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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » What determines if an MMO is successful is its population.

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114 posts found
  dreamsofwar

Novice Member

Joined: 4/04/09
Posts: 471

12/01/12 11:25:37 AM#21
It's not just population, its community. Lotro has a community that keeps making me come back as i miss how friendly people are on there. Even though i really don't like the F2P system and the gimmicks of the cash shop and the annoying point system (I feel it all breaks emersion), I am willing to forgive that because it is still the game and community I fell in love with.
  Beatnik59

Elite Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2222

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

12/01/12 11:51:20 AM#22

I take a Foucaultian or a Baudrillardian approach: that the true measure of a game's power is not measured in the number of people who play it, but how much discourse it creates (forum posts, books, blog activity, player-generated sites, etc.)

Now World of Warcraft generates a lot of discourse.  Then again, it really should generate a lot of discourse, simply because it is so large.

But I'm constantly surprised at how little discourse World of Warcraft generates when compared to games with only a fraction of its size.  People still talk about games like Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online.  People talk about Second Life fanatically, writing philosophical treatises and dissertations around it.  One might even propose that more people talk about Second Life than actually play Second Life.

Indeed, if you compare the number who play World of Warcraft to the number of people who talk about World of Warcraft, you'll soon realize that World of Warcraft is far less popular than we think it is.  It dominates the attention of those who log in, but it fails to capture the imagination when people log out.

__________________________
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--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

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  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13314

12/01/12 11:56:59 AM#23
Originally posted by Consuetudo
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical

As for the substance of your argument, the population is really only relevant if it is enough to support the game.  Spiral Knights, for example, would be playable even if it only had 50 people online at a time.  Aion, on the other hand, would need a huge number of players in order to make it practical to get enough players for endgame raiding.

And furthermore, what matters is whether there are enough players online that you have access to, not merely the total number online.  If you need 1000 players per server for a game to be viable, and the game has 10000 players online, but split between 100 servers, it might not be playable on any of them.  See the problems that SWTOR had before the server merges, for example.

But no, what really determines whether a game is successful is how much revenue it brings in, as compared to how much it cost to build.  A game that cost $100 million to make but only brings in $10 million in revenue is a spectacular failure.  A game that costs $1 million to make but brings in the same $10 million in revenue is a runaway success.  The primary reason SWTOR is probably a commercial failure is nothing about game mechanics, but rather merely that it cost far too much to make.

This---^

Population doesn't determine success - revenue vs cost and target profit margin does. Puzzle Pirates was built for a couple thousand and got 34k players. ATITD was built for about 1,000 and was at about 2.5k at one point. Both saw healthy, active in-game populations and exceeded subscriber numbers needed to be profitable. 400k would be troubled waters for SWTOR, a profitable number for EVE and a year of swimming in hookers and blow for the Asheron's Call team.

What you've really done that is add a new factor of subgenre: provided that this MMO inherently is designed not to become the most populated one by design, then the need of its population depends alone on those players to whom the love of a certain game mechanic rather than a massively multiplayer experience. After all, if WoW is a game that is massively multiplayer, a game that barely dents a fraction of its population by design of it can't be called massive. 

The desire of the players in choosing a game that inherently cannot have a massive population are therefore looking for a game for different reasons.

So now you're arguing that if two games are identical in every way, except that one needs to fill two servers to be profitable, while the other needs to fill 20 servers to be profitable, those are different subgenres entirely?

A Tale in the Desert is more "massively" multiplayer by design than WoW is:  far bigger game world, far less zoning, far less instancing, and far more players can fit in a single instance.

Or would you argue that Tetris was really massively multiplayer with 40 million copies sold, even if it's a single-player game?

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

12/01/12 12:08:40 PM#24
Originally posted by Quizzical

A Tale in the Desert is more "massively" multiplayer by design than WoW is:  far bigger game world, far less zoning, far less instancing, and far more players can fit in a single instance.

Conversely, a MUD with a typical primetime audience of barely a few hundred, but you've personally met most of them?  Is that "massive", or just "a better community"?

Not reducing ad absurdum, but there is a limit to how just far these analogies can be pushed.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13314

12/01/12 12:08:59 PM#25
Originally posted by Gruug

This entire thread is discussion based upon the lemming mentality. In other words, if people see a lot of others doing a thing they think they too MUST be doing that same thing too.

There are a lot of people like that, but I'm actually the opposite.  If everyone and his neighbor's dog is doing something, then my instinctive reaction is that there are quite enough people doing that and I should find something else to do.

