D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Are MMORPG's killing the gaming industry?

Saturday, June 24, 2006 10:38 AM

Interesting article on Grimwell Online (linked from Slashdot...no clue what-the-hell Grimwell is, but interesting article nonetheless) about whether MMORPG's are taking away from the rest of the gaming market, which is considered in a slump here in 2006.

They list a few key facts about the currents state of afairs:

  1. The video game industry is in a slump this year.
  2. People expect the slump to end in 2006, when the rest of the 'next gen' consoles hit the market.
  3. PC sales aren't in a slump – they are ahead of the game.
  4. The top two PC games are MMORPG's.
  5. People who play MMORPG's have less of a need to buy new games each month.

I don't think the industry is in a slump as much as I don't think there are as many quality games coming out, and/or the number of games coming out isn't enough to satisfy all the genre's out there. Isn't it interesting that (Point #2) when you hear talk of the 'next gen' consoles, specifically the Wii, the talk isn't about how awesome the new games will be...its all about how awesome it'll be to play the OLD games. Why? Well, nostalgia for one, but also I think because gamers are starved for choice, and over 10 years of Nintendo's library offers alot of choice.

The XBox 360, although I love the system, has been a huge disapointment to me games wise. I'm looking forward to Madden 2007 (well, as much as I can look forward to a football game that will never be as good as NFL 2KX and with the stupid QB look feature...which they better make optional and turn off by default for this release btw), but there's not really alot of games coming out that have me excited. I'll be hitting EB today to trade in some games, and I think I might just end up getting another computer game instead of trying to figure out which of the current 360 titles interests me the most.

Point number 5 is bang on, but for the consumer its not seen as a bad thing. Take WoW. You have quest upon quest to do, you have the community of players around you to play with, and there's new content being added regularly. Meanwhile, EA wants you to buy NFL Head Coach so you can create your team just in time to import it into Madden 2007 (um, wasn't the franchise and coaching management pieces already IN Madden at one point? CASH GRAB!). So let's compare:

A game that allows you to get new content regularly, or a game that is finite and you need to purchase new games that may or may not extend the current one.

Looks like the subscription model might work best for games going forward after all. Anyway, interesting article. What are your thoughts?



# re: Are MMORPG's killing the gaming industry?

Frankly, I always thought that a truly killer game would be a 3D Mario game a la 64 or Sunshine but that gradually expanded and unified the in-game world on an infinite basis. For example, let's say that there are mountains in the distance on 1 level that you can't get to, but in 6 months time there are ways to access them and whole levels worth of content up there! 6/24/2006 12:38 PM | Justice~!

# re: Are MMORPG's killing the gaming industry?

Not a bad idea Justice. It's been awhile since I've played a MMORG (dropped them when I got married and we had kids) but I know I fell into the crowd who didn't play 20+ hours a week so my issue wasn't new content, it took me forever to finish the initial content.

But hasn't there been a fair number of add-ons that give new content? I'm not sure how often they've been released though. And didn't Star Wars Galaxy promise to deliver new content in order to push a story line forward.

A buddy of mine has written an interesting article titled "An Opinionated Article on End-Level Massively Multiplayer Online Game Design"

You can find his musing here http://john-home.dyndns.org/essays.html 6/25/2006 6:07 PM | Jason Row

# re: Are MMORPG's killing the gaming industry?

With WoW, there's only one real "add on" that's being relesed soon, but they've been updating content and adding new quests, dungeons, etc. as part of the subscription service...nothing else to purchase.

Whereas some other mmorpg's are doing the "sell add ons seperately" type of thing (Dark Age of Camelot for example).

Star Wars Galaxy...what a train wreck...so much promise, but just kind of crumbled...although there's still alot of people playing it to keep it going I guess. They're big release was the space add on, which allowed players to travel to different planets and what not.

D 6/25/2006 8:46 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: Are MMORPG's killing the gaming industry?

Personally, I'm lucky if I can scrape together more than a few hours a week to play so, no MMORGs for me. I find it too dull an experience to waste time farming, trying to gain exp and lvls until I can have some real fun. Lineage was terrible for this while WOW is a little better. 6/28/2006 8:41 AM | Brian

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