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US Gamers Spend $3.8 Billion On MMOs Yearly 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the tell-us-about-your-paladin dept.
eldavojohn writes "A new report from Games Industry indicates that MMO gamers in the United States paid $3.8 billion to play last year, with an analysis of five European countries bringing the total close to $4.5 billion USD. In America, the report estimated that payments for boxed content and client downloads amounted to a measly $400 million, while the subscriptions came to $2.38 billion. Hopefully that will fund some developer budgets for bigger and better MMOs yet to come. The study also found that roughly a quarter of the US population plays some form of MMO. Surely MMOs are shaping up to be a juicy industry, and a market that can satisfy people of all walks of life."
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US Gamers Spend $3.8 Billion On MMOs Yearly

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  • Farmville (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:36PM (#31422296) Homepage Journal

    Roughly a quarter of the US population plays some form of MMO

    Does "Farmville" count as an MMO? Along with Mafia Wars and god knows what else? If so, then that number is probably conservatively low, judging from my Facebook newsfeed.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:43PM (#31422338)

    rather than what people spend on the games. And I mean at the workplace, not at home.

    • by wjc_25 (1686272) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:47PM (#31422368)
      Probably more than Minesweeper, less than Solitaire.
      • The trick to minesweeper is finding the plain text high score file and then setting your hi-scores just a little lower than any of your co-workers could ever achieve. It will keep them busy for hours, while you get to be all productive. I call it my secret to success.
    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Do you often play World of Warcraft at workplace?

      Actually that's a good question. A friend of mine is a programmer and he plays various games all day long. He is not really in a software development firm though, but a software developer at a firm who's business is in "real things", so he probably has the time. I wouldn't mind either playing 2-3 hours left4dead session during work day...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ihmhi (1206036)

        A friend of mine was a help desk monkey at a college. You know, the guys most people call when their computer breaks and they don't know what the Hell is going on.

        If no one made a call, then he was to sit on his ass. If he played games, well... it's not entirely *allowed*, but he basically has paid free time. Many a Diablo II quest was completed during his work hours because he literally had nothing to do but was on the clock.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          A friend of mine was a help desk monkey at a college.

          I knew a crew of four such help desk workers who had an office down the hall from the hovel that my institution gave me and they became an extremely formidable Starcraft squad. It was by snooping over their shoulders that I learned the finer points of the game myself.

          We used to have friendly (sort-of) games of faculty vs students and they would whip our asses regularly. When they graduated, a couple of them were talking about going pro. They had first-r

          • by Ihmhi (1206036)

            Oh my, that brings me back to the TFC and CS matches in AutoCAD whenever the teacher was absent...

            And he was absent frequently. (:

        • by gparent (1242548)
          I may have hypothetically have done exactly this too. Nothing to do, no one is calling because their shit is breaking (summer), had an empty lab for the 2 tech monkeys.
      • A sys admin I used to work with played DAoC back when it was popular. He actually became pretty e-famous in the game because he could play 6-9 hours while at work and then another 6+ hours at home nearly every day. I'm sure there were things he should have been doing, but he also had most things automated to the point where he didn't have much that he HAD to do each day.

        I'm just not comfortable playing a game while at work. I'd much rather just check /. or other news during any break time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      It seems to me that someone that substitutes time working at their job for playing various games at said job isn't going to be doing much productive either way.

    • I get a little bit upset (inside) whenever my clients ask me to enable certain games, or to install high end video cards on machines for gaming purposes at work.

      I know, they pay me to do a job, etc, but I still help but wonder how much work isn't being done. When I saw Office Space and Peter says he only get about 15 minutes of real, actual work done a week, I knew this was the truth in most organizations.

      I'd have to say that the hardest I've ever worked (other than University) was at Dairy Queen. Every job

  • Corporate Shills (Score:3, Informative)

    by Misanthrope (49269) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:48PM (#31422372)

    "a market that can satisfy people of all walks of life", count me out, I really hate MMOs. I might be biased though because I started playing back in the early 90's on various MUDs which were a) free and b) a lot more creative with their game mechanics. Give me a good old tabletop RPG any day of the week.

