World of Warcraft, Fantasy, City of Heroes, EverQuest, Business Models, Culture, Economy, Opinion, Second Life, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Free Realms, Wizard101, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Vindictus, The Soapbox
I think we're all pretty familiar with the tragic story of 38 Studios by now. If not, take some time to familiarize yourself with it. Essentially it is a tale of massive dreams, botched plans, and hundreds of job losses. I'm not yet sure exactly what went wrong, but I have a feeling that the lackluster response to the studio's stand-alone title might be to blame on top of the poor performance in the high-end of the company. Either way, I have seen many comments exclaiming the end of the big-budget title or at least more trepidation from governments that feel the need to get into a game (no pun intended) they were unfamiliar with.
If we could take a poll of the several million "AAA" MMO players in North America, it's my bet that most of them simply go from one title to the other. The RIFT players who are now enjoying Star Wars: The Old Republic came from World of Warcraft, and before that (if they played MMOs before WoW) they might have been City of Heroes fans and EverQuest players before that. For a long time, large studios held all of the players. Then, AAA started rolling down the steep hill to where it is now.