  Rayshe

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/11
Posts: 1295

12/01/12 12:15:10 PM#26

i Gotta disagree. Success should be detemined by the companies goal not the profits or population. TSW knew from the start they weren't gonna match WoW in Pop, however they did expect to break even. Sadly due to the Failcom hate they needed to downsize to reach that goal.

 

If i create a game with a medium population with the goal to change a aspect or 2 in the MMO genre and i successfully do that however dont have the biggest population. would do deem that as a failure.

Because i can.
I'm Hopeful For Every Game, Until the Fan Boys Attack My Games. Then the Knives Come Out.
Logic every gamers worst enemy.

  Consuetudo

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/20/12
Posts: 105

 
OP  12/01/12 4:14:21 PM#27

This isn't about what some individual does, or what some individual wants, or about how things should be, but how things actually are. The MMO that is successful is the one with the highest population, and which continues to generate more players. The MMO that should be successful, or which you view to be the most successful, isn't the same as the MMO that is successful. 

Everyone speaks about WoW, because everyone knows that WoW is successful. The factor which causes WoW to be successful is the factor of its having the most population. If WoW didn't have the most population, then, proportional to the percentage of the MMO community that would be absent from WoW, the amount of attention it would receive on forums and your own thoughts would decrease the same amount, and the amount of attention you would give to other MMOs would fill up the gap. 

When WoW loses more players, and another MMO gains more players than WoW, then no longer will we count WoW to be successful, but that game. 

If Age of Conan, not altogether gripping as it is, had the most players, then regardless of whatever factors disatisfy some of us, we would neither doubt that it is successful, nor count WoW as being successful any longer. WoW was successful, yet now Age of Conan is successful. 

The success is an objective quality inherently present about the game, and not a subjective description being supplied by you. 

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

12/01/12 4:27:04 PM#28
Originally posted by Consuetudo

The MMO that is successful is the one with the highest population, and which continues to generate more players.

In case no one ever explained it to you, "successful" is a word with multiple definitions.

I am sorry that it appears to be objective to you. 

Bieber is really the only music you'll listen to?

 

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13314

12/01/12 4:34:10 PM#29
Originally posted by Consuetudo

This isn't about what some individual does, or what some individual wants, or about how things should be, but how things actually are

In that case, you're objectively wrong, rather than merely having a wacky opinion.

Ask any investor whether he'd rather have a game that cost $10 million to make and brings in $100 million in revenue, or one that cost $300 million to make and brings in $200 million revenue.  Or ask whether he'd rather have a game that gets $100 million in revenue from 10 million players, or $50 million in revenue from 20 million players.

Indeed, high revenue per player is especially valuable, as marketing can basically "buy" more players.  Whether that's profitable depends very heavily on how much revenue you get from those players that you "buy".

If number of players is the sole measure of success, then why don't games go completely free with no monetization whatsoever.  Wouldn't that make them more "successful"?

  VendettaDFA

Novice Member

Joined: 11/26/12
Posts: 74

12/01/12 4:34:43 PM#30
Originally posted by Consuetudo

This isn't about what some individual does, or what some individual wants, or about how things should be, but how things actually are. The MMO that is successful is the one with the highest population, and which continues to generate more players. The MMO that should be successful, or which you view to be the most successful, isn't the same as the MMO that is successful. 

Everyone speaks about WoW, because everyone knows that WoW is successful. The factor which causes WoW to be successful is the factor of its having the most population. If WoW didn't have the most population, then, proportional to the percentage of the MMO community that would be absent from WoW, the amount of attention it would receive on forums and your own thoughts would decrease the same amount, and the amount of attention you would give to other MMOs would fill up the gap. 

When WoW loses more players, and another MMO gains more players than WoW, then no longer will we count WoW to be successful, but that game. 

If Age of Conan, not altogether gripping as it is, had the most players, then regardless of whatever factors disatisfy some of us, we would neither doubt that it is successful, nor count WoW as being successful any longer. WoW was successful, yet now Age of Conan is successful. 

The success is an objective quality inherently present about the game, and not a subjective description being supplied by you. 

Population is YOUR opinion of the measure of success. Financial stability is someone elses opinion, Innovation is someone elses, etc,,,, ad nuaseum. This is a regurgitation of your original post and if you were TRULY correct only WoW would be available on the market to play,because no business can unsuccessfully remain in business. Since that statement is not true, then neither is your statement the only true answer exclusive of any other. That is how things ACTUALLY are.

  Consuetudo

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/20/12
Posts: 105

 
OP  12/01/12 4:41:31 PM#31
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Consuetudo

This isn't about what some individual does, or what some individual wants, or about how things should be, but how things actually are

In that case, you're objectively wrong, rather than merely having a wacky opinion.