    • by Nemyst (1383049) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:54PM (#31422408) Homepage
      No need to go back that far. There was a time where multiplayer was assumed to be free; paying for it wasn't even a question.

      Why do I suddenly feel old?
      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        Why should it be free though? Users paying for it means continuous development and better content.

        And really guys. It's $10 a month. You spend that amount on 4-5 beers. You spent multiple amount of that when you go out. Even a single movie costs that. If something these MMO's give a great return in the amount of hours wasted in entertainment. I get off your lawns now, but please try to think a bit before just shouting "this is how it was in the old days"

        • I wasn't implying it was free, I was just stating that even if it was free I wouldn't play it.

        • Is there really much continuous development and content addition going on in paid MMOs? I only really have experience in WOW - and they only release new content on expansion packs which you have to fork out for. As far as I can see the monthly payment is just for server maintenance and to fill the money pool at blizzard.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sopssa (1498795) *

            Do you actually play WoW? They release new patches and new dungeons and raid areas often. It's the larger changes like completely new areas and races that come with expansions.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              They also often seem like they promote some of those dungeons as being part of the expansion though. Fight the Lich King! In a year or so!
        • by Darinbob (1142669)
          Um, go out? I don't understand the concept.
      • Re:Corporate Shills (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei (128717) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:58PM (#31422848) Homepage

        Some of my fondest coding memories were programming for an LP mud. :) I loved the fact that wizards (coders) could literally have programming wars. For example, one wizard makes a dest ("destruct" -- basically, kicking off another player or wizard, with a lot of fanfare) that has a big leadup to it. So another wizard, tired of getting dested, writes a rapid counter-dest that kicks off the wizard doing the dest before it completes. So the first wizard writes an insta-dest that doesn't give the second wizard a chance to counter. So the second wizard writes an object that seeks out the first wizard's inventory, intercepts their commands, and if they try to start a dest against them, it instead turns the dest on its caster. So the first wizard writes an object that scans their inventory for objects to intercept the dest, and if it finds something that shouldn't be there, the object kills it off for them and then dests its owner. And on and on, back and forth.

        Then there was the simply humorous aspects. A friend of mine had a dest where he would pick up a flower and contemplate whether the person being dested loved them. "(S)He loves me; (S)He loves me not. (S)He loves me."... and so forth, ending up on "(S)He loves me not." As they throw the flower away, the person gets kicked off the server. So I wrote a parody wherein, first thing, an object gets added to the inventory of the target to prevent them from quitting or counter-desting. A bumbling ogre version of my friend stumbles in and picks up the person being dested and starts pulling off limbs, doing the "(S)He loves me, (s)he loves me not" thing with them, and causing the person to randomly scream out in pain.

        I used to occasionally disguise myself as the developer's board in the main development room. When people tried to interact with me, I'd manually make up responses. Occasionally I'd jump into other wizard's inventory or other things like that, perhaps making myself into a talking sword and having them wield me or the like. A neat feature was that you could "patch" objects to call any function that object possessed, including the objects that it inherited from. So changing things' descriptions or making them call actions was a snap.

        I once wrote a program that would compile statistics about the most used words on the wizard chat line. When I informed everyone of it, all of the sudden, they started shouting out random obscene words over and over for days on end to try to get them high up on the ranking list. ;)

        At one time, I accidentally wrote an object that landed on the floor of the room everyone logged in to and which dested anyone the instant they logged in. This kicked off all but one player, who was in another room coding an area. I couldn't get in to tell them not to log out and to please dest all objects in the login room; if they logged out, we'd have to wait for a sysadmin to restart the server! So I connected in through the FTP server and uploaded some files in the area they were working with file names in all caps that would tell them what to do as soon as they LS'ed. Thankfully they did ls, noticed the files, and fixed the problem!

