MMO Market “as big as it’s ever going to be”

Speaking earlier today at the Evolve conference in Brighton,  Michael Pachter a videogame analyst for Wedbush Securities, stated that he believed the MMO market is as big as it’s ever going to get stating:

In the next couple of years [following 2008] MMOs peaked; we didn’t know that [it had peaked] untilStar Wars launched. I, and many other likeminded people thought that Star Wars would expand the market place.

Star Wars was supposed to bring in all of these new people that had never played an MMO before, just because they loved the brand. We know that Rift just took players from other existing MMOs, and the same with Conan and Lords of the Rings. Now the same thing has happened with Star Wars.

It looks to me as though the MMO market is as big as it’s ever going to be – as far as subscription MMOs. People willing to play $15 a month.., there are six or seven million of them. Period. If Star Warscouldn’t expand it, when it’s made by BioWare, nothing can do it.

That’s why Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios went out of business, because he couldn’t get financing [for his MMO].

This analysis of the market seems very short sighted to me. While I fully agree that the current state of the MMO marketplace is flat, it has in no way reached its limit and how could it? There has been zero innovation to the industry for nearly a decade and the industry is only 15 years old.

I remember when RPG’s were a niche market in gaming during the 80’s and 90’s, but over the last decade with series like Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, Fallout and BioWare’s other Star Wars RPGs, they’ve vastly expanded the market. Today you have games like Skyrim shattering sales records.

If you go back to the early days of Elder Scrolls, Fallout and even the original Diablo, sure they were popular, but they were still in a niche market compared to the rest of the gaming industry. Today RPGs are the considered mainstream thanks to the innovation from developers over the last 15 years or so.

On the other side, MMORPG’s have barely changed despite what some studios claim. They’re stale, repetitive and rely entirely too much on developers ability to push out new content.

There’s no doubt MMORPG are in a slump, but I don’t believe the genre as a whole has peaked, it’s just waiting for a development studio to break the mold and light the way.


  1. Wow… That quote has multiple bad calls in it. this guy simply doesn’t understand the customers or products available in the marketplace he’s analyzing.

    Companies need to build better games… You can’t just put out a big name ip and expect people to just pony up and hand over their entertainment dollars.

  2. I agree 100% with the analyst.

    In the past MMOs were probably the best way to connect online with othe people via guilds.
    Now we have multitudes of different ways to stay connected to other people digitally. The appeal of logging into a PTP game after you aren’t really interested in it anymore has disappeared.
    A lot of people used mMO’s as a $15/month chat room but that is gone.

  3. This one of the most clueless so called “industry” experts. I dont understand why people even bother with him, besides the corporation he sings for…

  4. Someone pays this guy for advice? No wonder MMO’s are going no where. Seriously, even a fool can see the market is saturated. And the world economy is in recession. The 6 million cap won’t grow unless someone comes up with something that is truly exciting.

    This Michael Pachter from Wedbush Securities made his firm look moronic.

    1. SWTOR? Are you serious? They made a game they promised to be KOTOR the MMO. Then delivered WOW with story. That’s a recipe for failure. As the WOW thing has been covered to death. Therefore WOW clones are shrinking the MMO market.

    2. 38 studio’s got 75 million from the state of Rhode Island. Then extra funding the state claims was upwards to 108 million in total. Shilling and his wife claim they put in 50 million. 158 million is enough to make almost 5 average MMO’s. 1 and a half SWTOR’s. 38 studios is an example of what happens when you give huge money to a former pro athlete to make an MMO. Nothing else.

    Seriously, I’m not even close to an MMO “expert”. Though this company should email me and hire me. I’ll work for half the money and benefits. I’ll sit in the office/home and play MMO’s all day. Then I’ll have my secretary read MMO news and business briefs to me. I can guarantee I can be just as off as this guy. Honestly I don’t know how this guy can sleep at night.

  5. Well I just wrote a similar post on my own site. I do think the market has peaked as it stands simply because people are following the standard definition of madness (doing the same thing and expecting a different result). Until the studios start to adapt to the way they deal with their player base the will get the same diminishing returns. Hope you don’t mind my link.

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