The Future of MMOs? (Part 1)

Part 1 of a 2 part series... Is "Uncle Grimmy" a paragon of perspicacity and a pugnacious pundit? Or is he an out of touch old windbag who screams "Get off my lawn" at all the new kids on the MMO block?
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My last column at Massively contained a list of “cold hard truths” for the future of MMO gaming.  I thought it might be interesting to revisit those statements and see if I have gained wisdom over the years, or if I’m just an out-of-touch old fart who is screaming the online equivalent of “GET OFF MY LAWN!!!”

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So, in reverse order, for no discernible reason at all…

10) MMORPGs would be better off targeting groups of players rather than individuals. 

HIT: Many of these predictions are worth their own columns, but the short version of this is that Communities Build Games That Last.  Particularly with MMOs, if you have a group of people that you know and play with regularly, you will tend to remain interested in a game in the long term.  “Single Player MMOs” have short shelf lives.

9) Most MMO developers are entirely too ambitious with respect to the number of subscribers a game will obtain.

HIT: I think this is changing a bit.  The industry, and most fans, are now realizing that World of Warcraft is a unique entry in the MMO genre and not a standard that is reachable by most titles.  A game with 100,000 subscribers can be quite successful even if it isn’t the pop-culture juggernaut that WoW is.  Someone should tell NCSoft this, but that is a point I will raise later.

8) Microtransactions are overrated.

MISS: Whoops.  I missed the boat on this one.  Microtransactions have become quite successful as a business model for many MMOs.  

7) Free-to-play games will not be as successful as pay-to-play games.

MISS: Wow, I really went 3D on this one, didn’t I. (Quick note:  3D is my term that means “Doubled Down on the Derp” or.. “Not only was I wrong, but I have subsequently compounded my error with further stupidity.”) F2P is here to stay.  No, they won’t be the cash-cow that WoW is, but neither are any other games at this point.

6) MMO content will continue to progress from content that requires long hours of gameplay to content that can be played in small and short chunks of time.

HIT:  I don’t think you need to go any further than Mists of Pandaria (or as some have called it “Mists of Pandaily-a”) to see that most games are generating content in “easy-to-digest” chunks these days.  It’s a far cry from the days of 72-hour raids in EverQuest.


Since I don’t want to hit you guys with a phonebook on my first time out, let’s take a break here, stretch our legs a bit, maybe go outside? (HAH! Real gamers don’t do “sunlight”)

We’ll pick this up in Part 2, and I will do my best to make sure that Part 3 is unnecessary.

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Image of Grimthorn F. Redbeard
Grimthorn F. Redbeard
Get off his lawn!