        • by furby076 (1461805)

          Some of my fondest coding memories were programming for an LP mud. :) I loved the fact that wizards (coders) could literally have programming wars. For example, one wizard makes a dest ("destruct" -- basically, kicking off another player or wizard, with a lot of fanfare) that has a big leadup to it. So another wizard, tired of getting dested, writes a rapid counter-dest that kicks off the wizard doing the dest before it completes. So the first wizard writes an insta-dest that doesn't give the second wizard a chance to counter. So the second wizard writes an object that seeks out the first wizard's inventory, intercepts their commands, and if they try to start a dest against them, it instead turns the dest on its caster. So the first wizard writes an object that scans their inventory for objects to intercept the dest, and if it finds something that shouldn't be there, the object kills it off for them and then dests its owner. And on and on, back and forth.

          It gets to the point "Your body contemplates to take a breath of air....you get kicked" ;) BTW, later in your post you said "screams out in pain"...how does one scream out in pain in a text based mmo?

          • by Rei (128717)

            "BTW, later in your post you said "screams out in pain"...how does one scream out in pain in a text based mmo?"

            In text, of course. :) Something along the lines of, "(name) screams, "Oh dear God, make it stop!" There are various types of chat lines in a MUD. In this particular case, I forget whether it was done via the Shout line (global, everyone hears) or by Say (local, only those in the room hear).

      • Multiplayer still is free. The only sort that isn't is persistent world multiplayer, where your activity is taking place on a third party server, which has to be paid for and maintained.

        • by morcego (260031)

          Just because YOU are not paying for it, doesn't mean it is free.
          I remember a friend of mine that used to run a NWN permanent world. Used to cost him some good money and time.

    • You forgot to tell us to get off your lawn.

    • "A market that can satisfy people of all walks of life"?

      That's not even the plan, where did the story writer get that idea?

      What do MMOs aim at? Large market share. Duh. That's how they survive. What gives large market share? Lowest common denominator. Again, duh. So you get shallow quests ("go there, kill x", "go there, kill x of y", optionally appended with "and bring me z of their w"), a matchmaking system that reeks of first person shooters where you get slapped together with some other people of dubious

      • Re:Corporate Shills (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei (128717) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:15PM (#31422554) Homepage

        Which raises some good questions, re: lowest common denominator. The general question with MMO design isn't whether the focus should be grinding to gain more ability, or even whether the focus should be grinding in combat to gain levels; it's "what sort of variant of a common formula should be used". A MMO that doesn't stick to the standard tank/healer/damage dealer party formula gets considered as innovative. And, sure, there's usually some form of resource harvesting or crafting in addition to the fighting, but that's usually half-arsed, and even more of a grind.

        Sure, there are exceptions. But not many. Second Life an obvious one, for example, but that's little more than a graphical chat room, and a couple steps away from being an interactive porn site.

        Is it unreasonable to expect more diversity from MMOs? Or is the grind, and in particular combat grind, the only formula that will really work?

        I'm curious as to what others think about the subject.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          Well, I guess we could discuss endlessly what has been tried so far and what has failed. In general, what makes the "holy Trinity" so stable is simply that it's been done and tried and will work. Hands down. But whatever "innovation" you want to bring along will not inherently work. The road to make it "good" is a lot longer than simply tossing healer, tank and a handful of DD into battle because that model has been established and so many hours have already been invested in making it "work". If you dump th

        • I know Runescape doesn't (or didn't it has been a while) have the trinity but you have to grind each stat. There also wasn't any healers you just carried around insta-eat food. There is(was) not much grouping to speak of either except for certain bosses and battlegrounds. It is still way easy to play though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        Your view is kind of screwed as well, or you just haven't looked good enough. There is more to MMO's than just World of Warcraft.

