Massively has an interesting post – What is the potential lifespan of an MMO?
So here’s my rambling take on How long will these games last?
As Massively points out Ultima Online is still making a profit after having been out for 11 years. Anarchy Online is still alive and kicking, as is Everquest and a number of others.
So I think my answer is this – as long as the game is fun for a large enough group of players such that the company can continue to make a profit. Blizzard has the right stuff and the right business model and I hope that some of the others figure that out and can continue.
If you have an ongoing profit maker why would you ever deliberately kill it?
There’s a group of players who’d always looking for the next great thing and who won’t stick with one thing for long. Then there’s a group who finds enough there that they will stick with it for years. As Nyhm said in his interview, PvP is still fun (he’s been playing since the beta) and he’s got a big group of friends who play.
People will say, “The End of WoW is Near” and then we look at the subscriber numers and see that WoW has added another million.
Right now WoW is Blizzard’s cash cow and I can’t see any reason for them to ever end the game themselves. As far as the competition goes, well, there’s nothing which is going to knock WoW off the throne for a big enough group of players that it’ll actually hurt WoW.
Especially since there’s room in the market for a number of big games and a bunch of smaller ones.
If it does, then Blizz will get off its collectinve butt and do what it does best, put its game back on top.
Now, if Blizzard, or any company, loses its drive or interest or is taken over by someone utterly clueless, then we may see then end.
I think WoW’s going to be around for a long time. I hope WAR will be. My boys are playing it now and it looks good. There are a few other games I’d like to play, but don’t have the time for right now.
So how long can they last? As long as the owning company is making money with it and doesn’t decide to kill it for other reasons.
What do you think?
edit 9/23: Part Time Druid has some interesting remarks on WoW, WAR, DAoC, PvP and PvE.
“I’m not going to write some meta piece about how there is no WoW killer, though I do agree with that sentiment. WoW has become the McDonald’s of MMOs, the best competitors can hope for is to become Wendy’s or Burger King. They aren’t going to topple World of Warcraft.”
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