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Role Playing (Games)

WoW Helping or Hurting the Industry? 692

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-lot-of-gorrilla dept.
alstor writes "The New York Times has an interesting story about the success of World of Warcraft, and whether it is hurting or helping the gaming industry; this goes along with an earlier post on an article from CNN. From the Times article: 'WoW is now the 800-pound gorilla in the room. I think it also applies to the single-player games. If some kid is paying $15 a month on top of the initial $50 investment and is devoting so many hours a week to it, are they really going to go out and buy the next Need for Speed or whatever? There is a real fear that this game, with its incredible time investment, will really cut into game-buying across the industry.' What is the Slashdot opinion on World of Warcraft's impact on the gaming industry?"
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WoW Helping or Hurting the Industry?

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  • Huge market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fembots (753724) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:25PM (#13494175) Homepage
    I don't believe WoW is the 800-pound gorilla yet, because there are still ways to serve the market.

    One request that has often been asked but hardly answered is the free-game-with-subscription model.

    While almost all pay-$50-then-$15-monthly gamers may have been attracted to WoW, there must be even more gamers who are only willing to invest in a game which allows them to pay-as-they-play. Is any leading publisher willing to take a risk of no initial income and bank on the monthly subscription?

    So I think WoW is in a way helping the industry to identify this subscription-based market, but if the rest of the industry is trying to do the same thing, they are likely to be a distanced also-run.
    • From what I see, subscription is where the real money is. That's why I use Zip.ca (Canadian Netflix). It's a much better deal than Blockbuster. Blockbuster had trouble getting $25 a month off me. Call it a subscription for unlimited movies, and it was easy. Maybe it's not the same, because I get more from Zip.ca then I ever could from blockbuster. The easy returns make it worth it already. But i think that a lot of money could be made of multiplayer games like this. Even give a 2 week trial period.
      • Re:Huge market (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dishpig (877882) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:59PM (#13494528)
        Actually I could see a free-download/one month trial having more problems than it is worth. Distribution obviously, but more importantly, if they haven't invested their $50, how commited will they be to slugging it through to where they think it might get better? If I've invested $50 in a game, you can be damn sure I'm going to play it for a few months just to get my money's worth, regardless of how much I may be enjoying it. If I got it for free, I feel no such compulsion. I may decide it doesn't run as well as I hoped, or I've seen the cool stuff I wanted to, or 'some jerk ganked me and I hate this crap', or 'I don't have time right now' and end up never coming back to it because something newer and more shiny has come out. That $50 pays a good chunk of distribution and throws a nickel or two at development, but the most important thing it buys is commitment.
        • Re:Huge market (Score:4, Interesting)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @06:26PM (#13494759) Homepage
          With games, they could really ditch the whole distribution chain and give the game away as a download. Maybe $5 if people actually want a CD. Also, selling prepaid subscriptions with the game at a reduced price could bring in some initial dollars.
        • Re:Huge market (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Boronx (228853)
          If I've invested $50 in a game, you can be damn sure I'm going to play it for a few months just to get my money's worth

          Sadly I think this *is* insightful becaue so many think the way you do.

          The game is a sunk cost. The price you've paid for it has no bearing on how much value you can get out of it.

          There may be a game that is so bad that you'll never get $50 worth of entertainment no matter how much you play.

          Then consider a merely horrible game where steady playing allows you to eke out $0.50 worth of enter
        • Re:Huge market (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mwvdlee (775178)
          I'd rather buy a $50 game, consider it a mistake, then throw it away, than keep playing through many boring hours just because I paid for it.
          If a game sucks, it's NEVER going to be "worth it's money". No matter how much time you spend on it, the only thing a bad game will do is waste even more.
          So if you've bought yourself a bad game; accept your mistake and move on.

          Not saying WoW is bad (I'm not willing to risk $50 to find out), just that if you DO think it's bad; don't wast more on it than you already have
      • Re:Huge market (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lotrtrotk (853897) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @06:05PM (#13494581)
        People will get hooked if it's "free".

        I think I'd change this to read...
        People will get hooked if it's "good"

        But maybe that's the reason game companies wont make the switch. With a subscription system, the game has to actually be GOOD to get people to keep paying past the initial month. While with the traditional payment method, as long as it's marketed well, people will buy it. Once they've coughed up the cash, it doesn't make a difference whether they like it or not. The company has already made its money.

        So for that reason, I'd love to see more games go with subscription payments. It would push the companies to make games actually BE more fun instead of making them LOOK more fun.
    • I think the best available game will define "the industry", as it always seems to (thus WoW, or any great game, is helping the industry).

      The question is what do you really want? Lump sum payments tend to be more "take it or leave it" in terms of content, resources will be driven to the next project once the current one is delivered, and network resources (the real $$$ behind monthly subscriptions) will be minimized as much as possible.