        Fallen Earth [wikipedia.org] is a great fallout like MMO with crafting etc
        Lego Universe [wikipedia.org] will have building with lego blocks among normal MMO like things
        Haven & Hearth [havenandhearth.com] is in beta and is extremely open MMO with no quests in it's own - you build your own place, maybe go raid other peoples places if you want to. Almost with endless possibilities (even if somewhat buggy still as its beta)
        Eve Onlin

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          Ok, allow me to elaborate.

          I've been playing various MMOs, from the mainstream ones to the obscure ones that few know of and fewer played. Let's see...

          I've seen WoW, played it even for a while. It was a nice game to raid in when there was something good on TV that I wanted to see where a game that needed my attention would really have been distracting.
          I also played games like Earth and Beyond (which should be taught as the example for cardinal sins as far as MMOs go, how to dump a game with a great storyline

          • by sopssa (1498795) *

            I mostly do agree with you. Fallen Earth put me off too. But it's not like there isn't any market for other kind of MMO's or people that would enjoy them. As soon as Haven & Hearth will get their pathfinding and other beta quirks solved I think I'll be playing it full time, as it's exactly what I want - Build freedomly everywhere you want to, but still have PVP and other usual aspects.

            Besides that I've enjoyed MW2 and BC2 lately. They have semi-similar aspect in multiplayer to MMO's. Leveling, perks and

      • Actually, given some of the lag problems recently you'd best be into small space battles (less than 50 people per side or so). That will be fixed eventually though.
    • Luckily there are other people just like you for whom a market for other kinds of games exists.

    • I started playing back in the early 90's on various MUDs which were a) free and b) a lot more creative with their game mechanics.

      Which were basically an early form of MMO (large number of players, persistent world, etc). So it's not that you hate the concept of MMOs, you just don't like any of the current, popular MMOs.

    • by furby076 (1461805)

      I might be biased though because I started playing back in the early 90's on various MUDs which were a) free and b) a lot more creative with their game mechanics. Give me a good old tabletop RPG any day of the week.

      Really? You are trying to compare muds of the early 90s (which I also played) to todays games? You are comparing "You are in a room, your exists are up, down, north, west". I played majormud, telearena, tradewars2002, and a bunch of others. They were great, but nothing compared to today. After playing Doom 1 I said "wow one day we will have a merger of this and muds" and we do.

      I think your dislike of MMOS today (which is just a large graphical mud) is that you are comparing today to your youth...that'

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:55PM (#31422418)

    Why? Because MMOs will be what will eventually remain of games, at least A-Title games, in the forseeable future. Think of it: Recurring revenue, no copying worries, customer loyality even big brand names could only dream of today (aka fanboys that will defend any shit you cram down their throat) and even the "this sucks" lamenters will pay. They might not play (for now, when their favorite class gets nerfed) but they still pay!

    Even add-ons are superior to sequels, despite (usually) not going for the same amount of dough. Think about it: A sequel may or may not be to your customer's liking, so he may or may not buy it. He WILL have to buy the add-on just to stay in the loop, like it or not, buy it or the months you "invested" in the game are wasted. And just like the main game, you will sell them not only today but for years to come. And when your next add-on is due, bundle the original and the first add-on and again you can sell them to all those that didn't catch on earlier. Oh, did I forget to mention that you can still sell your same old, dated game five years down the road? Yes, that's right. You can still sell your title five years after its initial release and people will still buy it! Now name a single non-MMO that can boast this (I'm not talking about the 2-bucks-bin here, ok?).

    Wait, it gets better. If you craft your game carefully and make it juuuust easy enough that you can play it with half your brain's attention, people will actually go out and buy TWO, read it, TWO copies of your game. Or three! Or four! Watch people buy their own group, their own raid, their own ... well, however large you make your sensible grouping, you just have to dumb it down enough. And people will go and buy not one, but five or ten copies of your game and pay for every single one every month.

    And since companies tend to follow exactly that logic, this is what we get: Shallow, repetitive, faceroller MMOs that fulfill only a single letter in MMORPG. And that's only if the servers are not offline.

