Are MMOs dying?

Games, Gaming and Hardware
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12/10/2012 04:56 AMPosted by Dliver
Um, that's a big huge deal that's happened in a hurry.


nah
12/10/2012 04:56 AMPosted by Dliver
My experience is this sample, while not perfect, accurately predicted the declines in both SWTOR early this past year and GW2 recently. These samples are showing steep, steep declines in MoP just since September.


Everyone realized that SWTOR was going down the moment that EA forced the early release. It's not some great thing that a website that tracks gaming by its users predicted the death of a game that near everyone saw collapsing. As far as GW2 goes, everyone knew that would fall off as well. It's a free game, and the company that runs has a reputation for not caring about you once they have your money.

X-Fire is not a true random sample, and thus you can't draw any relevant statistical inferences from it, other than to say that among the population of X-Fire uses, the hours spent playing World of Warcraft has declined on weekend from September to December.

As far as some other source, there isn't one, at least not one that will give you the numbers you really want. Blizzard has access to the only metrics that could show you what you want to know, and they're not in the mood to share.

12/10/2012 04:56 AMPosted by Dliver
MMOs as a whole just totally jumping the shark this year.


I don't think that phrase means what you think it means.
12/10/2012 04:56 AMPosted by Dliver
Yep, and to the critics, if you don't like this sample and don't think it's random or representative enough, suggest another.


Well, there's Warcraft Realms (warcraftrealms.com). It tracks number of distinct characters seen during prime time, not activity, and uses an add-on that looks at other people on your server. It has its own problems, but the difference in methodology suggests they may not be the same problems XFire might have.

WCR showed a rapid decline in faction activity after the post-MoP peak, more rapid (in percentage terms) than the decline seen after Cataclysm's release. The alt-unfriendliness of MoP probably didn't help, once people realized they couldn't do many of their alts at once and keep up.

http://www.warcraftrealms.com/weeklyfactionactivity.php

(he still hasn't fixed the horizontal axis labeling bug there)
I like http://wow.realmpop.com/us.html

You can look at how many 90's are on a server, and population densities by horde vs alliance ect by server.

To me this is way more informative than this xfire crap, though you do have to correlate the data yourself.


Realmpop has nothing to do with activity though. Someone who quit the game after hitting 90 still counts as a 90.
12/10/2012 03:36 AMPosted by Sandse
well it's almost Christmas! It's finals time! People arent playing much right now


Because we are all students right ? ;D
12/10/2012 05:22 AMPosted by Demonae
I agree, but I don't think any real tool out there will give us that data. At least realmpop is updating from guild pulls on the API, so I know it is fairly accurate with the data it does provide.


Characters show up on armory for at least six months after a subscription lapses, so that's going to be a lagging indicator.
12/10/2012 05:25 AMPosted by Astaldo
Because we are all students right ? ;D


No, but there is a significant population of students that play Warcraft.

Though the idea that it's near Christmas still holds merit. I know work is picking up right now as a bookkeeper as we wind down the year and prepare for closing entries and sending the books off to the CPAs.
I don't think it's that MMOs are dying, more like they are diluting

there are tons of the things now but the number of people who play them isn't increasing much. They are just getting more and more spread out. That's why companies are desperately seeking new markets

Star Wars F'ed up. I don't think there is any denying that. going F2P might have helped except that they went Microtransaction crazy to try and make up the losses of paid Subs.

GW2 I think had other problems. Just as they were getting GW2 out the door NCSoft pulled the rug out from under CoH. It wasn't just that they were cancelling the game, they did it in a way that treated the fanbase and the people who were making the game like crap. CoH wasn't a small game and it was actually doing pretty good after it went F2P. Profits were small but they were climbing, subs were going up slowly as well. It had a very close knit community.
The player protest that followed the cancellation announcement caught attention and it brought to light a lot of similar actions by NCSoft in the past. While it didn't save CoH NCSoft did take a significant PR hit, not just in North America and Europe where CoH was popular but it was bad enough to be noticed by companies in Korea.

What they did to CoH isn't a one time thing, it's a trend in how they treat their customers, one that quickly became public knowledge. People don't trust the company and I think that is hurting GW2 somewhat.
So this xfire thingy is the Nielson Ratings for MMO's?

How many people use that thing?


No, it's for people who want to stream their game play for other idiots to watch instead of playing the game.
12/10/2012 05:28 AMPosted by Lukar
Though the idea that it's near Christmas still holds merit.


Not really, since the decline we're talking about isn't limited to Christmastime.

I like the seasonal excuses for dropoffs, btw, since there seems to be a version for every part of the year. Spring? Students are studying for finals. Fall? Had to go back to school. Summer? They're away from their school networks and outside doing summerish things. Winter? Holidays are interfering.

It's amazing, with all those distractions, anyone plays WoW at all, right?

CoH wasn't a small game and it was actually doing pretty good after it went F2P. Profits were small but they were climbing, subs were going up slowly as well.


I don't believe that's an accurate assessment of the situation.
The player protest that followed the cancellation announcement caught attention and it brought to light a lot of similar actions by NCSoft in the past. While it didn't save CoH NCSoft did take a significant PR hit, not just in North America and Europe where CoH was popular but it was bad enough to be noticed by companies in Korea.


NCSoft is a pretty douchebaggy company, yep.
You didn't need Xfire to predict that ToR was going to fail. I knew that within the first two weeks. Same with GW2. It's a prettier version of GW1. I played GW1 for a year before coming over to WoW. I regret that year I spent in GW1, because WoW (even then) was leaps and bounds ahead in gameplay.

Rift. I want to like Rift. I really do. There was just something about it that screamed WoW clone, but not quite polished enough. It may be better now, but first impressions are hard to change.
Dying? Such an extreme word, especially when there are mmos older than WoW still hanging on.

I'd definitely say the growth of mmos is slowing down. The market's become saturated, everyone who would be interested in trying an mmo has tried one by now, and much of the market is starting to get burned out. That doesn't mean this genre is dying, it just means companies need to start setting more realistic subscription expectations.
Rift. I want to like Rift. I really do. There was just something about it that screamed WoW clone, but not quite polished enough. It may be better now, but first impressions are hard to change.


Rift is a good game, but the leveling is horribly linear, and if you level alts you're leveling through the same zones again. The Soul system was neat, and I really liked it. I had a Warrior that was Void Knight/Reaver/Paladin tank, and it was quite fun. Also Warriors as basically melee hunters was a neat twist (Beasttamer soul or something like that). It's a solid game, just not enough for me to invest another $15 a month into it.

Rift definitely is a WoW clone in certain areas, but it's different enough that it makes it interesting. My biggest problem with Rift was that it just tossed you right into the story without really ever explaining what was happening. I found myself very confused.

It speaks to how actually good Rift has been that it's the only one of the "WoW-killers" that still charges a subscription a year after its release (and in fact released a new expansion recently, which looks pretty nice). We'll see how Tera fares.
Bad economy and less people playing? What a shock, really.
According to xfire I haven't played WoW since 2007.

xfire isn't your most reliable source of information.

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