WoW isn't special
Mar 08, 2006 21:03:00


Six million is a big number. Six million jellybeans is a big pile o' sugar. Six million carpenter ants would make a mess of your house in no time flat. And six million players worldwide must indicate world domination of the MMO market, right? When one considers the fact that Sony has sold over 100 million PS2's, it becomes clear that World of Warcraft is a shining star, albeit in one remote corner of the gaming galaxy. Everyone is saying that Blizzard has brought the MMO genre mainstream by exposing millions of new MMO players to that magic that so few of us enjoyed before the fall of 2004. Is this true? Only Blizzard could say for sure, and even then only by surveying the playing habits and MMO history of six million players.

Six Million Immigrants
As of the summer of 2005 MMOGChart reported just under 9.5 million total active subscriptions across all surveyed MMOs. The trend since 1998 indicates an additional 600,000 MMO players arrived on the scene every six months for the last 8 years. We can assume the total has crossed the 11 million mark by now. Lineage 2 had a reported 4 million players and even now in the face of WoW Mania, the Lineage series still claims 3.8 million. Sony's EverQuest Classic had around a half million players at its peak and DAoC and Ultima Online have been claiming their share for some time now. Today, we suspect EverQuest Classic and EverQuest 2 are struggling, but only Sony knows for sure. No one seems to know their subscription numbers. Nevertheless, between the two games, it is probably safe to say they still have 500,000. Guild Wars has 1.3 million box sales and is showing no signs of slowing that climb. Blizzard didn't create 6 million players out of thin air. They were already there.

Eleven Million Fish in the Barrel
Amidst all of this, plus many many popular but smaller titles (Eve Online, Second Life, and City of Heroes to name a few domestic titles), Warcraft reigns supreme as it seems to have dipped its toe into everyone's pond and come up with plenty of keepers. The question is, are these in fact new players or have the homeless UO, EQ and DAoC players of yesteryear come to roost at the steps of the best show in town? If there are indeed 11 million MMO players worldwide, it is more than fair to say that over half of them would be inclined to investigate the hype. This is not a unique scenario. Sony Online Entertainment could have made a similar claim regarding the domestic MMO market between 2000-2003. NCSoft's bragging rights are pretty much assured for life after the dominance Lineage 1 & 2 displayed at their peaks. Likewise, what percentage of video game players who like football games haven't played Madden? How many RPG fans skipped KotOR? RTS players who haven't seen Starcraft and FPSers who took a pass on Half Life? Not much chance of finding any of the above. Logic would follow that the MMO space needs a current champ too. In the face of the existing competition, those 6 million players have seen fit to stay for extended periods to chew up the lovely content, and wait around for an expansion or something better to come along, which to date, it hasn't. Please don't forget that a good percentage of those 6 million probably have accounts in other MMOs as well. MMO players are not a monogamous bunch.

If World of Warcraft was never released, or was still in development, we would see some other system(s) enjoying its own golden age. Perhaps it would be EQ2. EverQuest 2 is pretty much WoW on mild steroids and a darn fine system in its own right. Perhaps DDO would be in a position to be king of the hill. Perhaps Asheron's Call 2 would still be up and running, and maybe Eve Online would have found its legs earlier. Regardless of what is going on in parallel universes, Blizzard, del
ivered the right product at the precisely the right time (as EQ was fading and before EQ2 or anyone else could establish a foothold in the US and Europe), but it is still an MMO. It has the same failures, perks, nuances, mechanics, and yes, player base as all the other MMOs. It has the right marketing, the right look, the right depth, and the right competition and all have allowed it to be the success it is. It probably IS the most complete, fun, and accessible MMO available today. Blizzard has done a fine job, they have executed well and deserve credit, but on the other hand, WoW isn't special.


Submitted by Brent on Mar 08, 2006 21:03:00 CST (comments: 0)


Comments:



To post comments, please login.

More Blog Entries from Brent

NEWS FEEDS

RSS - Blog/Articles
RSS - News Feed
RSS - The Collective
Add MMO news to your site.


About VirginWorlds.com

VirginWorlds.com aims to condense everything about MMORPG / MMOG gaming within a single source via news links, blogging, and podcasting. By extending the link directory to the community, everyone will get the news, credit and exposure that is desired and deserved.

- virginworlds.com



Free 14 Day Eve Online
Trial from Virgin Worlds


PODCAST COLLECTIVE
VirginWorlds MMORPG News
Shut Up. We're Talking.
Massively Speaking
No Prisoners, No Mercy
Through the Aftermath
Brent's Other Podcast

MMORPG PODCASTS
1UP Yours
20 Minute Surrender
A Casual Stroll to Modor Podcast
A Life Well Wasted
Beneath Your Feet
Channel Massive
ChaosCast
CITIZEN AZEROTH
CoMutiny
DDOcast
Fly Reckless
FYG Podcast
Games for Windows Radio
GWJ Conference Call
How I WoW
In a Perfect World Podcast
Killed in a Smiling Accident
Lagwar
Legendary Thread
Low Elo
Massively Online Gamer
Part Time Gamers
PC Gamer Podcast
SOE Official Podcast
SWG with Yivvits & MrBubble
The Big Freaks
The Instance
The RIFT
VirginWorlds MMO Podcast Collective
WAAAGH
World of Warcast
WoWCast
Sites Updated Today
A Casual Stroll to Modor
Bio Break
Bioware TOR Dev Blog
Cloth 5
DocHoliday's MMO Saloon
Gamers with Jobs
Lineage II
Massively
MmoQuests.com
Mystic Worlds
Reign of Gaming
Star Wars: The Blog Republic
The Ancient Gaming Noob
The Grouchy Gamer
Tobold
Welshtroll
Write the Game
Sites Updated this Week
A Green Mushroom
Joystiq MMO
MMO Gamer Chick
Sweet Flag
Wondrous Inventions
Sites Updated this Month
Ardwulf's Lair
BestLeagueBlogNA
Citizen Azeroth
Creeping Through it All
kfsone's pittance
MMORPG.COM News
Morphisat's Blog
No Prisoners, No Mercy
Raph Koster
The Old Republic News from Bioware
Troll Racials are Overpowered