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Default Gamasutra - The 5 Most Significant MMO Trends

December 25th, 2008, 21:09
Gamasutra explains what they think are the 5 most significant trends in MMOs in 2008. The list contains the following elements:
  • The niche positions of AAA fantasy titles (Age of Conan, Warhammer Online)
  • Microtransactions
  • Middleware
  • The gold rush
  • User-made content
The following is a snippet about microtransactions:
More than anything, 2008 signaled a death-knell for the future of subscription-based online gaming. In ten, maybe even five years, paying a monthly subscription for an online game will sound as archaic as paying a play-by-the-hour fee does now.

The microtransaction model has been gaining in popularity here in the West for years now, but 2008 truly highlighted the waning power of the subscription model. From the rollout of Sony Online Entertainment's Station Cash program to the blockbuster success of companies like Three Rings and Nexon, Western players have made it abundantly clear that they're very comfortable paying smaller amounts of money over time to get the services they want.
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December 25th, 2008, 21:09
Blizzard's $~172.5 million per month income says Gamasutra should take their list back and rethink the part about the "waning" of subscriptions.
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December 26th, 2008, 01:35
Convienient that they left out the 11.5 million subscribers of WoW, let alone all of the other subscription games.

I don't play microtransaction games because I have found that it attracts a crowd that I don't care to game with.

Originally Posted by Stormwaltz View Post
Blizzard's $~172.5 million per month income says Gamasutra should take their list back and rethink the part about the "waning" of subscriptions.

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December 26th, 2008, 01:36
Yes, but Blizzard is just one company among many - no matter how much they do.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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December 26th, 2008, 07:47
First of all, there seems to be some confusion of ideas in the article. Their assumption appears to be that "if you use microtransactions, you won't have subscriptions." Balderdash. Their stated example, EQ2, is a subscription game that offers microtransactions. Other counter examples include CoX (costume pieces) and EVE (in-game cash and services like character appearance changes).

As for the rest, My thoughts are close to Nerfbat's.

It seems to me that the only North American / European companies releasing fully RMT-based games are the small ones looking to create or maintain a profitable niche position. Triple-A MMGs are all subscription-based, and for a very good reason; despite any claims made to the contrary by marketing departments, announcing anything other than a subscription model for a North American MMG deeply divides your potential playerbase.

Being charitable, I'll assume that most of the players won't care one way or the other. But you'd have to show me really good numbers to prove that more potential players would gain interest in a game for its use of microtransactions, than would lose interest in a game for the same cause. This stuff flies in Asia. It does not in NA and Europe.

Case in point here, the furor over the SWTOR rumor.
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December 28th, 2008, 04:01
All the AAAs except for Guild Wars are subscription based, anyway, and GW doesn't have micro-transactions. There are definitely a LOT of folks out there who can't imagine paying for a game after they make the initial purchase. What I don't know is how many could imagine paying via micro-transactions, either. Heck, I'm sure some of them aren't used to paying anything for any games ever.

I'm more interested in what the user-made content has in store for us, myself. City of Heroes has the mission architect thing coming up in a few months. What are other MMOs doing?
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