Looking back on our MMO-society, it is a very uncommon event for an MMORPG to get cancelled. I’m not talking about cancelled during development, or any of that hogwash. I am talking about the games that get cancelled after already having been launched, developed, advertised, and generally accepted into the MMO society. It just doesn’t happen that often; UO is still alive and kicking today, and games like the Sims Online (which has about 7,000 subscribers) just won’t seem to go away. In fact, off the top of my head I can only name a few games that have been cancelled:
- Auto Assault (I actually liked this game, a lot)
- Earth and Beyond (Always heard great great things about it)
- Some racing MMO which I can’t even remember the name of, published by EA I think.
That’s it. Three, relatively well-funded, pay2play MMORPGs that were cancelled while people were still playing them. It makes sense though, why should an MMORPG be continually worked on and paid for by a company if the general populace is showing no interest in the title? Games like the Matrix Online, while having a stable community, only has 12,000 subscribers. That’s not a good number, and I bet when SOE comes under review from big papa Sony Computer Entertainment later this year, again, sacrifices will have to be made.
My whole point in this blog, is that the MMORPG bubble is become fat and bloated. We have MMORPGs from 10 years ago still running with decent populations, while newer MMORPGs keep floudering out the door with low subscriber numbers. Eventually there will come a time when a lot of these MMORPGs will have to get axed (I can think of a number of SOE properties that could take a hike). There is only so many MMORPG gamers at this point and with so many under-developed MMORPGs taking up small percentages of the population, chances are, the new MMORPGs that are launching with appropriate funding and development won’t ever reach the subscriber base to justify the cost and thus will be recycled into the same level of development and funding that games like Planetside, Everquest, City of Heroes, and The Sims Online have. That is to say: not much.
It’s a viscious cycle, and one that only seems to be getting worse as games like Tabula Rasa fail to achieve a sufficient base of subscribers.
Thoughts? Comments? Random acts of flamebaitery? Leave em below.