From Massively, APB is rumored to be in trouble, with Realtime Worlds shuttering their new social game and maybe worse.
What worries me is the direction of the market.
-Aion underperforms and is suffering through server merges.
-Fallen Earth underperforms
-Global Agenda needs to go F2P
-LOTRO does too
-and EQ 2.
-Mortal Online exists but from all accounts is a bug-ridden mess.
-Champions Online and Star Trek Online are underperforming.
-Crimecraft is dead.
-Warhammer Online is not doing well I hear.
It goes on. The only good news tends to be coming out of legacy games with a fixed base, like City Of Heroes or the original Everquest. If you want an interesting experience, go to mmorpg.com, run down the forums by list of games, and count how many have any real population.
I’m worried because I’ve seen this pattern in console games. It reminds me of fighting games.
Street Fighter 2 released in arcades. We saw an explosion of fighting games around that time: Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown, and a lot of c-grade stuff like Martial Champions and Fighter’s History. But in time all the franchises started to dwindle, and fewer new games were made. Those that did never managed to live past one or two games: Bushido Blade, War Gods, or others. Only the ones by legacy companies like Capcom made it.
Soon all we have left are a few companies dominating the market. Right now, it’s Capcom and Namco. We also only have a few other companies in a niche: arc systems with Guilty Gear, and SNK with their King of Fighters retreads. The only “new” fighters I can think of recently is Arcana Heart and Blazblue. Everything that gets made is a retread of an existing IP.
I’m worried that MMOs are the same. We’ll just see the market become dominated by a few companies and soon niche and lowbudget games will die off. Once the WoW buzz is gone, just like Street Fighter 2 cooled off when it took forever to get to a lackluster SF3, you’ll start to see the indies die.