Been a while since I posted anything so it seems like the perfect time to rant about something.
I am currently a second year business student majoring in marketing. I really enjoy learning about how other businesses conduct/run their businesses. Recently there has been a lot of new Massively Multiplayer Online games introduced into the market. Obviously you have your classics; Eve online, World of Warcraft, etc. Today there are a number of MMO’s all fighting for a small piece of the market. Last year, Star Wars the Old Republic was released and raised the bar of MMO gaming with full voice over. Guild Wars 2 released in summer 2012, was a pleasent update the the classic Guild Wars. Interestingly enough both of these games and the classics have seen massive subscription declines. Why?
Basically as when an MMO gets announced it seeks “beta-testers” these are generally the innovators and the early adopters. They give important feedback on the game as well as entice them into purchasing the game for full price. At open beta you see more early adopters and at launch the early majority. These individuals are willing to pay full freight for the game and enjoy it regardless of bugs etc.
When an MMO reaches this point they fall right on their faces. For example, SWTOR got to this point had enticed all its early adopters and majority but had no endgame planned (by endgame I mean plan to adapt and restart the product life-cycle). Users quickly lose inters because there is no new content or the new content offered doesn’t appeal or is too late.
Ok, so what happens then?
Well, no surprise the product goes right through the cycle. Late adopters won’t pay the subscription and the game loses is revenue stream. Give it another year and the community for the game is gone.
World of Warcraft may be the exception to this but, ultimately they grasped this with the massive expansions (Pandera, Lich King, etc.) to restart the life-cycle.
So what is the problem?
I think that more games could be successful if designers recognize when its time to restart the cycle. This is easier said than done but having a real plan in the works will extend the game life and ultimately make the experience more fun. I wish I could still play SWTOR but there is no community, no one to run flashpoints with or heroics.
At the same time the revenue streams for games like SWTOR need to be redesigned from the ground up. This means changing from subscription to something else. I don’t know what that something else is but maybe raise the purchase price. I for one would rather pay $80 for a game and never pay for a subscription. But hey that’s just me.