Is the MMO Gaming Genre Dying?


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MMOs have been seeing far less development over the last decade, with fewer releases than ever. World of Warcraft is one of the most well known MMOs.

MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online) used to dominate the gaming industry back in the early 2000s, with games such as “World of Warcraft” or “EverQuest” leading the charge with millions of players. Now, with new game genres such as Battle Royales, people have almost entirely lost interest in this form of gaming. Due to this, MMOs have been seeing far less development over the last decade, with fewer releases than ever. This leaves a lot of people who are fans of MMOs with a question: are Massively Multiplayer Online games dying as a genre?

In order to find out if a game genre is dying, one must first find out if there are any games that are thriving and still have a large player-base. When it comes to MMOs, there aren’t really that many to choose from. Only about three still have a notably sized player-base. This may seem like an average amount at first, but when comparing it to other sections of the gaming industry, such as First Person Shooters which have tens of different games to choose from, you begin to realize how minuscule the MMO market is right now. This stagnation could be a result of many things, however. One of the biggest problems with making an MMO is that they require a hefty budget to support. Maintaining good servers for an MMO can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with the already massive cost to make the game itself, which on its own is millions. This makes it a massive gamble for gaming studios to produce an MMO, since all it takes is one bad first impression for their game to be essentially millions of dollars down the drain.

Another reason that the MMO Genre could be dying is a lack of competition. At the moment, “World of Warcraft,” owned by the gaming company Activision-Blizzard, currently has a monopoly over the MMO industry. Its competition, consisting of only two other games with small populations in comparison, is struggling to get noticed. As a result, there doesn’t have to be much content made in the game in order to keep people interested, since they have no other options. Along with this, any new MMO releases are usually overshadowed and are thought of as a joke since they most likely don’t stand a chance against the monopolized market, which only makes the monopoly worse.

Recently, however, there have been two new MMO releases that seem to be catching the attention of the gaming community and bringing the genre back into the spotlight. One of these MMOs, titled “New World,” was created by Amazon Games and is innovating the industry with new game mechanics such as scavenging resources and colonizing the setting of the game. Along with this, another MMO by the name of “Ashes of Creation” is also in development, and its special feature is a player-ran faction system, which is bound to make the game interesting.

These two new releases are most likely going to result in competition for the MMO market, at least for a little while, and it could greatly increase not only the quality of the genre, but the size of its player base as well. Attracting new players is the key to keeping games alive, and right now MMOs still need to obtain the next generation of their players. What happens next for the MMO industry could be anyone’s guess, but only the future can tell if this genre stands the test of time.