in small, incremental chunks and adapted to customer feedback, kind of like a service, it would make a lot more sense. (Here comes my tinfoil hat) You would see a lot more success and better funner games in the MMO sphere and a lot less plunking out of what people don't want. Untested, stale, grindy content. I call for a revolution in making games, a common sense revolution. Unless we want most of our MMO's to be like fireworks. Bright for an instant then burn out.