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A persistent-state world (PSW) is a virtual gaming environment that continues to change even after a user has logged off. Persistent-state worlds follow their own internal clock, and events continue to unfold even when no gamers are interacting with the game. This term is often used in massively multiplayer online role-playing games.
Persistent-state world is also known as persistent world (PW).
There are different degrees of persistent-state world. With multiplayer online games this may refer to many players logging on and playing on different schedules. Events impacting a player directly (such as a major change in the game or how it is played) or indirectly (competitors reaching higher levels) will surely happen while some players are absent.
Persistent-state games emerged in the early 2000s, when the prices of bandwidth decreased and better, more affordable computer hardware emerged.