      Monthly payments will encourage companies to make really long, drawn out
    • Re:Huge market (Score:4, Informative)

      by Phisbut (761268) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:09PM (#13495071)
      While almost all pay-$50-then-$15-monthly gamers may have been attracted to WoW, there must be even more gamers who are only willing to invest in a game which allows them to pay-as-they-play.

      Although it might not be the best option at first sight, last I checked, WoW had over 4 million subscribers... The difference between the free-download-then-$15-monthly and pay-$50-then-$15-monthly is $20 millions...

      I don't think any publishers would pass on $20 millions.

      They have a pretty good way to hook people though... every retail-box has a "friend pass" that you can give to a friend so he can get 10 days for free... that's how I got hooked... and they call that a "friend"... ...

      • Re:Huge market (Score:4, Informative)

        by Babbster (107076) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <bbabnoraa>> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:32PM (#13495713) Homepage
        Not to be too pedantic, but the number is $200 million if 4 million people pay $50 per unit. But, not every customer pays the same price. For example, WoW is steeply discounted in China so that they can take business away from the software black market over there.
        • Re:Huge market (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jarnis (266190)
          Not really. You cannot 'black market' WoW. Each copy has an unique serial key used to create an unique account to access the game.

          You cannot pirate WoW - well, you can, but the CDs are worthless without an account. At best you can use your 'pirate copy' to run an account you bought off ebay...
  • ...from my own experience, it would be a gold standard against which other games would be measured, for better or for worse.
    • by HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:29PM (#13494219)
      I'm not going to feel sorry for EA games, anytime soon. Innovate or get out of the way.
      • by guaigean (867316) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:52PM (#13494455)
        Innovate or get out of the way.

        Thank you! It's not that WoW is monopolizing. They just happen to have made a good game, and the consumer is speaking with their dollar. If a game comes out that can draw attention from WoW, it deserves the money. I'm sorry that EA can't pump out another Madden and make endless cash, but its about damned time that the Free Market and Economic theory returned to the marketplace. There is no anti-competive work at play here, supply and demand. Low supply of quality games, and a high demand for it where WoW fulfills the need.
      • by Chasuk (62477)
        Time was when EA actualy produced innovative games. In fact, they were one of the most innovative game companies of all time, back when Bill Budge and Trip Hawkins were still household names. Now they are just re-packagers of other people's shit.
    • by Thangodin (177516) <elentar@@@sympatico...ca> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:15PM (#13495130) Homepage
      Agreed. It's the 800 lb gorilla because it's good. It has a ton of content and supports single and group play, PvP, etc. It isn't the best at everything (City of Heroes wins the title for best group play, Dark Age of Camelot has the best PvP) but it is the best overall. And it runs on an average machine. Hell, the late EQ2 crawled on a top end machine.

      I, for one, welcome our orcish overlords. :)

      Now if you'll excuse me, I have to log on...
  • by Eyah....TIMMY (642050) * on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:26PM (#13494185)
    The graphics in WOW are pretty intense and I know many people including myself who bought a new computer just to improve their WOW experience. Also, Blizzard is releasing new content every month or so that requires even more graphics power. So the trend will mostly likely be for subscribers to buy new hardware quite often.

    The interesting thing is that WOW supports MAC very well. Granted the graphics I heard are not as good as on a PC (I don't see a difference). I saw people buy MACs because their main game now was on MAC and they didn't see a need anymore to stay on PC.
    Playing WOW on a 30 inch Apple wide screen LCD is pretty nice :).

    Elnino - Destromath.
  • Seriously (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Motie (466246) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:26PM (#13494191) Homepage Journal
    This too will pass.
    • Yes, this shall pass (Score:5, Interesting)

      by miketo (461816) <miketo@nwPOLLOCKlink.com minus painter> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:50PM (#13494439)
      The gaming industry will continue to exist. What won't exist are the current software houses, not because of WoW but because it's the nature of the beast. Ten years ago Sierra, Dynamix, Interplay, and others were the kings of the gaming hill. Now, they're just fond memories.

      In the online community Everquest is fading, DAoC is fading, even City of Heroes is fading. All the supposed "hot! hot!" games enjoy popularity for a while then fade away. WoW will do this too.

      As for the original question, WoW has little or nothing to do with the revenue streams flowing into other game developers. The purported "fear" of WoW cutting into game-buying is the sound of marketers quaking (pun not intended) because they promised management and shareholders 15-20% revenue increases based on publication of such scintillating games as "50 Cent: Bulletproof", and the revenue flow is just not happening. WoW is a convenient scapegoat.

      As others have said, good games, not good marketing, draws the dollars. The recording industry is learning a similar lesson, as is Hollywood. It just happens to be gaming's turn.
  • I'd say... (Score:4, Funny)

    by MourningBlade (182180) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:27PM (#13494194) Homepage

    But I'm too busy playing Capture the Flag in Warsong Gulch.

    Death to the Horde!

    [*] But a salute to the talented Horde on Cenaurion Circle from Art of Battle.

