Yes, this is my first long entry (the only one that’s not on a Fri/Sat) to kick this blog off here and I’m going to begin it with a question: Are our expectations of the MMO industry too high?
Maybe it’s just me, but there appears to be this virus going around the forums giving many people this pessimistic, no-hope-for-the-future type view of the MMO industry. This pessimism is a bit concerning since these are supposedly fans of the genre hence their interest in this website in the first place. It makes me wonder why some are even visiting this site in the first place. My belief is that many of these opinions are in fact exaggerated and these people do carry some kind of an interest within the genre despite these perceived setbacks.
My theory behind this epidemic stems from certain people’s personal expectations of the genre. It involves these people creating ideals in their minds of what a “great MMO” should be based on their past experiences and frequently being disappointed when certain games that remotely resembled their ideals fail to deliver to these expectations. This is at least my general theory and I would like to test it out one day if I actually become a real video game psychologist of sorts.
Now if you are one of these people that absolutely believe there is no hope for the future of this genre, you might ask: “Hey Jairoe03 (or Josh), what if it’s not us, what if it’s them? (aka the frequently blamed companies and/or developers for certain project failures)”. A common belief shared by many that do believe in such a negative is that the company and/or developers are just in it for the money. Let’s think this through very carefully here.
First, a company’s sole purpose is actually to make money and they generally do it by providing goods and services to people. It just so happens a company within the MMO industry so happens to make their bread off making video games. I agree with the first half of the previous statement: Company’s ARE in it for the money. It really is up to the customer whether or not they get it. There really is no argument there.
In regards to developers, I have a hard time believing they pursued a career in the gaming industry, made the necessary sacrifices and actually not care about the quality of their own products. Developers in this industry have to be gamers at heart and it’s only my educated guess that gaming was what led them into their career choice. If they really wanted to, they could be developers anywhere else. It’s not like these positions are posted on Careerbuilder at $10/hour. You actually have to go out of your way to make it in this industry. This is their dream career just like it’s a dream career for many other gamers out there. There’s a lot more than just developers that’s involved into actually making this game, they’re just the ones that are coding it in. With these reasons, I find it difficult to think that any developer would just be in it for the money.
In addition, much of what influences the direction of MMO’s (and more so everyday) is actually the customers, so if some of you want something to blame, blame yourselves and your peers(me?) for influencing the direction a game takes. After all, a company exists to serve its customers, which includes keeping them satisfied.
On a concluding thought, if personal expectations as I described above are in fact “killing the industry”, can we conclude that some of our own expectations are set too high? Could some of us at least be exaggerating to the extent in which this industry is actually falling apart? If not, how do you think companies and developers can better meet these expectations and are these solutions practical? Post your thoughts/comments about the topic/article here. I would love to hear the responses!
SIDENOTE: If you would like to learn more about who I am, feel free to read the previous entry introducing myself to the world as a blogger.