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Posts with tag mmo-industry

MMOs don't work in the US says Take-Two Interactive


At the Cowen and Company Technology, Media and Telecom Conference this week, Take-Two Interactive's chairman Strauss Zelnick told crowds that MMOs just don't work in North America. "How many MMOs have been successful in the US?" Strauss mused. "Two: World of Warcraft and EverQuest." This is why Take-Two is focusing on Asian markets for its own massively multiplayer games and why, Zelnick suggested (without mentioning anyone by name), Blizzard had to reboot development of their own Project Titan.

However, while WoW's numbers have had a much-ballyhooed decline, its current 8.3 million subscribers is nothing to sneeze at. But does America's poor track record with MMOs mean Titan is doomed before it's even managed to get a release date? Zelnick and Take-Two seem fairly certain MMOs don't have a future, but we intend to wait and see.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Giving up on conquering WoW

Backhand of Justice has an interesting post up about something we've considered for a long time: who will overtake World of Warcraft. Way back before this year started, game developers were challenged to come up with an MMO that could take on WoW's influence and popularity, and while there have certainly been some interesting MMOs announced and released (Star Wars: The Old Republic, which isn't out yet, and Aion, which is, are probably most in the forefront at the moment), it just hasn't happened. WoW is still the juggernaut it's been for almost the full five years, and with Cataclysm coming in 2010, that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.

So now, two months from the end of 2009, let's just say it: it's not possible. World of Warcraft is an aberration, an extremely well-made game that happened to be in just the right time and place (the casual game explosion, the adoption of MMOs and subscription model gaming, the "mainstreaming" of fantasy/sci-fi geekiness) to become an uber megahit. In short, game developers simply can't recreate WoW, at least not on purpose. As BoJ says, that doesn't mean they can't try -- there are certainly lots of original and interesting games and MMOs out there, and it's completely possible to be an MMO that isn't WoW-sized and be successful. But as for the actual question of beating WoW and its worldwide audience, game developers have pretty much moved on.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

EA: You don't need $1 billion to compete with WoW


You just need $100 million to beat it. No, we're kidding -- after Activizzard founder Bobby Kotick's presumptuous statement a few months ago that any game company would need at least half a billion dollars to challenge World of Warcraft, EA/Mythic's Mark Jacobs has responded in kind on the eve of their big Warhammer Online release, telling MTV Multiplayer that the number is closer to around $100 million. And that they spent less than that on their big MMO.

We'll be realistic here: we don't think anyone believes, including EA, that WoW's numbers are attainable for another MMO coming out this year -- even Blizzard believes that eventually WoW will go by the wayside, but as Jacobs says, anyone releasing a game today isn't just competing with WoW, they're competing with WoW and Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. And no matter how long your development cycle or how big your budget, you can't compete with three years of people working around the clock to make the game better for live players.

But EA does want to be successful, and Jacobs says success for him would mean upwards of half a million players. Six months from now, he says, if Warhammer is folding servers and not adding them, the writing is on the wall. There's no reason to think that will be the case, of course -- Warhammer looks like a great game led by one of the biggest publishers in the world supporting one of the best MMO developers, and it's about as close to guaranteed a success gets in the MMO space. But even Mythic would say WoW stands on its own -- while WoW is running, it's highly unlikely we'll see any MMO come anywhere near its 10 million total subscribers.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

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