The Future of MMOs? (Part 2)

Part 2 of the Future of MMOs: Uncle Grimmy looks back into his crystal ball to see how his last set of predictions about the industry panned out.

See? I told you guys I was longwinded…

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Since I went 3-for-5 in the first half of my list of “Cold Hard Truths”, I think I need to redeem myself a bit.  60% may be ok in most fields of endeavor, but as a prognosticator it is barely better than flipping a coin.  If I were a gambler, I’d be leaving a casino with little more than cab fare.  I’d like to think I can do better than that.  

And so…

5) The next successful MMO will target a demographic outside of the most popular 18-25 age group.

HIT: Considering that the average age of MMO gamers is now older than the 18-25 age group, I think this one is a pretty safe bet.  Now that gamers are breeding, it would also be logical to see more “kid-friendly” entries in the MMO space.

4) NCSoft made a mistake by pulling the plug on Tabula Rasa.

HIT: Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault, and now City of Heroes.  I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t have a significant dose of venom and snark in store for Game Killers ‘r Us NCSoft.  EA has a dismal track record in the MMO space (Earth and Beyond, for example), but NCSoft is far worse. (don’t get me started on Aion or Lineage, I think those games suck.)  NCSoft is why I won’t touch Guild Wars 2 (even though the feedback I’ve heard is mostly positive) and why I don’t have high hopes for Wildstar.  Once is unfortunate, twice is tragic, but the third time is conclusive proof of rampant jackassery.  I’m sure that opinions will vary, but there are lots of other places on the net where people will tell you what you want to hear.

3) Innovation will come from smaller developers and not large “Triple-A” game developers.

HIT: Unless your company’s name is “Apple”, I think this could be applied to almost any industry.  Small companies have less to lose and can afford to take chances as that is pretty much the only way they will be noticed.  Big companies want safe and “tried and true”.  This explains why Star Wars: The Old Republic is “WoW with Lightsabers”. (don’t get me wrong, SWTOR is one of the few MMOs that is still installed on my system at home, but they made a concious decision to look “familiar” to WoW players…)

2) The three greatest innovations in MMO gaming were Voice Chat, User Customized UIs, and the Achievement system.

HIT: I think the biggest surprise I got in response to this point was that many folks assumed that I was giving credit to WoW for these things.  WoW can’t take credit for any of these.  Granted, WoW has taken some of these things to new levels, but they weren’t first in any of them. Regardless, seeing as every product on earth is now attempting to “Gamify” and add achievements, I’m calling this one in my favor.

1) There will never, EVER, be another MMO as successful or with as many subscribers as World of Warcraft.

HIT: It’s a different market, and players’ attention spans are shorter.  Even when Blizzard releases “Titan” in a couple of years, WoW will still be going strong, and players will be torn between the two.  The nature of MMO gaming has changed so much over the years that I don’t think you will see a duplication of circumstances that will allow an MMO to be as successful or as popular as WoW.

 

All in all, I’d say I was pretty close to the mark, but your mileage may vary.  If it does, I’d love to hear about it.  My goal is to provoke you, the reader, into a conversation where we can inform and enlighten each other.  Failing that, I’ll just lob “conversational hand grenades” into the room and see what happens. 


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