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Do you think MMO's will.....

Post Date: 2007-10-10

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Bigdog View Drop Down
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  Quote Bigdog Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Do you think MMO's will.....
    Posted: 10 Oct 2007 at 2:59am
Do you think MMO's will "go the way of the dodo"?
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  Quote Locklear93 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 10 Oct 2007 at 9:10am
There's no evidence to support that they will, and vast evidence to support that they won't.  The market continues to grow, studies are finding people prefer to play online, and despite the vocal people who object to a monthly fee, there are millions upon millions who view it as a value--$15 gets me, on average, more than 150 hours of play a month.  Getting that out of movies or music, or barhopping or sports events would be infinitely more expensive.  If MMOs do in fact die out, it will only be to an evolution of the genre, the next big thing, the way silent movies died out to "talkies."
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  Quote Stonevulture Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 10 Oct 2007 at 11:12am
I don't see MMOs or the "subscription fee" gaming model going away anytime soon. 

People love to play in a game world that's persistent and populated by other people.  Co-op play is heavily, heavily underrated by developers/publishers and since it's so under-served by other genres of games, really MMOs are one of the few places where co-op play is the centerpiece.  Even the smallish subset of MMO players that aren't interested in co-op and solo most of the time still want to be able to "show off" to others, maybe join the occasional group, trade, etc.

Persistence - the idea that your actions have an impact to your character/avatar and his/her world beyond the end of the current deathmatch round - is really attractive and makes games a lot more immersive.  It's got to be one of the biggest reasons people play MMOs.  But to be able to do persistence costs money - this is a gross over-simplification, but you have to provide the servers that make up the game world, you have to provide the storage that preserves the game-state and character info, you have to provide the bandwidth that allows the players access to all this - and all of those things have real, ongoing costs.  There are hardware lease costs, hardware maintenance contracts and upgrades, software costs for middleware (like databases, authentication, payment processing, etc.), datacenter/facilities costs, bandwidth costs, and then (not insignificantly) all the labor required to keep those things running well - server admins, storage admins, network and security admins, database admins, etc.

Not to mention the people who actually police the game, make sure it's up and running, etc.  If you've got community sites (like forums) then you have the people to manage that infrastructure plus the forum admins themselves.  Plus, if you're providing free bug fixes or content updates via patches, then the frequency/quality with which you can do those things depends in part on how many developers you can pay to be on your "live" team to work on continuous streams of new content and gameplay tweaks.

With all the hardware/software/maintenance/facilities/infrastructure labor/development labor it takes to keep a persistent game world running as close to 24/7 as possible, it's just not financially feasible to do all those things using the proceeds from box sales alone.  Even if you could sell a MMO for, say, $300 and then never charge a subscription fee, most businesses would not want to do that because they're still taking a risk.  If you offer a single, large "lifetime subscription" option (like LotRO does), then you're making assumptions about how many people will sign up, how long the game will last, etc. and if you're wrong you may be forced to either shut the game down prematurely or lose money.  A monthly fee is much safer - in that scenario, the developers/publishers are saying "we'll keep the game running as well as we can on the money we get each month for as long as the money's coming in".  It transfers the risk on to the players and away from the developers/publishers by letting players vote with their dollars as to how long the game world should keep going.
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Mr. Dragon View Drop Down
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  Quote Mr. Dragon Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 12 Nov 2007 at 6:37pm
I have been on City of Heroes for nearly 3 years now. We are about to see the launch of issue 11. So the upgrades have kept coming with new character creation options, (which COH / COV is the best without a doubt) weapons customizations, new power sets, now the Wentworths (ebay type thing) and recipes for creating even more powerful power sets. NC Soft just purchased the game from Cryptic studios and hired all of the techs with it, so we should be seeing this thing continue to flourish. I love MMOs. I use Ventrilo and it makes it even more fun to speak with an unlimited amount of folks from all over the country. MMORPGs are going nowhwere but up. IMO
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Mr. Dragon View Drop Down
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  Quote Mr. Dragon Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 12 Nov 2007 at 6:38pm
BTW, NC Soft just released Tabula Rasa and if you already pay a monthly fee it covers this game as well as others.
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