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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 while the gamer is logged off, which can impact the gameplay when the gamer returns.
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.
Other games take a more literal approach to PSW and give the game world a regular schedule of day and night or advance certain game elements based on elapsed time between gaming sessions. PSWs are intended to provide a more intensely involved experience for the gamer and encourage playing on a regular basis.