Monday, March 29, 2010

Lum Is The Mad One: On The Star Wars MMO

Scott Jennings wrote over at"> that he was afraid for the MMO part of the gaming industry because EA seamed to be willing to stake $150,000,000 on the project (going from the fact that EA felt they needed 2 million subs to make a profit).

I think there are some great analogies to be made between the Hollywood studio system for creating movies and the studio system we are developing with games and their most recent and expensive iteration MMOs. Scott wonders if EA has priced all but a few top players out of the MMO market.

I say the answer is no--and that is obvious. We are learning how to run and price F2P games. WOW created a market is 20 times larger than anyone though possible. Remember that people though WoW would eat all of EQ and EQ2's player base. In fact both are still going concerns. Before WoW, if you had a niche game that might appeal to 1% of the MMO crowd, you were looking at 4,000 players. Now, post WoW you are looking at 80,000. I suspect that Star Trek, if it has legs, well help grow the MMOsphere with more new players. Star Wars: The Old Republic is, indeed, swinging for the bleachers--but the $150 million Scott projects requires a real marketing campaign and a mass media presence. Should SW:TOR meet a reasonable proportion of its expectations it to will make more room in the MMOsphere for the little games, the mid-market games and even the AAA tent pole games.

MMOs are a very new phenomenon and we are just learning how to segment the market and what expectations to have for a release. I don't think the MMO market is any less capable of supporting a range of experiences than the movie industry: think on Clerks, The Hurt Locker and Avatar.

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