Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Wow factor

Disclaimer: I beleive that I among the 12-13 people in the developed world that have not played World of Warcraft. I am certain I'm the only one in my group here at work.

The only MMO's I've sunk any time into were Asheron's Call and Motor City Online. i.e. If I buy a copy of your MMO, you'd better worry.

So, I'm not WoW expert. However, lack of expertise has never stopped me from commenting on something, and this is no exception.

But first, an anecdote...

Yesterday, I had some grocery shopping to do between bouts of furniture wrestling, so I went down to the local Albertson's, father-in-law in tow, wearing work-around-the-house garb, i.e. an ATI t-shirt I obtained at some tradeshow.

The cashier at the store was a twenty-ish year old young lady. Upon seeing my T-shirt, she says "that reminds me - I have to update my video card drivers".

I asked if she was having video card problems. She wasn't, but said that "it's just good to do that pretty often. Especially if you play games."

I asked what games she played. She said she played a lot of Wow, ("too much of it, actually") and that she'd stopped recently when Dungeon Seige 2 came out. Then came the kicker - I asked if DS2 was good and whether she liked it better than the first. She replied "It's really good, but I had to stop. My friends on WoW were IM'ing me to death to get back on".

Wow (exclamation, not acronym) indeed. Not only is there a game out there that has long play-time that slows the churn rate of game consumption, but it's got users torch-and-pitchfork'ing each other into not venturing out to other games.

So, back to the WoW factor.

Today I received this pointer to a NY Times article on how Matrix Online, EQ2 and others are suffering, and whether it's due to MSS capture from WoW - or whether they just are failing on their own while WoW grows the MMO market overall.

I call this the "tastes great, less filling" argument.

There's probably some truth to both sides of the argument, but we won't know for sure until there is better market data available.

MMOG chart has some good data, but only up to June'05. If it truly were MSS-only, you'd see other MMO's numbers taking a big dip after the WoW ramp, and this isn't really the case, with one or two exceptions.

It's certainly not the mirror of the NPD charts (can't post them here) where you see ALL of the titles taking a big hit the week a big seller comes out - which implies that at retail anyhow, there are people walking in with $50 saying, "I'm going to buy a game today, whatever it might be" and if HL2 shipped that week, that's what they buy and not "Sim 2: Sims got expansion packs" expansion pack.

Anyhow, MMO confusion is going to get worse before it gets better as people (a) get more global in their gameplay and (b) alternative monetization schemes come online. It'll be hard to tell where people are spending most of their time.

You can always ask in the grocery check-out line, I guess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome post. you've inspired me to someday post something useful and interesting myself!!