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      Guess what? They both lead to obesity!

    • No not really (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:19PM (#31422578)

      While MMOs are attractive, they aren't easy. An MMO requires a substantial investment to start up, far more than a single player game. Also MMOs are the sort of thing that there's more of a limit on how many there can be. Many people will pay for one MMO, far less will pay for two MMOs, and so on. As such to get in to the market you either have to get a new segment of gamers that weren't doing MMOs before, or take gamers away from MMOs already out there. With a single player game, you just have to convince someone they want to play your game, they may well play others.

      MMOs will doubtless continue to be very popular, but they are hardly all that is going to be out there. I mean look at Blizzard they are -THE- kings of the MMO world currently, yet they are making Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, both non-MMO games. Reason is they know they'll make money on those too. Heck some of their WoW players will buy them. Just because people play MMOs doesn't mean they don't also play other games. I've played an MMO of one kind or another for about 6 years now or so. However I still buy single player games all the time. Just because I like MMOs doesn't mean that's all I play.

      So sorry, I'm not buying this doom and gloom "Only MMOs are the future!" All evidence seems to say there will continue to be games of many different types. After all, MMOs are not new, yet game studios continue to roll out non-MMO titles as well as MMO ones.

      As for your analogy, well guess what? Fast food hasn't taken over the world. You are right that I can find McDonalds all over my city. However I can find hundreds of non fast food restaurants too. There are sit down chain restaurants like Olive Garden or P.F. Changs, and there are plenty of little ones that are just someone running their own thing. Fast food has not replaced where you can go to eat, it has supplemented it. Also turns out that you can eat fast food for one meal, and then eat at a nice place the next, they don't get mad at you or anything.

      I think it'll be the same for MMOs. Sure, a lot of people are going to play them, but it won't be the only thing they'll play.

    • by Korin43 (881732)
      And you just described why I don't play MMO's. Why pay to "play" a game that's just designed to keep you playing as long as possible (fun doesn't even enter into the equation)?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        Why would you pay for any game you don't think isn't fun? However, many gamers find MMO's fun.

        I have played WoW and while I still think its too much grinding and too less PVP, I still think it would be quite fun if I just had the time now. But I like crafting and building the world (I coded a similar project as a teen, even spend my school hours thinking how the AI would interact :), so I currently play Haven & Hearth [havenandhearth.com] beta, even if it's a little bit buggy but I like the concept.

      • by Unoti (731964)

        And you just described why I don't play MMO's. Why pay to "play" a game that's just designed to keep you playing as long as possible (fun doesn't even enter into the equation)?

        You're right, and I've felt the same way. But your perspective starts with the assumption that you don't want to interact with the other people that are playing.

        MMO's is the principal way that I stay in touch with old friends and family members. We play WoW, we hang out in Second Life, we play board games online- especially Ticket

    • You are so right that Activision is planning to do exactly this with Call of Duty.
  • MSN (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BlackHawk-666 (560896) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:01PM (#31422460) Homepage

    I like to think of the MMO I play as hanging out with friends on MSN/Vent...with dragons!

    The MMO gives my hands something to do while I chat to my peer group.

    • by Selfbain (624722)
      Once Star Trek Online launches, I'll be hanging with my friends on MSN/Vent... IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE
    • I've got MSN, too. It's free, though. And as a bonus, it is a single-purpose communication program that supports video chat, file transfers, etc. - not cluttered up with silly games so it becomes a liability at work!
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The MMO gives my hands something to do while I chat to my peer group.

      Don't worry, you're chatting, they can't tell if your voice is jerky anyway.

  • I've never played an MMO, and don't intend to start. I prefer to spend once for my entertainment, especially games, and even then most don't have replayability to justify $50 price tags so I wait a couple years until they hit the bargain bins.

    • Re:Not me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:33PM (#31422686)

      I don't really see MMOs as a waste of money. The game fee and then the monthly probably give way more hour/$ of entertainment than most $60 console games. What MMOs do waste is tons of time.

      • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        Oh come now, everyone knows that time is money. Also women are the root of all evil, or however that works....

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pandrijeczko (588093)

      I'm with you on waiting for games to get cheaper before buying them - not to mention the fact that most games these days seem to be unplayable out of the box and you need to wait six months for a patch or two to appear.

      As for MMOs, I'd never played one until two weeks ago after finally relenting to my close buddies and joining them in WoW. Bearing in mind that these are the very same buddies I socialise with and have (very enjoyable) board game evenings with, I'm distinctly underwhelmed with WoW.

      I'm a huge

    • I used to think like you did. I pooh-pooh'ed "Rent to PWN"

      Then I actually TRIED one. And did a little math in regards to my entertainment expenses.

      Two tickets is $15 (or more nowadays). And you sit for 90-180 minutes. Passive. Then you're done. If you want to do it again, you spend another $15.

      With an MMO, $15 buys you roughly 43,000 minutes of entertainment (granted, you won't be able to USE all of that).
      Realistically, if you play an hour or two a night, and take one day off to go do something else,

    • Do you have a "pay once" internet connection. No you don't. Pay once cable? No you don't. Pay once newspaper? No you don't.

      But somehow a game that you can play for years running on expensive servers with 24/7 support, must be paid once.

      Gosh, for services, you pay per month. What a novel concept.

  • by BlackHawk-666 (560896) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:11PM (#31422522) Homepage

    MMOs have a problem which is slowly creeping up on them, I guess the EQ crowd are already well familiar with it. As they release more expansions, all of which are required to play with the level capped players it becomes more and more expensive to enter the game. Over here in Aus WoW classic is about $40, Burning Crusade $50, and the latest pile of WoW is $60 - total price to enter the game is current $150 and then on top of that you pay about $24 / month to play. This means over the course of a year you will have paid out $438 and most likely only experienced the top level content. The rest will have been an endless grind of UPS/Kill/Kill+Collect quests - oh sorry, at lvl 60+ bombing quests are added to the grind. Unless you have a friend joining at the same time or one who will level with you you're stuck doing all this shitty content solo.

    When the next expansion is out you will need to buy class+3 x expansions. I expect that to cost about $190 total and then subscription fees bringing one years playtime on WoW up to almost $500.

    The amount of money you have to pay keeps rising, but the amount of useful content doesn't - it stays at the top level of the game. As soon as the gates are opened everyone floods out of the current top level zone and into the next, leaving only a desert behind.

    • by HybridJeff (717521) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:35PM (#31422694) Homepage
      Are you sure about those prices? The USD and AUD are pretty close right now and you can buy every wow product online at blizzards battle.net store. $20 for original wow, $40 for the battle chest (original+first expansion) and $40 for the current expansion. Assuming you wanted to go from not having the game to being current all at once you would need to put out $80 US (which as of this post is equivalent to 87.57 AUD)

      Is the blizzard store not available in Australia or something? I can use it seamlessly from Canada with a Canadian credit card. Those prices are nearly half what you're describing. I can understand if its not your cup of tea and you don't want to play,but whats the point of over inflating the cost to such a large degree?

      • You are correct sir, this is exactly the amount you'd spend, in addition it's about $17 a month for subscription rather than the $24 blackhawk mentioned. you *can* spend a lot more on games here as they do have their prices arbitrarily jacked up (console games are routinely sold in my town for $110-$120... over $100 USD) but with some careful shopping and international ordering you can avoid this ridiculous price fixing without too much effort, big W for example sell most new releases for around $80 bucks
      • by Aceticon (140883)

        I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

        Just recently I decided to go back to WoW (after a break of almost 5 years) bought the Battle Chest in a bricks and mortar store, in the UK, for £14.95.

        That's less than $20 at current exchange rates.

        First time ever that I bought anything in the UK that was cheaper than in the US.

