Wedbush Analysist: “Nobody is buying MMOs after Star Wars fizzled”

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.



  1. I don’t understand how they are saying Star Wars is a failure. The game is fun but of course the game isn’t going to have WoWs numbers. Not even WoW is going to have WoW’s numbers anymore.

    I don’t understand why these MMO dev’s expect 10’s of millions of constant subscribers. If they don’t get the end game formula correct (chasing the white rabbit), there is no reason to keep paying for the game. When I played WoW I always had a reason to show up to the next raid night because I wanted that new top end gear. With Cata, the gear was so easily obtainable so the end game lost all of it’s luster.

    From what I hear that is the problem with Star Wars’ end game. There isn’t one. Right now I’m just playing through ToR for my first time, and like I had said before, once I finish my 1st run through I will un-sub from the game. :shrug:

    I guess the moral of the story I was trying to get across is : STOP EXPECTING MASSIVE SUBSCRIPTION NUMBERS AND CATER TO WHAT YOU HAVE! Why else would Everquest last so long on a p2p model? They catered to audiences that they had.

  2. WoW’s impact upon the MMO market can’t be denied, but I suspect the reason new entries in the MMO space have supposedly “fizzled” is because the genre is becoming less relevant – not because WoW is syphoning potential players.

    Originally MMO’s were a great excuse to socialize and share gaming experiences – MMO’s used to be chat room playgrounds with a graphic engine. “You mean all those ‘other’ characters are controlled by real people?! Holy crap this is cool!” Remember those days?

    The “gamification” of our MMO’s (achievements, raids, auction houses, RMT, etc ..) came later; what was first was an experiment in a shared virtual world. Currently we have Facebook, iphones, Ventrilo, Diablo III, X-box live, other MMO entries, MOBA’s, FTP arena games, etc … we don’t MMOG like we used to. Our MMO’s have become exercises in Co-Op social media. WoW is the market leader of a bygone age and copying their business model is probably a day late and a dollar short.

  3. It’s not the problem with MMO’s as much as it is with developers and publishers who just want to copy WoW and then claim it’s the latest and greatest thing. That’s why SWTOR failed, among many things. In fact, it lacked much of what WoW has, and tried to make it a single player game, a mediocre one at that. Plus it was charging a subscription.

    GW2 is going to show developers and publishers how they are doing it wrong.

  4. @Ludo I totally agree. Back when UO and Everquest came out, it was a way to get the feel of a massive D&D gaming night, with conversation and gameplay. With casual gaming, mobile devices, and a completely changed society of gamers from what we had in the 80s, MMOs are becoming irrelevant. Hopefully someone figures it out and really does bring us something new. The popularity of Diablo 3 should be a massive clue. It’s time to change the game.

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