Ask any investor whether he'd rather have a game that cost $10 million to make and brings in $100 million in revenue, or one that cost $300 million to make and brings in $200 million revenue.  Or ask whether he'd rather have a game that gets $100 million in revenue from 10 million players, or $50 million in revenue from 20 million players.

Indeed, high revenue per player is especially valuable, as marketing can basically "buy" more players.  Whether that's profitable depends very heavily on how much revenue you get from those players that you "buy".

If number of players is the sole measure of success, then why don't games go completely free with no monetization whatsoever.  Wouldn't that make them more "successful"?

Perhaps, but it's still necessary to maintain the servers, and perhaps without any improvements, employers to make those improvements, etc, players could begin to drop out of the game, therefore necessarily causing it to no longer be a success. 

If the game is actually able to keep generating more players, then, necessarily, the people responsible for the game are not only delivering those things which will cause this to be the case, but they are also able to keep financially supporting it. 

If they weren't able to keep financially supporting it, then there would be no more game, and it wouldn't even have the chance to be qualified as a success. 

And yet you wouldn't consider a game that is a financial success to be successful, if it doesn't have the most players presently, since clearly most of the players don't agree with you. 

If then a game was able to exist completely freely, and generate the most number of players, and actually continue to sustain that in compariosn to other games, then we would not only consider it a success, but very frugal as well. 

  Sumo79

Novice Member

Joined: 4/27/09
Posts: 16

12/01/12 4:45:51 PM#32
Originally posted by Consuetudo
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Consuetudo

It is for these reasons that Mortal Online is not flooding the main page; the Chronicles of Spellborn; Asheron's Call; Ultima Online. All of these games are able to be played, and some were previously successful. Now, all of them have low populations, and we no longer conceive of them as presently successful.

I thought they pulled the plug on The Chronicles of Spellborn.  Is it back up now?

-----

As for the substance of your argument, the population is really only relevant if it is enough to support the game.  Spiral Knights, for example, would be playable even if it only had 50 people online at a time.  Aion, on the other hand, would need a huge number of players in order to make it practical to get enough players for endgame raiding.

And furthermore, what matters is whether there are enough players online that you have access to, not merely the total number online.  If you need 1000 players per server for a game to be viable, and the game has 10000 players online, but split between 100 servers, it might not be playable on any of them.  See the problems that SWTOR had before the server merges, for example.

But no, what really determines whether a game is successful is how much revenue it brings in, as compared to how much it cost to build.  A game that cost $100 million to make but only brings in $10 million in revenue is a spectacular failure.  A game that costs $1 million to make but brings in the same $10 million in revenue is a runaway success.  The primary reason SWTOR is probably a commercial failure is nothing about game mechanics, but rather merely that it cost far too much to make.

And yet, I don'tconsider Spiral Knights successful, not only because I've never heard of it, but also because it clearly doesn't have a grand enough population to seem appealing. If it did seem appealing, it would have a high initial population, and it would be continuing to gain more players over time. 

I played Aion in beta, and didn't find it appealing enough to continue playing: its actual potential to become the most successful game appeared to me to be low in such a way that it increased my disillusionment from it to a level so high that it exceeded my desire to play the game. 

Your argument about revenue is inherently connected to population. Considering that it costs money to play SWTOR, it follows that if the game retrospectively existed with enough potential to become the most popular, not only would it have a high initial population, but it would continue gaining players due to the excessive good reviews made by the ones already playing it. Since more people are stopping to play SWTOR than they are joining, it follows that the game did not have the potential to become the most popular, and it is not successful. If SWTOR did continue gaining players, then it follows that if it costs less money to maintain the game than the amount of profits Bioware is taking in to an extent greater than the net amount of profit coming from playersBioware deemed necessary in order for a profit in this area to be gained, then, still, the high population is what caused the net profit, and is the only factor in the end that could do so. 

Thus, ultimately, the game that is successful is the one with the highest population. 

 

I suppose you're right about Spellborn. I wasn't aware it'd closed, but played it once, and even came back for a day once. 

I disagree with this.  I don't think it matters if YOU think a game is successful if you don't even play the game.  I think it only matters to those playing it.  If the population is steady, and content it continually pushed out at a rate that satifies their customer base, then it doesn't matter how high the population numbers are -- maybe it's a niche game that isn't designed to appeal to a million people.  I'd argue that by these stats, how long an MMO has been able to support itself is a far better measure of success than how many poeple it caters to.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13314

12/01/12 4:48:27 PM#33
Originally posted by Consuetudo
Originally posted by Quizzical

If number of players is the sole measure of success, then why don't games go completely free with no monetization whatsoever.  Wouldn't that make them more "successful"?

