MMORPG.com's Free Zone columnist Richard Aihoshi clears the air on the supposed global MMOG market in this week's column.
The talk of a global market started well back in the day. It's probably impossible to pinpoint an exact date, or maybe even a year. However, by around 1996, and even more so after Ultima Online launched successfully in 1997 - it quickly cracked the 100,000 subscriber plateau - it wasn't uncommon at all to see predictions about MMOGs reaching around the world and bringing gamers together from anywhere they could connect online. And most of these said it would happen relatively quickly.
The latter part wasn't very likely, largely due to the length of time required for development. While there were a few anomalies such as Dark Age of Camelot, which took about two years, three to four was certainly more typical. One reason was that for most intents and purposes, the concept of a less than fully featured MMOG didn't yet exist, perhaps because the entire category was still a niche. So, virtually every project was big.