    • Actually for Everquest and Everquest 2 this is incorrect. For the last 5 years or so the expansions have been inclusive. So if you buy whatever the most recent one it then you get all the content from everything previous. They have also been making it much easier to catch up with bonus experience until you get closer to where most of the players are. It actually is not as hard to catchup as you would think. When EQ1 first came out it took months to hit 50, you can now hit it in a week or two of fairly relax

    • There is nothing intrinsic to an MMO that requires such an expansion/leveling grind. For a good example look at EvE Online... Free regular expansions that widens the breadth of the game, not the skill depth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trerro (711448)

      Ragnarok Online is one MMO that's largely avoided this problem, and it's by no means the only one. I'll talk about that one as it's the one I've played the most, but again, PLENTY of MMOs have avoiding the WoW trap.

      That game is a free download with free content updates - you just pay a sub. They supplement this with a *minor* cash shop that doesn't greatly influence the game. Result: Best of both worlds - no giant pile of updates to worry about because you don't buy those, and no exploitative cash shop, bec

    • This means over the course of a year you will have paid out $438

      And if you play an hour a day on average, you're paying $1.20 an hour to be entertained. Compared to the price of movie rentals, cinema and pretty much every other entertainment you pay for, that's not that bad.

  • Perspective (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ghubi (1102775) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:13PM (#31422540) Homepage
    For comparison, US consumers spent almost 10 billion in theaters and almost 9 billion on DVDs in 2009. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704789404574636531903626624.html [wsj.com]
  • they also live at their MOMs
  • by JumpDrive (1437895) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:08AM (#31422904)
    I think they did this poll outside a gamestop.
    Really, you actually believe 72% of people over 50 play MMO games.

    Geez, you think that maybe someone at gameindustry.com may have an incentive to exaggerate the numbers, just maybe
    • Ahh, saw where I looked at the wrong graph, but I still think they have the hours wrong and there's a whole population of people I don't know about.

      I still think they amplified the results.
    • by Inda (580031)
      Facebook is a MMORPG, no?

      Seriously, my mother, who just about manages gmail, likes to play those Pop Cap games. She also warmed to 1 vs 100 on Xbox live and would have loved to have played it more. Last season, in the UK, there were 80,000 players online during the live events.

      Yeah, those figures look stuffed, but probably not that stuffed.

      Your definition of a MMOG is a little off.
  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:19AM (#31422964)
    MMOs replace Your father's love for mother She gets a webcam Burma Shave
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:31AM (#31423010)
    But, then I listened to what most of my coworkers were doing on their time off. They were watching American Idol and Lost. So, what's the bigger waste of time? I quit playing MMOs when I saw how much time it was taking away from my regular "life management" chores.
  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @02:16AM (#31423454)

    Whenever I watch people playing MMOs and have tried them myself, I've noticed that the graphical and story quality is far inferior to a game with a fixed beginning and ending.

    It's the difference between episodic television and a film. A feature film has very high quality standard packed into every minute, because the entire story arc is contained within that time frame, and they can afford the best actors, director, vfx etc. for that hour and a half which will play to large captive audiences paying a one time fee to see it. Episodic television spans a much larger time frame, and the average episode is budgeted accordingly, with many sets and situations being re-used.

    The top end of standalone games are extremely high quality and offer an excellence in storytelling that is unmatched in the MMO universe. They also keep your interest until the logical conclusion. With an MMO, you eventually lose interest and it just sort of fades away. A few MMOs have gone bankrupt and crafted actual 'endings' to their worlds, but that's as far as it goes. The whole point is to get people to keep paying that monthly fee, ad infinitum.

    Playing MMOs is the equivalent to watching television. It's just scratching an itch of compulsive behavior.