And yet you wouldn't consider a game that is a financial success to be successful, if it doesn't have the most players presently, since clearly most of the players don't agree with you. 

By that definition, there can only be one successful game at a time.  That's ridiculous.

And why do you claim to tell me my opinion on what is successful?  I've already told you my opinion on such matters in this very thread, and you claim that I'm lying and my real opinion is quite contrary to what I've said it was?  Maybe it was a mistake to take this thread seriously in the first place.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

12/01/12 4:49:02 PM#34
Originally posted by Consuetudo

And yet you wouldn't consider a game that is a financial success to be successful, if it doesn't have the most players presently, since clearly most of the players don't agree with you. 

Reification, sometimes Hypostatization.

Carry on ya'll.  Equivocation does hook a lot of fish on this forum, week after week.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Consuetudo

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/20/12
Posts: 105

 
OP  12/01/12 4:51:33 PM#35
Originally posted by Sumo79
Originally posted by Consuetudo
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Consuetudo

 

I disagree with this.  I don't think it matters if YOU think a game is successful if you don't even play the game.  I think it only matters to those playing it.  If the population is steady, and content it continually pushed out at a rate that satifies their customer base, then it doesn't matter how high the population numbers are -- maybe it's a niche game that isn't designed to appeal to a million people.  I'd argue that by these stats, how long an MMO has been able to support itself is a far better measure of success than how many poeple it caters to.

It can be a fun thing to those few people, and perhaps they would consider it a success, but seeing as most people do not, then the thing which is considered not to be a success more than it is considered to be a success is not a success. 

If the most people considered it to be a success and their disillusionment towards playing MMOs was inferior to their desire to play them, then they would actually be playing the game considered successful, instead of any other, and that game would have the greatest population.

Though they are playing WoW, because what determines if an MMO is successful is its population. 

And that applies again to those MMOs which retrospectively inherently existed with a potential population superior to the one we presently consider successful: it was always going to have the greatest population, at least for some point of time, and therefore the fact of its going to become a success was always true about it. If a new game existed for which this is the case, then it would quickly attract more players until it fulfills the potential that it always had, and it would be the most populous i.e. most successful game. 

 

Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Consuetudo
Originally posted by Quizzical

If number of players is the sole measure of success, then why don't games go completely free with no monetization whatsoever.  Wouldn't that make them more "successful"?

And yet you wouldn't consider a game that is a financial success to be successful, if it doesn't have the most players presently, since clearly most of the players don't agree with you. 

By that definition, there can only be one successful game at a time.  That's ridiculous.

Yes, and when another game becomes more popular, the first is no longer considered successful. It was, but isn't.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

12/01/12 4:56:41 PM#36
Originally posted by Quizzical
Maybe it was a mistake to take this thread seriously in the first place.

Generally, accepting a gambit of this nature always is.

Human language is fascinating.  Humans can argue about it eternally.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  shoziku

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/01/06
Posts: 95

12/01/12 5:02:16 PM#37
Originally posted by Consuetudo

The first factor either consciously or subconsciously weighed when deciding what MMORPG to play is which one features the most players. The inherent attraction to the genre, as specified in the very name of it, is the fact of a vast amount of players in a virtual world: a feature fundamentally desired by people playing these games. Whether as a solo, more casual player, or as a grouped, more party-oriented player, it follows that the game which appears the most fundamentally attractive is the MMORPG that is the most massively multiplayer. 

I think this is more opinion than fact.  My first factor is whether I find it fun to play.  I prefer low populations.  I like the feel of desolation in a game where I could be the only one there.  Seeing people then becomes interesting to me.

  Consuetudo

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/20/12
Posts: 105

 
OP  12/01/12 5:11:53 PM#38
Originally posted by shoziku
Originally posted by Consuetudo

The first factor either consciously or subconsciously weighed when deciding what MMORPG to play is which one features the most players. The inherent attraction to the genre, as specified in the very name of it, is the fact of a vast amount of players in a virtual world: a feature fundamentally desired by people playing these games. Whether as a solo, more casual player, or as a grouped, more party-oriented player, it follows that the game which appears the most fundamentally attractive is the MMORPG that is the most massively multiplayer. 

I think this is more opinion than fact.  My first factor is whether I find it fun to play.  I prefer low populations.  I like the feel of desolation in a game where I could be the only one there.  Seeing people then becomes interesting to me.

