APB in trouble

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.

-…and Alganon.

-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.


3 Responses to APB in trouble

  1. Drew says:

    FFXIV, GW2, and SWTOR.

    It will be interesting to see if these three change the MMO landscape or if the Cataclysm will dominate it all.

    I’m rooting for the first three.

  2. Dblade says:

    I don’t know. Can games so closely tied to previous IPs change the landscape that much? They could, and be like Street Fighter 2. Or they could just be like SF3 and bomb. Or they could be like SF4 and be a great game that’s well-made and not innovative in the least.

  3. Tesh says:

    Of those, I see GW2 as more like SF2, and the others more like SF4. Time will tell.

    I think your instinct is pretty good on this one. It’s a common business cycle in nearly any market, actually. More often than not, big players keep the evolution/retread trend chugging along until it’s bled dry. The wild card is the indie coming out of the “blue ocean” left field. I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll see some indie MMO devs come up with something that is so far out of the DIKU mold that nobody knows what to make of it, but it winds up fun enough to carve out a new niche that starts a new trend.

    That may be wishful thinking, though. It’s just as likely that we’ll see the Torchlight MMO and others carry the reductionist torch and flirt with ProgressQuest and Facebook gaming. Arguably, this is where Blizzard is angling, what with their fervor for “social gaming platforms”.

    That may be pessimistic thinking, though.

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