Wedbush Securities, a financial services and investment firm, today commented on the recent collapse of 38 Studios and the general status of the MMO industry stating that “Nobody is buying MMOs after Star Wars fizzled“. The analyst, Michael Pachter, went on to say that THQ learned this first hand when they could not find a publisher for the Warhammer 40K MMO.
Now this isn’t necessarily bad news, depending on who you are and how you’re looking at it. As a MMO developer, this is probably horrible news for you, but as a gamer, I think it couldn’t be any better.
You see there’s a reason for all of this; there’s a reason why SWTOR players are leaving in droves and why MMOs can’t seem to reach and hold that elusive one million subscribers/player mark. It’s a little game called World of Warcraft. You might have heard about it.
Until developers and publishers realize they’re never going to beat WoW by creating a clone of it, they’re all going to fail. But don’t tell that to the guys behind the Elder Scrolls MMO, it seems they’re as clueless as BioWare was and from the list of features that have been released so far, it seems we’ll have another dead-on-arrival MMO late next year.
Sure there are indie MMO developers creating gems like Pathfinder Online, Embers of Caerus and Dominus, which is now canceled, but they’re under funded, unpolished, and graphically out-dated. The second a developer creates a Kickstarter project, that tells me the game will either never see the light of day or will be released well before it should be. I have no interest in games like that.
The failure of SWTOR is undisputed. While it might be profitable for a long time, it’s once optimistic view that it can compete with WoW has been shattered and it’s left to fight for the scraps off the WoW table amongst the dozens of other “wow killers”.
The failure of SWTOR should be a wake up call to the entire industry that it’s time to try something new, but it seems with games like WildStar, Elder Scrolls and others on the horizon, were going to have to go through a few more failures before it sinks in.