  • Personally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BigDork1001 (683341) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:27PM (#13494197) Homepage
    Yes, it probably is. Since I started WoWing I haven't been playing as many other games and definitely not buying any. It doesn't help that there haven't been many games that have been released lately that interest me. Eventually I'll grow tired of WoW and the next new big games that interests me will come along and I'll stop. But until then I won't be spending my money on other games.
  • Unfair (Score:3, Funny)

    by buddha42 (539539) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:27PM (#13494198)
    We need an Equalization of Opportunity in Video Games Act.
    • > We need an Equalization of Opportunity in Video Games Act.

      Naw, that's more like Atlas Swgged, not WoW.

      At a time of dwindling production, shrinking markets and vanishing opportunities to make a living, it was unfair to let one player hoard several characters, while others had only one; it was destructive to let a few guilds corner all the resources, leaving others no chance; competition was essential to society, and it was society's duty to see that no competitor ever rose beyond the range of anybo

  • Meh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by MrR0p3r (460183)
    Can't post...must gain level!
  • Well (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PunkOfLinux (870955)
    There's always going to be the people NOT playing WoW, and those people are always going to number in the tens of millions. So, no, it's not really going to hurt the industry, unless they become like Hollywood and put out crap.
  • How many have quit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ironwill96 (736883)
    I don't think it is an issue because as thousands join, thousands of us quit.

    WoW is a boring game when you get to the higher levels, and it is at it's heart just another game of "grind to spend time".

    In the short term it might have an effect, but in the long-term it will just be a bump in the road.
    • by Night Goat (18437)
      I hear that. I've got a 49th level paladin who's been spending a LOT of time at the inn lately because I just don't want to kill that much time playing WoW. At this point, with all the grinding I'm doing, I might as well just play Diablo II. In fact, that is what I've been doing! Why split up the loot when I can keep it all for myself? Now if only they'd make a Diablo 3 with graphics as good as WoW.
      • Level 49? Grinding?? Ha! Wait until you get to level 60, and you find that the options open to you are:
        • run LBRS/UBRS/Strat/Scholo/MC over and over and over (and over and over) until you get whatever item set [thottbot.com] interests you most
        • play enough time to buy the materials to make your own purple equipment [thottbot.com]
        • play enough time to buy an epic mount
        • collect insane amounts of dark iron ore and other things, so that eventually one of your reputation bars can turn the color you want
        • ... anything else people do at leve
    • by ejito (700826) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:42PM (#13494365)
      WoW appeals more to the noncompetitive gamer as time goes on. I had two level 60s before I quit, and it just wasn't as fun as it was frustrating.

      More hardcore gamers crave PVP -- WoW PvP just doesn't cut it (balance issues, group issues, etc). It's obvious that individual skill isn't as important as time sinking, and WoW will never become a competitive game.

      The game really does get boring. The game world becomes dull, and more of a drag to cross, rather than an adventure. Spending hours just to do high level instances just isn't fun. I'm just gonna use that gear to beat down other players, but even that part isn't fun.
    • and it is at it's heart just another game of "grind to spend time"

      I love Warcraft and I wish what you said wasn't so, but as I approach "end game" levels, it becomes more and more of a grind. "Gotta do one more dungeon run to get xx piece of equipment to complete my set". And this dungeon run will be just like every other run except for the items that drop. And my item might not drop. And I'll have to compete with others for it... Same goes for the keys to Onyxia...
  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:30PM (#13494233) Homepage Journal
    The game industry is already hurting. There's so much lack of innovation in games due to stupid software patents (camera views, etc.)

    As long as this doesn't become the next Evercrack, why should I really care whether or not it's hurting an industry that's hurting itself to begin with? If anything, I'd tend to think Electronic Arts is hurting the industry more because of their exclusive deal with the NFL.
  • Well...maybe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393)
    Maybe, if the games industry would make games worth playing ( instead of the affore mentioned sequels and the like ), people would buy them.

    Just a thought. However, name a game that has the same level of enjoyment as Sam and Max. Or Grim Fandago.

    Or wing commander. Xcom.

    Just to name a few. Everyone lately seems overly obsessed with graphics, completely ignoring the plot and gameplay in some cases.
    • Psychonauts (of course, that's by the guy that did Grim Fandango)
    • Really does sound like a no brainer doesn't it? WoW charges $50 + $15/month. You wanna complete with WoW? Offer a free download and $10/month for a game that is as good. Can't do that? Go home.
    • Re:Well...maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:57PM (#13494498)
      This exact same post appears every time there's a discussion about games. It's not "interesting" any longer, I'm sorry... now it's inane.

      Look, there is this phenomenon called "nostalgia." It's the tendency of people to remember the good games and forget the bad ones. You point out games like X-Com, Sam and Max, what do these games have in common? They're all top tier games. The top tier games right now, the ones that'll be remembered in ten years, are just as good, and there's just as many of them!

