Panel at NetGames 2011 about the future of MMO research.
Cheating (no control of the client-side) and performance (weakest node performance conditions the other nodes' performance) are issues in p2p architectures. I could p2p when I play with friends, but not competitively. Even with friends, the developer has no control over the network, NAT traversal problem. Potential solutions: match-making on server, then one peer hosts the game. If host disconnects, the game migrates to another peer. Problem: how to partition and replicate the game world between peers?
How to integrate scaling into game mechanics?
Researchers can get data from companies if they show that it is worth the company's time (taken to fetch and anonymize data).
Problems shared across p2p, client-server and cloud architectures: scalability, cheating, latency, concurrency, synchronization, and replication.
Using the cloud is cheap for small user bases, but very expensive for very large user bases.
Casual Connect and GDC Online are industry conferences that also deal with network and system support for MMOs. But they're expensive.