Almost every MMO company would like to fend off the 800 pound gorilla that is World of Warcraft. What’s astounding is that it’s a subscription based game in a renaissance world of free or item-based business models. It can’t be denied, WoW has gone from being big to being a part of pop culture. We’ve seen the brilliance of their TV commercials and how they seamlessly even integrated a Toyota truck into an advergaming coup. Genius!
Michael Zenke of Gamasutra said that 2007 was “not a great year for the industry, but it still wasn’t bad.”
What follows are my “Lessons Learned” notes for the MMORPG industry in general in 2007.
- It’s not all about graphics - Maple Story, not your average AAA title, has managed to amass 3 million subscribers. It has nothing to do with the graphics. It’s gameplay and fun factor are what contributed to its success. In Vietnam, a “low spec” game called Swordsman Online has hundreds of thousands of concurrent users, surpassing even Ragnarok in that country.
- Free is still the best price - of course, World of Warcraft is an exemption. It’s known that North American players are used to paying monthly subscriptions and that the Asian market plays for free. Call it a cultural or socio-economic divide, North American MMO companies are slowly seeing the wisdom of acquiring games using the F2p model. So did we, when we opened up Ragnarok here in the Philippines as an F2P service.