      Look, when you think back to the movie season of 1998, do you think "The Avengers" or do you think "Saving Private Ryan?" The bad movies are forgotten, the good ones aren't. That's nostalgia. The quality of games hasn't changed, I can guarantee it.
  • Dunno about WoW... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:30PM (#13494237)

    ...but Blizzard are hurting the industry, by abusing the DMCA to shut down open-source competitors for the "crime" of being compatible with their software. Remember, kids, the interoperability exception of the DMCA doesn't exist if the copyright holder says so. That's a matter of law [businesswire.com] now.

    • When your interoperability disables the copy protection technique, you are breaking the law. I'd like to see the DMCA go away, but as written the outcome was obvious.
    • by greymond (539980) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:52PM (#13494457) Homepage Journal
      You have go tot be kidding me.... BnetD violated Blizzard's EULA and TOU for the Diablo/Starcraft games and Bnet. Yeah the DMCA is annoying, yes it was definately one of many tools used by Blizzards Lawyers to get their way in court. But BnetD was doing something they knew was blatantly not allowed by Blizzard.
      • BnetD was doing something they knew was blatantly not allowed by Blizzard.

        However, there was good reason to believe that it was allowed by THE LAW.
        If you do something not allowed by Blizzard, you get banned from Battle.net.
        If you do something not allowed by the law, you get fines or a jail sentence. Big difference.
        However, at least when it comes to Bnet, the courts have effectively decided that Blizzard IS the law.
      • THe point is (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)
        Should BLizzard be able to force you to do what they want with the game you have purchased?
        Sure they can put it into there EULA, but that does NOT make it so.

        I acn sell hammer and make you sign a piece of paper saying you will only use it with 10 penny nails. If I tried to get a court to stop you from using it on panel nails, I'd be laughed out of court.

      • by KillShill (877105)
        did someone say ALLOWED?

        people don't need blizzard's permission or any other software vendor's to do what they wish with their purchased software.

        that some incompetent group of judges decided on the behalf of a 1600lb gorilla, is of no consequence in the overall scheme of things.

        software is a product and so long it is a product it will HAVE to abide by the rules governing commercial transactions i.e. you buy something, then you can do with it whatever you want.

        of course the software industry isn't going to
      • by Geekbot (641878)
        I think the point is not if it was allowed by Blizzard. The question would be should Blizzard be allowed to deny it.

        Tied in Blizzard's multiplaying software to the game to prevent competition...
        Blocked users who had purchased a product from using the product as they wished. Not an issue of copying, but an issue of personal use of a product.

        Definitely sounds like Blizzard is the bad guy here.
  • WOW has a limited lifespan - the next MMORPG that comes out will draw off significant numbers of users.

    I already got bored with it, after only about 6 months. The endgame experience once you hit 60 is kind of repetitive with the same old, same old instances, reminds me a lot of Diablo 2 doing Act 5 runs constantly to get drops. After weeks or months of that - *yawn*.

    They can release content as fast as they can write it, any kind of new game will trounce their ass in the short term.
  • Speaking as a kid who grew up playing Nintendo (the original one you had to blow on to make the cartridges work) I say that the amount of time spent playing WoW and PS2 and watching DVDs and so on is going to have a serious impact on child development including aspects of:
    - social interaction
    - physical activity
    - addiction
    - valuing human or animal life
    - respect for authority / oposite sex / themselves

    Just like ice cream and candy, video games should not be something chilren should be allowed to binge their b
  • It's very simple, if you can't imagine people paying an additional $15 to play your game, guess what, offer a cheaper and better alternative!

    I for one am in the category of people who would like to play some of these games just a bit, and don't have the time to spend so many hours on this. However, if they would drop these montlhly payment schemes or charge a much lower fee, they would attract a lot of people.

    Intead of doing that, we get an article saying how this game doesn't let other games compete in the
  • I have not bought (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Boap (559344)
    any single player games in the last three years but instead have bought a copy of almost every MMORPG game that has come out on the market looking for the next UO. For me the game is secondary to interacting with the people online and as such for me this type of game will always have a special place for me.
  • by drmike0099 (625308) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:32PM (#13494255)
    It has definitely chaned how I buy (or rather, don't buy) new games. Basically WoW is so good, and takes up all of my allotted game time, that whenever a new game comes out I have to really look at whether or not I think it's good enough to get me to play that rather than WoW. There haven't been many that I've purchased since WoW came out, and those have left me disappointed, so now I have an XBox and a PS2 sitting there, unused for months.

    The social aspect is also a big draw, in that I have quite a few friends who are likewise addicted to WoW, so I can log in and chat with them as well. Single-players or XBox Live games just aren't as good at that aspect.

    • by FreshFunk510 (526493) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:55PM (#13494487)
      That's the paradox behind all gaming, isn't it? My gaming friends always have a "queue" of games they need to get to but there's never enough time.

