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US Gamers Spend $3.8 Billion On MMOs Yearly 177

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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  • 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.

  • Re:Farmville (Score:3, Informative)

    by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:52PM (#31422392) Journal

    TFA seems to use MMOs and Virtual Worlds interchangeably so it seems that at least in this study, various Facebook games were probably not considered MMOs.

  • 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.

  • Re:Corporate Shills (Score:3, Informative)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:19PM (#31422584) Journal

    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 Online also has a lot of aspects unusual in the casual MMO games.
    Successor for Ultima Online is coming this year.
    And countless of other MMO's available and development that should cover every need of a gamer.

    Please try to look past World of Warcraft next time.

  • 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?

  • Re:Corporate Shills (Score:3, Informative)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:43PM (#31422742) Journal

    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:Corporate Shills (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:55PM (#31422816)

    You can ask yourself whether or not the latest Expansion Pack for WOW included the content released so far in Northrend, which includes:

    The Argent Tournament
    Onyxia at lvl 80
    A new Battleground
    Icecrown Citadel

    Is it worthwhile, given how long the expansion has been out?

    Tough question.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:29AM (#31423002)
    Yep. I just moved from Canada to Australia and while the dollar in both countries is about the same, games here are twice as expensive and even online stores like "Impulse" have half the games as "Not available in your region" ... What ? My internet connection can't download this game ?
  • Re:Farmville (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @01:39AM (#31423344)

    Privately held companies such as Zynga rarely release their financial information because they are not required to like publicly held companies are. Where are you coming up with this 'over a billion a year'? Back in April '09 the estimate was somewhere between 50 and 100 million.


    Did you find it in the same spot you found the revenue for EA? EA's revenue is 4.212 billion for 2009.

  • by Trerro ( 711448 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @02:07AM (#31423420)

    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, because they're only using it to make up for update revenue, not the subscription (which is the bulk of what you pay in a normal p2p MMO.)

    As for avoiding abandoned maps, this is easy - they don't use WoW-style gear. By ensuring there's stuff you want in a variety of areas - including ones you don't care about for exp, they can ensure most areas get used. Sure, you're always going to have those few zones that everyone just loathes and won't touch with a 10' pole, but the rest of the world really does get used. The first dungeon the game ever released drops an item that can enchant armor so you count as water type (and all the bonuses and penalties you'd expect from that), and to this day, I still people down there looking for that... in a game that's now ~8 years old. Sure, the armor you're using said item ON may have changed a gazillion times, but you'll still want that item. Just about all of the old dungeons, in fact, have stuff people still want. Additionally, unlike WoW-style MMOs, there's no exp penalty for fighting stuff under you. Of course, the curve is exponential, so there's a point at which the exp just doesn't matter, but fighting swarms of things 10-15 levels under is a perfectly valid leveling strategy, and people do it in both solo and party play. Indeed, some maps are even specific designed to be basically impossible at the monsters' level, as they're DESIGNED for mobbing. Last but not least, since gear actually DOES stuff, rather than just modifying stats, there's no "this is the best item for this slot always". It's "this gives me more damage reduction overall, but this gives me far more vs a specific creature type", "this will randomly cast a useful spell, but this make all of my normal spells cast 10% faster". Etc. Result: People actually think about what they want to use, and it's not just "I'm wearing Tier X, you're in Tier X-1, you suck." Of course, everyone wants to try the new content, and whenever new stuff is released, everyone jumps in and tries it, but once that rush ends, you'll find the new stuff is still getting used... but so is the old.

    Again, I'm using RO for my example as I've played it more than any other, but it is NOT in anyway unique in avoiding the WoW trap.

    WoW, and the other railroaded MMOs that copy it, have major problems with their "tiered" gear, and rigid, guided level paths, because naturally, why would you hunt anywhere except the 2 places that drop this month's gear? You're going to discard all the old stuff the second you get the new. Pair that with stasis leveling (where nothing really changes as you level but your stats, and they simply scale to level such that all you do is throw bigger numbers around), and there's even less to think about on a character - hell, they even color code the monsters so you know you're on the map you're supposed to be on.

    The solution to all of this can be summed up in 5 words: Don't play a WoW-like game. There's plenty of other styles, and just because the US might not make much else doesn't mean the rest of the world hasn't stepped in to fill the gap. Try a bunch of different kinds, you'll probably find one that fits your style, and you'll definitely find a bunch that don't have the "pile of expansions no one plays" problem.

  • 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.
  • Re:Corporate Shills (Score:2, Informative)

    by ImpShial ( 1045486 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @03:30PM (#31429704)
    EVE Online constantly releases new patches, game mechanics, graphics updates, content....and it's always free. You pay your 14.95 a month, and they keep working their asses off to get you better stuff.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!