    My most recent game experience was BioShock II. What a great game in general, especially towards the end when it gets weird. Machinarium is a $5 puzzle RPG game on Steam that is very engaging and well crafted. I've played all the Half Life games as well, and most of the big FPS games going back to the original Doom. The industry has come a long way. Great interactive stories. I think the turning point was the original Unreal single player game, which dropped this huge and colorful world in your lap after the Voodoo cards made it technically possible. Since then we've experienced progressively more detailed and sophisticated storytelling as technology and budgets allow.

    While MMOs have a higher dollar figure overall, I hope that highly produced downloaded content will always have a place. The multiplayer games I enjoy the most are the Starcraft type, where you can play a short campaign and be done. (no, that's not the same as going for a 'raid' in an MMO...)

    I realize that there are two very distinct camps, and that the MMO players tend to be the younger ones with a lot of spare time on their hands. In any given Blizzard Q&A thread on Slashdot, the MMO related questions always far outnumber the Starcraft II / Diablo III questions, so the disparity in numbers is even evident there.

    • by Chas (5144)

      Whenever I watch people playing MMOs and have tried them myself, I've noticed that the graphical and story quality is far inferior to a game with a fixed beginning and ending.

      Try looking at something like AION before you get too firmly entrenched in that.

      Also, try to remember that these games are played online and only so much data can be passed before the overhead becomes ridiculous. Yes, if you're playing a nice, self-contained game, they can try harder to max out the limits of the system you're on.

    • by jayveekay (735967)

      I agree that the gameplay of the best standalone games is far superior to that of MMOs, as the latter tends to be relatively simple and immensely repetitive.

      The complexity and most interesting dynamics of MMOs are in the social interaction and organization. How do you organize a group of people to perform some task? How do you deal with angry/obnoxious jerks? How do you resolve a conflict between two of your ingame friends who aren't getting along?

      You can learn a lot about humanity and the skills needed to

  • Well that is a fact
    against music majors stupidity
    who wants people to buy
    disks and games and DVD...

    Unfortunately,
    unless my boss gives me more money
    I cannot spend money on MMO plus other media.

  • by Gamesindustry.com (1763854) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @05:25AM (#31424222)
    Hi guys, good to read your comments. I am Peter Warman, MD of gamesindustry.com, company behind the survey. Just to clarify: indeed, not 72% of 50+ play MMOs. Only 4% of female and 5% of male 50+ people play MMOs. You can see it by scrolling down the graphs here: http://www.gamesindustry.com/about-newzoo/todaysgamers_graphs_USA [gamesindustry.com]. The 72% accounts for all platforms. Elderly play mainly on online game portals. The money spent does NOT include Farmville or Facebook games in general. It DOES include kids MMOs/Virtual worlds such as HabboHotel and ClubPenguin. The respondents were selected from a huge panel that represents the complete nations surveyed. A lot of effort has been put in to get respondents representing the country. So we did not just ask gamers but all kinds of peopel evenly distributed across demographics. Please keep the questions coming.
  • by V50 (248015) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @08:33AM (#31424876) Journal

    One thing I've never really understood is why there is such a strong belief among many people that MMOs are a huge waste of time and suck the life out of people. I play WoW an average of two hours a day, judging from my /played time. Most of my co-workers seem to think I have no life because of this. (I have no life, but it's not because of WoW.) Most information I've seen shows the average American watching five or so hours of TV a day. I really fail to see why MMOs are considered so terrible by many people, but watching that much TV isn't...

    On that note, WHAT THE HELL DO PEOPLE WATCH FOR FIVE HOURS A DAY, EVERY DAY? Do they just get home from work, turn on the TV, and watch it until they go to sleep? I'd be hard pressed to find five hour long shows to watch every day. Even with DVDs of my favorite shows, I can recall very, very few times where I've watch five hours of television in a single day, let alone every day for life...

  • It's a shame we still don't have any modern console MMO's (and no, an ancient Final Fantasy XI port doesn't count as modern). Seems like someone could make a lot of money if they were a pioneer on this (Evercrack/WoW money I bet), so it's strange that no one seems to even be trying.

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