Unless you have been living under a rock for the past month, you know that the American economy is sinking; and fast. This effects every market and even shows in the world economy as major nations start to lose money. With no possible solution in sight, everyone is being effected. People are losing money and things that they used to love.
This will inevitably effect the MMO market if not now, but at some point. Games that were just hanging on by their small fanbase will probably fall off the edge as people have to unsubscribe or not buy their game because they are saving up money. People won't be able to pay with credit cards anymore because of the lack of credit. American companies will have to cut down on staff. Games will take longer to make and employees might quit. These are some issues that need to be looked at.
For those of you who think that the MMO market is safe cause it has yet to be hit in a major way, I'm sorry to say, but this market will be crippled if the economy keeps going down this quickly. The market relies on a lot of people who have money and free time to use to play their game. If people no longer have enough money and have to work longer to get what little money they need to live, then the market will crash. And it will burn.
European players comprise a nice bit of the gamer population, but this number is not enough to keep MMOs alive if they are spread across the entire population of games. Foreign games will be more abundant than not and most American games will go out of business. small games will no longer havea a chance to live. Free to play games would really be the only franchise left, and they would even struggle from the lack of people being able to afford to advertise with them and lack of players willing to pay for things.
This is the grim picture I paint for you if the economy continues in this downward spiral. I'm not saying it will happen. I'm just saying that this will most likely occur if the situation gets bad enough. No one else is touching on this issue. I thought I might dabble a little in the discussion.
With the credit like it is, most people wouldn't be able to use credit cards. How would we overcome this? One option would be phone payments. You would call a number and the charge you selected (1 month, 3 month, etc.) would be charged to your phone bill. Another option is to but some pre-paid cards or use debit cards. Although I'm not so sure everyone will be able to switch.
A snail mail option would most likely be accepted for some games, where you have to mail them your money. Of course if it doesn't get to them, you're out of luck. Also, it's not too great to send money through the mail. Of course, they would have to keep accounts for two weeks after the payment expires because of the time it takes for mail to get to them.
Game companies will have to cut down on employees, limiting how vast a game will be or how long it will take to make it. Content will have to be cut. No one would be happy abot that. Althought there are a bunch of ways this can be worked around.
Player Content has huge potential for taking away the burden of a lot of burden from the staff of the games. With players making a lot of the content, then that's less work for the staff to have to do. Also, the idea of players makign their own quests are already being implemented in some games and will probably become more popular after a while.
With the players losing their money, all of the games will have to lower their subscription (or other) prices, bringing in less profit. They will have to mave their prices closer and closer to the cost of production. I'm not sure how this can be avoided. We just need to pray that the economy won't get too much worse.
These are the problems and maybe a few solutions. Althought I doubt much can be done, hopefully the industry won't take a fall. I pray it doesn't.