Not only do I not know but I must admit to being completely unqualified to express an opinion. I have never played WAR and I am currently going through an "anti-mmo" phase as indicated in my series of posts with the tag line "mmos are history". However, being unqualified to give an opinion doesn't sop me from having one, so, for what it is worth, here it is:
- I think that the time of explosive market growth for WOW / Everquest style mmo's is pretty much over (in the developed world at any rate). Future subscription growth rate will be low or even negative.
- I think that end of the growth phase means that existing games and new entrants must now cannibalise each other for a slice of what is effectively a fixed pie.
- I think that the utter dominance of WOW in the mainstream mmo market makes it almost impossible for a new entrant to gain significant market share and even harder for them to hold on to that market share. Niche market mmos (EVE / ATID) may still thrive as long as they don't compete head to head with WOW and as long as they remain small enough to stay under the radar.
- I think anyone who is currently developing a WOW / Everquest style mmo has already missed the boat and stands to lose their investment.
- I think that the best bet for a new player trying to enter the market is to somehow try and change the rules of the (mmo business) game.
How can the rules of the game be changed?
- A Console based MMO - Consoles have firmly supplanted PCS as the platform of choice for gaming so its stands to reason that mmos on consoles will have a much bigger market than PC mmos, right? I am not so sure. It seems to me that the whole "play where you like play when you like" ethos of console gaming is completely at odds with the pee in a bucket level of commitment required for WOW/Everquest style mmos. DM Osbon is running a poll in which he asks which platform people see as being the future of mmos. Of coure the survey is is biased because you need to be on a PC to take it but PCs are whopping ass in the results.
- Casual / Browser based mmos. Maybe. I don't mean grind fest, pay money for in game items, browser based mmos. In terms of time commitment required these are anything but casual. The kids mmos like Club Penguin or Buildabearville come closer to the mark. Put one of those onto a console and you might be onto a winner.
- An mmo which makes less demands of its customers. WOW / Everquest style mmos demand huge amounts of time and significant amounts of money from their players. I think a new type of game which offered similar entertainment and escapism in a similar social environment at a lower personal cost could put WOW / Everquest style mmos out of business.