Over at MMOG Nation Michael tries to answer the question of why Everquest 2 remains an underdog in the MMO market despite numerous updates and improvements to the game by SOE. And I've got to say I agree with his answer -- whether we're talking about Everquest 2, Lord of the Rings Online, or even Star Wars Galaxies (do people still play that game?). Despite how good other games may be, if all of your friends play World of Warcraft, I bet you're going to be playing World of Warcraft, too.
While MMOGCHART hasn't been updated in nearly a year now, their last set of data breaking down the number of active subscribers maintained by all of the major MMOs at the time showed World of Warcraft holding over 50% of the market, leaving a dozen games to split the remaining half of the market. And just looking at my circle of friends, all of them play World of Warcraft -- a couple of them play Everquest on the side, several of us play Lord of the Rings Online as well, and one dabbles in the world of Final Fantasy. But if I want to hang out with all of my friends, I've got to log on to World of Warcraft. So how's the next big thing going to break into the market when all of my friends -- and probably yours -- play WoW? I'm guessing it won't be able to simply be a Warcraft-alike, but be something so far beyond World of Warcraft today that it will draw in the same mass of subscribers WoW did in its initial release.
So what do you think the next big thing will be in the MMO market -- or is it so far off that we'll all just be playing a different Blizzard game by then? (I'm still waiting on World of Starcraft, thank you very much!