      I'm not much of a gamer these days (I don't even bother with xbox of ps2 except on occassion) but even when I was playing Counterstrike back in the day, all i really needed was one good, addictive game to take up all my free time. I can't imagine having TWO good, addictive games.. there's just not enough time for that.

      I think this existed somewhat before MMO games. MMO probably makes it more scary because of the long term commitment to it. But, like any other game, people will get bored and want something new. That's jsut part of the evolution of the gaming industry that's inherently due to changing hardware, software and technology.
    • by WinterSolstice (223271) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @06:58PM (#13494984)
      I also agree to this. I previously played about 15-30 hours a week of PS2 games, and a bit of Neverwinter Nights. I even bought both expansions as soon as the patches for Mac were available.

      Now, I play about 3-5 hours of WoW a night, and I have no time at all for other games. I even have a few pre-ordered games sitting on my shelf in the shrinkwrap. I bought WoW accounts for my oldest son and my wife. We play together daily.

      To top this off, I am considering a new machine based largely off gaming performance for the first time in 3 years.

      I'd say it definately has an impact. A game would have to be truly amazing to pull me off WoW. I didn't even like Everquest this much.

      -WS
  • ....but I'm about to run to Scholomance. Sorry!
  • No, I don't think it will cut into the off-the-shelf sales of video games, provided that the many distributors, manufacturers, and game studios start to shift their business models to adapt to the changing times. WoW is just one of many examples that underline the importance of multiplayer capabilities in the next generation of PC and/or console video games.

    Personally, I find that a purely single player game highly lacks replayability. Even some of the greatest single player games such as Final Fantasy VI
  • Boredom (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Odin_Tiger (585113)
    People get bored and move on, at least most. A select few will stick to a single game like that and play for huge amounts of time each day every day for years, but for the most part people not only get totally bored and move on to a whole new game entirely after a while, but they get bored on a day-to-day basis and play other games just for variety. It may be an 800lb gorilla right now, but it will grow old and die, or more likely, be unceremoniously butchered by the -next- 800lb gorilla to come along. Asi
  • WoW FTW (Score:2, Insightful)

    by freakout (600790)
    I play WoW about 15 hours a week, Deathwing server FTW. But I still find time to play alot of other XBOX and PC games.
  • Might not be the first time that there's a generation clash, but definitely an amusing one - check out postings #3 & #5 to get a good laugh: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.aspx?fn= w ow-realm-cenarioncircle&t=145812&p=1&tmp=1#post145 812 [worldofwarcraft.com]

    Seriously: WoW is currently one of a kind for merging virtual and effective reality; no matter what, this is the stuff the future is made of.

  • no time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ktulus cry (607800)
    I never got into WoW because I'm cheap, but I got into Guild Wars... and I've passed on buying at least 3 games that I can think of off the top of my head. I'm a college student, and my gaming time availability is rationed carefully. I can only imagine that it's worse for everyone paying the monthly fee for WoW.
  • I was playing the high end game in WoW and I really got tired of it. I was spending like 2-3 hours a day during the week and 10-12 hours on weekends (something like 20 hours a week?). Even that was considered light gaming. It was very, very hard to get anything done with a fulltime job. I stopped playing a month ago, and I haven't been back.

    Now I'm in school fulltime with a lot going on, and I just can't bring myself to log on. My guild is probably pissed at me, but doing high end instances which take 4

    • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @06:37PM (#13494843) Homepage
      "I want a game where I can play a few hours a week, and still get something out of it. Things just take too long in the high level game in WoW!"

      Try Counter Strike. It also can be a time sink but it is easier for it not to be. With each round resetting every 3-5 min it's easy to hop in for half hour or so and have a lot of fun.
      Not like WoW where you can spend that much time just trying to get to where the action is. Run run run. Get to the port. No boat. Dang, just missed it. Wait 5 min. Fish. Dang, fishing without beer is boring. Ride the boat, run run run. Hop on griffon. fly fly fly. run some more. Now the fun can start 20 min later. Boring.
  • The hard core wow addicts I know have cut their video game spending considerably.

    Now they are spending all their disposable income on Doomhammer gold from ebay.
  • I played Diablo and Diablo II, so I got enough of blizzard

    fool me once....
  • My favorite quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m minus language> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:39PM (#13494329) Homepage Journal
    From the NYT article (emphasis mine):
    "I don't think there are four million people in the world who really want to play online games every month," said Michael Pachter, a research analyst for Wedbush Morgan, a securities firm. "World of Warcraft is such an exception. I frankly think it's the buzz factor, and eventually it will come back to the mean, maybe a million subscribers."
    "It may continue to grow in China," Mr. Pachter added, "but not in Europe or the U.S. We don't need the imaginary outlet to feel a sense of accomplishment here. It just doesn't work in the U.S. It just doesn't make any sense."

    Um... do I ask 13 year old boys about hedge funds? Who is this guy and why is his laughably out of touch opinion anchoring this article? It's like some talking head in 1890 going "this whole electricity thing is a fad. A few electric lights here, an automatic phonograph there. It will fade after the novelty factor wears off."

