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Reader Comments (8)

Posted: Jul 17th 2008 8:47AM Arkanaloth said

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I think there is.. since no game is really everything to everyone. I love GW's instancing.. some people hate it. I think "click to move" is the spawn of chaotic control-hating devils... others seem to prefer it (how I have no idea...) So yeah there is an MMO flood especially since developers want to create the next WoW (in terms of sub numbers) but this flood of MMO's means there's probably something out there for everyone. Besides, mega-huge player populations mean nothing really if it's not fun, so yeah there's room for them all to co-exist. Unless you try to actively *play* them all... that is..

Posted: Jul 17th 2008 8:24AM (Unverified) said

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As someone that has a home game with a small playerbase, DDO, I think it's pretty clear that there is room for these niche games. The key for a game that is going for a niche market is to simply have something that is strange and compelling. DDO wouldn't exist anymore if it were an everquest adaptation like Vanguard, WoW, LoTRO ect. It genuinely offers something different. For games that don't, well, I don't think they have much in the way of profit.

Posted: Jul 17th 2008 9:09AM (Unverified) said

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Absolutely, there has to be something unique about the game that will 1) attract people and then the gameplay has to 2) keep them. For many titles, the attraction comes from a franchise (LOTRO, for example), or just being the only / best title of a given genre (CoH, for example). That's not enough though, or SWG and PotCO would be knocking on WoW's door. On the other hand, it's not enough to be a very playable, fun game (insert your favorite failed MMO here... mine is Matrix Online).

As for that list of 150 upcoming MMO's... I think it's realistic to think that there are probably, really only maybe 25 MMOs scheduled for 2008 to 2012 that will actually be mainstream titles. And almost all of those are games based on either a known franchise, or one of the titles being developed by Very Famous Developers (SOE, Bioware, Big Huge, 38 Studios, etc). There's a slim chance that a game might squeak past those restrictions like EVE Online did, but... it's super duper slim.

Posted: Jul 17th 2008 9:31AM (Unverified) said

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Maybe the market isn't oversaturated as such, but rather normalizing. I don't think WoW numbers are feasible anymore now MMOs have become such a mainstream thing, but that doesn't mean games with less subscribers are doing bad.

The real problem I see for the genre is to break out of the current mold. With the exception of a niche game or two, there's so many games out there doing the same thing in hopes of sharing in the success of others.. it helps initial sales while people are looking for a new game to play, I wonder what it'll do to long-term subscriber numbers.

This happens with other types of videogames as well of course, but they're on a different business model and they're single releases, whereas (to me) the attractiveness of MMOs is that they're long-term propositions.

I still say that for a fresh, well-executed product this won't matter though it may be challenging to catch the public's eye if you're starting from scratch (which is probably why so many are using existing IPs). As for the rest of the market, if you can make a profit with enough left over to keep your playerbase happy, isn't that a success?

Posted: Jul 17th 2008 11:06AM (Unverified) said

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Looks like most agree: The more choices, the more likely you can find a good match.

However, my biggest concern will be when there are too many to keep a profit with the divided market share. I hope that my current choice (LOTRO) will have enough customers to stay open a while.

Posted: Jul 17th 2008 11:23AM Scopique said

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Oversaturated? No. But for all participants to be able to really have a shot, at this point, I think they have to aim lower. A developer can spend millions of dollars to create a AAA list game, which would put it in contention with WoW, EQ2, EVE, etc., which will then require high population to just break even.

Smaller games, like Rune Quest, Dufus, etc., can be made of far less cash, meaning that they have less risk and can not only break even with fewer subscribers, but might actuall become profitable with fewer subscribers. I don't think there will ever be a cap for games of this caliber, but I think we might be tapped out on AAA list, big budget titles.

Posted: Jul 17th 2008 11:43AM (Unverified) said

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There are always new people joining the MMO subscriber base, so the number of subscribers will continue to grow, they will just be split up a little more. There really are plenty to go around.

WoW was Blizzard's ticket to just print money but that doesn't mean every MMO has to reach that level to be profitable. The downside to so many MMO's is that some of the lower budget models will probably keep their live team to a minimum to increase profits and end up hurting content and bug fixes.

Posted: Jul 18th 2008 11:12AM (Unverified) said

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Niche games are big money in the secondary market. A diverse market is a healthy one. Additionally, this might spread out the influences of farming a bit instead of resulting in the super concentrations that we've grown used to. The impact will lessen and the noise will go into the background.

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