Deciding whether it is fun to play happens after you've decided to play it; when deciding what to play, you will consider "what is the hot game right now," because what determines if an MMO is successful is its population, and if your disillusionment from that MMO is superior to your desire to actually play it, then you'll move onto another. But you cannot be disillusioned from something you haven't first experienced. 

I suppose a person could be sufficiently edgy enough to the extent of having a desire not to play the most popular game because it is the most popular that is superior to their desire to play it, but, again, the first thing they took into account was the fact that this MMO was indeed the most popular, and then decided from there to play something else. 

And if you do want to play in a game with a low population, why play a massively multiplayer game? 

  Suraknar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/26/07
Posts: 808

*Everyone dies, not everyone really fights*

12/01/12 5:15:06 PM#39
Originally posted by Consuetudo
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical

As for the substance of your argument, the population is really only relevant if it is enough to support the game.  Spiral Knights, for example, would be playable even if it only had 50 people online at a time.  Aion, on the other hand, would need a huge number of players in order to make it practical to get enough players for endgame raiding.

And furthermore, what matters is whether there are enough players online that you have access to, not merely the total number online.  If you need 1000 players per server for a game to be viable, and the game has 10000 players online, but split between 100 servers, it might not be playable on any of them.  See the problems that SWTOR had before the server merges, for example.

But no, what really determines whether a game is successful is how much revenue it brings in, as compared to how much it cost to build.  A game that cost $100 million to make but only brings in $10 million in revenue is a spectacular failure.  A game that costs $1 million to make but brings in the same $10 million in revenue is a runaway success.  The primary reason SWTOR is probably a commercial failure is nothing about game mechanics, but rather merely that it cost far too much to make.

This---^

Population doesn't determine success - revenue vs cost and target profit margin does. Puzzle Pirates was built for a couple thousand and got 34k players. ATITD was built for about 1,000 and was at about 2.5k at one point. Both saw healthy, active in-game populations and exceeded subscriber numbers needed to be profitable. 400k would be troubled waters for SWTOR, a profitable number for EVE and a year of swimming in hookers and blow for the Asheron's Call team.

What you've really done that is add a new factor of subgenre: provided that this MMO inherently is designed not to become the most populated one by design, then the need of its population depends alone on those players to whom the love of a certain game mechanic rather than a massively multiplayer experience. After all, if WoW is a game that is massively multiplayer, a game that barely dents a fraction of its population by design of it can't be called massive. 

The desire of the players in choosing a game that inherently cannot have a massive population are therefore looking for a game for different reasons.

 

Originally posted by Suraknar
Originally posted by Consuetudo
Originally posted by Quizzical

My point was not that Aion or Spiral Knights were successful or not.  Rather, it's that the threshold at which a game has enough players to be viable varies wildly from one game to the next.  Maybe you don't want to play in an empty game world.  But should you really care about the difference between a game that has enough players to fill at least two instances (or servers or whatever the game server model is) of everything as opposed to one that has enough to fill 20 instances of everything?

Yes, having more players is pretty strongly correlated with having more revenue.  But my point is that expenses matter just as much as revenue for determining whether a game is commercially successful.  Besides, if I'm picking a game to play, I want to know if I like the game, not whether it's a commercial success.

I'm not arguing as to whether or not someone should care whether there are more people, but that we actually do. 

Many people do, not all people do.

I do not look at the popularity of a game when I make a decision to play it I look at the quality of entertainment it has to offer according to the combination of elements which form Fun Value.

Choosing to play an MMO just based on the Fact of it being popular and having a large population, in my book is Sheep Mentality.... and if this statement implies that WoW is filled by a bunch of Sheep, then so be it.

As I've said, both your fun value will be impacted in its longevity by the success of the game in terms of the population factors argued for, and the game wouldn't be considered a success unless if it is. 

And as in the previous reply of mine, I maintain that if a game inherently is incapable of even denting a fraction of the population of a true MMO like WoW, it really can't be considered massive. 

Yes it can. even Wow has a few thousand people per server. So if an MMO has but one server with a few thousand people it is as Massive as WoW.

It means nothing to me that there are millions of people playing in other servers....All that matters is if the game has a healthy population depending on its design in the server that I play.

The logic of your argument is flawed.

- Duke Suraknar -
Order of the Silver Star, OSS


ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard

  Scott23

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/05/10
Posts: 80

12/01/12 5:15:33 PM#40

I haven't read the replies, but for me population has very little to do with a games appeal.

I have never played WoW - the graphics just didn't appeal to me.  I am attracted to decent graphics, decent story, and decent game mechanics.  The number of players means absolutely nothing to me.

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