    Seriously, how out of touch can you be with the growth of online gaming? Someone should show this idiot his quote in 10 years.
  • WOW is the latest fad, nothing more. People will get bored and relise they spent 3-4 times the money of one game on it and yet still have to pay to play it if they want to start up again.
  • I positively hate when someone passes off anecdotal data as a definite trend, so I want to say right off the bat that I am only talking about my own experiences.

    I played UO when it first came out eight years ago, and since then, I have not picked up any of the big MMORPGs. Every single one has raised my interest, and I always wish I could live in some alternate reality where I could spend 4 or 5 hours devoted to this game without it affecting my free time. If that could be done, sign me up.

    However, it is an
  • Man, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:40PM (#13494349) Homepage
    It isn't like MMOs didn't exist before this.

    It also isn't like Blizzard hasn't ever made a game before that was so absorbing that people just stopped playing anything else.

    I don't see any examples of World of Warcraft hurting "the market". What I see in this article is examples of poor game developers, being hurt by capitalism. If Need for Speed is bad enough that spending $12 on WoW makes Need for Speed not worth buying, then the problem here is that need for speed wasn't good enough to be worth $12 to that person. The reason why Matrix Online got "downsized from nine virtual "realms" to three" is because Matrix Online sucks. Notice in the article that NCSoft, who actually makes good games and is competent enough to compete in a fair market, doesn't seem at all worried?

    There are a number of developments in video games lately that I would describe as bad for the health of the video game market. World of Warcraft is not one.
  • by Maul (83993) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:41PM (#13494357) Journal
    World of Warcraft is simply the most popular MMORPG right now. This same article could have been written about Everquest 1 a few years ago.

    EQ arguably sucked even more time than WoW, and other PC games were still sold. There are many gamers who don't like the MMO thing and will continue to buy other games and consoles.

    Eventually, someone will make a WoW-killer in the MMORPG arena. It may take a few years, but it'll happen.
  • by TekReggard (552826) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:43PM (#13494374)
    From my experience in video game retail, I would say it isn't going to be a direct impact from games like World of Warcraft that adjust the buying habits of consumers. The biggest impact will be stores like GameStop, GameCrazy, EBGames, and some of the older stores from the past that have merged with GameStop over the years. Their Trade-In programs, while convenient, are slowly sapping the libraries from players and into retailers warehouses. For example, I recently shipped nearly sixty copies of GTA: III to a warehouse because of an abundant overstock. Considering the store I work in has only been open less than a year, I was quite surprised to see I had 60 copies of overstock for any game.

    Now I know that I'm getting kind of off topic and trade-ins are a completely different tangent, but the trends in buying vs trade-ins are very relevent. Consumers are becoming less and less likely to purchase a NEW game over a Used Game, they are also becoming more and more prone to spending less money out of pocket to pay for something. So I believe we'll see a small impact from subscription games. I mean $15 a month, if someone buys 12 games a year, is only about 3 games per year. Though, as compared, the biggest impact will be from consumers running out of trade in values. It may sound a little far fetched, but I have been seeing a lot more people who are unwilling to pay more than thirty dollars out of their pocket when they have rising gas prices and costs of living to deal with as well. So when someone can trade in three games they already own to pay less than $10 for that spiffy new game they want, they'll do it. The question I pose, though, is what happens when they realize the trade ratio is about 3 to 1, and eventually they either wont have games to trade, or will be stuck paying 30+ dollars per game again.
    • Consumers are becoming less and less likely to purchase a NEW game over a Used Game... what happens when they realize the trade ratio is about 3 to 1

      The Gamestop near me is right near the local high school. Whenever I stop in, there is almost always at least one kid trading in lots of games. I guess the point it that kids don't value things the way adults would. But after thinking about it awhile and expanding on that, I have to say if somebody is done with a game and won't use it again it holds zero

  • Yup... (Score:2, Funny)

    by WolfTattoo (732427)
    I can only speak from my own personal experience...I used to buy at least one game a month. Then I got into Dark Age of Camelot early on in its launch. I didn't buy another game for a year and half after that. I even convinced myself that being completely addicted to DAoC was a good thing--at only $12.95 a month, I was saving a bundle in not having to buy new games. -wolftattoo
  • I'm not an MMO geek so if anybody out there has better stats on this feel free to chime in. The article said:

    ""For many years the gaming industry has been struggling to find a way to get Internet gaming into the mainstream," said Jeff Green, editor in chief of Computer Gaming World, one of the top computer game magazines.These kinds of games have had hundreds of thousands of players, which are not small numbers, but until World of Warcraft came along no one has been able to get the kind of mainstream num

  • From TFA: "I don't think there are four million people in the world who really want to play online games every month," said Michael Pachter, a research analyst for Wedbush Morgan, a securities firm. ". . . eventually it will come back to the mean, maybe a million subscribers." . . . "It may continue to grow in China,. . . but not in Europe or the U.S. We don't need the imaginary outlet to feel a sense of accomplishment here. It just doesn't work in the U.S. It just doesn't make any sense."

    You gotta love a g
  • Itn't hurting me... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gellenburg (61212)
    I still love Donkey Kong, PacMan, and Space Invaders.

    Plus, why in the hell would I pay $15 just to pay a game that I've already bought?

    I see another bubble about to burst here.
  • Gaming is like cycles. Many people are in a cycle with WoW. After WoW, they might go to another MMORPG, or consoles or regular PC games, a combination of it all or take a break.

    In any case, what WoW is doing is nothing new, in terms of pricing. SWG, EQ, UO, and others have been doing it since the beginning. A game comes, it gets popular and it dwindles. This is a normal process. It would be good if the article stated the examples that I did. There's nothing really new here. The many thing that is changing i
  • As long as I get one of those sexy new enchants from Zul Gurub . . .
  • MMOGs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TopSpin (753) * on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:49PM (#13494433) Journal
    Canceled my EVE Online accounts this weekend. Both accounts represent hundreds of hours of... something. Not sure if its work or play, but its a hell of a lot of time. Past MMOG engagements include DAOC and PlanetSide. Both equally large time sinks, PlanetSide being the most fun until they ruined it.

    I'm done with MMOG. I appear to have the ability to quit these things cold-turkey after sufficient suffering. I know others can't.

    Downloaded Wolfenstein, Enemy Territory. The bugs apparent in the 1.x releases are gone. There are plenty of very active servers. No exp bar to watch; you're uber the instant you start playing. Log off and you're done. Only way it becomes a time sink is when you attempt to develop content.

    There you go; living proof MMOGs won't ruin the non-MMOG market.

    No, you can't have my stuff.
  • In some aspects I think WoW is targetted at the adult market because I would think most kids wouldn't be able to afford it and I doubt most parents are willing to shell out $15/month for a game unless they are playing it themselves.

    As as former WoW player and a somewhat current Warcraft 3 player, I can say that the attitudes and chat on WoW is leaps and bounds more mature than WC3.
  • As a veteran of MMORPGs (well...started playing Everquest 1 month after release so I feel that qualifies me) I felt the grip for MANY years with this form of game but EVENTUALLT bordom did set in and my buying habits returned to "normal". I bought MANY MMORPGS (EQ, AO, DAOC, UO, SB, CoH etc etc) in order to try and get the same sort of "rush" I did when I first discovered EQ (the same sort of rush Im sure many are finding with WoW) but in the end, the formuliac copies (of which WoW is just one of many...hig
  • by cpu_fusion (705735) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:54PM (#13494466)
    A couple of thoughts ....

    The folks at Sony (Raph, etc.) are responsible for their own problems with EQ2. They rushed to get that game out the door as close as they could to WoW, even though WoW was much farther along in testing. If they hadn't made hasty decisions in order to try to contain the "virtually" certain EQ exodus to WoW, and instead had invested that time on producing a truly innovative game, they could have won back mindshare from WoW when it hit its inevitable "fallout" with players: the (similarly rushed) launch of "battlegrounds".

    Now I'm not saying WoW wasn't rushed too, .. solid PvP should have been there at day 1 ..., (hey it is Warcraft right?), ... but EQ2 was chucked out the door similar to Star Wars Galaxies. Sony is more worried about keeping the subscription teat lactating than producing something revolutionary and polished. (Of course, one need merely look to other genres like the movie and music biz to know that very few of the big names are doing more than churning out crap these days.)

    Now, on the topic of WoW, I played it to the "uber" end of the game, as I did with EQ for many years, so I know what I'm saying when I say that WoW was a rather big disappointment for me. I've been playing MUDs since 1990, and writing them since 1992, so I feel I have a good idea with what has been done and what remains to be done in this repackaged world of distributed MUDs with 3d graphics and perty textures. In short, WoW was disappointing in its inability to deliver a good mechanism for player-created content.

    So basically WoW delivers an experience of "EQ like it should have been" (gosh I thought that a lot playing the game), but it was hardly revolutionary. Once you've explored the content in these games, it is up to you to make the content, or simply to get used to doing the same thing again and again. Its not so easy to build games "on the game", and the games that are there just become a treadmill for the powerlevelers. (E.g. battlegrounds "flag cap" trading.)

    Now, I realize that many people will never hit the top levels of these games, and they may enjoy the journey, never "see it all" or even come close, and certainly try the game from the shoes of multiple classes. More power to them. Personally, I think I'd find that boring after awhile too. After all, there is only so much variety the game can deliver with their quest and combat engines.

    Now back to what remains to be done... I think that's clear to me. Way back in the days of Diku and LPMUD, when players got to a certain point in the game they became "gods" or "wizards" and contributed content. With LPMUD (or MudOS) and some other dynamic engines, players could actually contribute code! (And yes as a Java developer for the last 10 years I know damn well about the inherent security risks and how to mitigate them.)

    I want a fantasy (or scifi, or spy, or whatever) MMORPG that lets me contribute content and code to a dynamic world. I guarantee you a game like that will be innovative because the players will make it that way. And there are ways to keep balance, manage exploits, etc.; if you don't think so, go and look at the text MUDs that have been dealing with this for 15+ years. This is not just another "oh gosh he wants dynamic content, its too hard to do!" post -- like I said, go look at the numerous text MUDs that have been working on these issues for a decade or more. (And yes, I am personally working on my own solutions to these problems, "for the good of open source" (tm). Links to sourceforge project in my profile when I put it there).

    Now before anyone links "Second Life" and such, let me remind you that those "games" are hollow in not having the cool backstory and "out of the box" content that something like WoW delivers. You need both, really, and I think running around buying jet packs and clothes in second life sounds as exciting as playing Sims Online, and we've seen how that is going.
  • I for one cannot remain entertained playing onyl one game. I do play WoW, and I do play it a lot (well by my standards at least) but it's not the only one by far.

    Games are my primary entertainment, I do not find TV or movies as much entertainment/hr or entertainment/dollar. I do watch TV and movies sometimes, but not nearly as much as I game.

    Well, I find that WoW only inrests me so much. After playing it for a few hours on one night, I'm not really that inclined to play it again the next night, I want somet
  • For instance, a lot of people used to watch Star Trek. Yoyos, pet rocks, WoW...
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @05:59PM (#13494521) Homepage
    ...I bought it just recently, already at lvl 11 of 20 max. Hitting max isn't the goal. What I like about it is the co-op with my friends. You can't be a one man tank, I could easily be beaten up by a group of level 3-4 monsters. And for the strong monsters, you *need* the cooperation.
    • And for the strong monsters, you *need* the cooperation.

      Definitely. On the "Thunderhead Keep" mission, going solo (with NPC henchmen) is NOT an option. Near the end of this mission, you're in a fort with two open gates, and two sets of catapults. Several groups of monsters attack the fortress, and you've got to defend it (actually, your goal is to keep a certain NPC King alive, and kill a nasty monster boss, but it basically amounts to defending the fort). Two groups of players have got to defen

  • by RocketScientist (15198) * on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @06:38PM (#13494859)
    I got WoW last November.

    I haven't purchased another game since. I reinstalled and played HalfLife 2 for awhile, but that's about it. I've only played WoW. I have two characters (level 50 druid, level 60 warlock) with more time /played than I'd care to admit. It's saved me a lot of money. I've been cooking more and therefore eating better (eating out takes more time than cooking a good meal typically does) and spending less. All in all, WoW is saving me a lot of money.

    Will I switch games? Probably not. I've got a time investement in WoW. I've got a social investment in my guild. Heck, I found out a guildie was local to me and appropriate for a job and got him hired for our helpdesk because I knew he was a straightforward easy to work with person based on my WoW experiences with him.

    Will I play a single player game again? I've got a PSP for when I'm on the road. So, not bloody likely. I'm looking forward to an expansion, the next patch, and getting my hunter leveled up on a PvP server.

    I'm playing WoW right now on my PC while I read this on my Mac Mini.

    Am I typical? Dunno, hit the reply button and tell me.
  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @12:58AM (#13497309) Journal
    Halo? Yes.

    The point is, WoW is worth it. Need for Speed, OTOH, is just Yet Another Piece of EA Crap. Notice how they were up to six or seven before they started calling it "underground"? It's probably getting close to version 10 now, and still, nothing new to make it worth $50.

    Halo 2, OTOH, is worth $50, plus whatever an Xbox costs now, even if you only use it for Halo. Plus a TV tuner card or video in line, if you don't have a TV.

    Similarly, old as it is, Final Fantasy 10 is still worth the cost of a PS2, plus whatever the game goes for now. Final Fantasy 7 is priceless, although it can probably be had for under $20 and run decently on any PS emulator.

    And Half-Life 2, with all of its mods, is a steal at $60 for the Silver Edition.

    Would I buy Half-Life 2 if I was already playing WoW? Hell yes. Would I buy Need for Speed Underground Super Happy Drift Mode, if I was already playing WoW? Hell no.

    It's not an 800-pound-gorilla (sony), or piracy, or the media, or dumber kids, or games that are too easy, or a lack of ethics (Hot Coffee) that's hurting the industry. It's that crap like EA is still seen as "THE Industry", and good indie and even free games/mods (Natural Selection, for one) are often completely overlooked in the media (Slashdot, IGN, Gamespy) orgy over inane things like hardware and the latest Doom/Quake.

    We don't just need good, innovative Indie games -- we have those (Katamari, Natural Selection, Cube) -- we just need more publicity. Maybe even more piracy. Guess why a completely unknown and oddball show originally about "demon magic" is now the #1 Ninja Anime in America (Naruto)? I think the world is better for it.

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