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Online Games to Quadruple by 2011

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the sextuple-sounded-too-racy dept.

37

ches_grin writes "A new report from DFC Intelligence predicts that the online game market will quadruple over the next five years, growing from $3.4 billion to more than $13 billion. Although previous studies have pointed to Asia as the leader in online gaming, this report suggests that North America may take the lead. MMO are expected to be the genre that drives growth, although casual games are also predicted to grow. Despite the predicted growth, the gaming market is not entirely rosy: 'On the downside, even with market growth many companies are likely to struggle to become profitable. A big problem is that the market is becoming more fragmented among different companies, types of products and markets.'"

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37 comments

Half of this will come from: (2, Insightful)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495082)

World of Starcraft.

Re:Half of this will come from: (1)

rholliday (754515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495135)

"Hmm, I leveled up. Do I want to buy better needle spines, or get that +2 stamina carapace ... ?"

Re:Half of this will come from: (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495270)

The other half is Blizzard doubling the price of a WoW subscription. But, hey, at least we can easily travel between contents on the new Arthas-class Yamato cruisers... er.. wait.

Re:Half of this will come from: (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496448)

Nah, World of Diablo.

more news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495089)

and another report says that the market will dissapear by 2012, at the end of the fourth world, according to the mayas

Re:more news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495230)

Dec 22, 2012 to be exact. Enjoy the 6 years, 6 months, and just under 2 weeks left.

Re:more news (1)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495688)

Does that mean that June 16 is some sort of inverse 666 thing? 6 years, 6 months, 6 days till the end of the world!

Re:more news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495295)

Don't forget that in 2000 there were several analysts that suggested that Revinues from online games would rival the rest of the gaming industry by 2005. In 2004 there were several analysts who suggested that the Nintendo DS was a sign that Nintendo had lost their mind and would soon leave the hardware side of the games industry. Finally, in March of this year most analysts suggested that there was nothing Sony could do that would prevent them from being the market leader with the PS3.

The reality is that Analysts are very much detached from the reality of the games industry; had they really understood the industry they wouldn't make such wild assumptions which have previously been demonstrated were not true. No one who saw the Sega Saturn or N64 would ever think that market share was ensured, and no one who had seen how slowly MMO games have been adopted by casual gamers would suspect that suddenly they would explode in popularity. We are rapidly approaching the 2 year aniversary of WoW and is there even a game in development which could eclipse it in popularity? I don't think so ...

Re:more news (1)

TadZimas (921646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497587)

Yeah, but we won't need games then.
We'll all be jacking onto to our direct-neural-interface super-internet and chatting up cute elf girls while evading mega-corporations.
Or it could be some stupid spinoff about mayan ruins and elves merging through walls with SMGs.

WOW! (1)

IAmSwiftness (980193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495090)

WOW! (no pun inteded) . . . So this means we can look forward to a quadrupling of gaming-related deaths . . . awesome! And a quadrupling in the sizes of EverCrack Support Groups.

Re:WOW! (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495145)

> So this means we can look forward to a quadrupling of gaming-related deaths . . . awesome! And a quadrupling in the sizes of EverCrack Support Groups.

In other words...Quad Damage!

(sorry)

Re:WOW! (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495279)

In other words...Quad Damage!

Unfortunately, Quad Damage was reduced in Quake III Arena to 3x.

Re:WOW! (1)

timchet (240462) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495337)

Everquest (and it's younger brother) are almost non-issues anymore... http://mmogchart.com/Chart7.html [mmogchart.com]

Re:WOW! (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496628)

Yes, they went home to Jeezus. Isn't that what you're always on about?

You should be happier than fuck!

Game Bloat (1, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495153)

"'On the downside, even with market growth many companies are likely to struggle to become profitable. A big problem is that the market is becoming more fragmented among different companies, types of products and markets.'"

The problem with fragmenting is a symptom. A symptom of a bloated market, flowing with a variety of games but little true innovation. When you can't differentiate your product through innovative gameplay, your going to struggle. The bright side of this, for us gamers, is that is bloat will equalize itself, kill off the weak product offerings and help facilitate real innovation. That is where the real growth will occure, not more fish in the sea but bigger fish.

Re:Game Bloat (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495238)

The problem with fragmenting is not a problem. Fragmentation in this case is another word for diversity. And diversity is _good_. More games and more types of games will mean better games.

Re:Game Bloat (2, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495899)

I would agree that diversity is good, but then I look out there... and all I see is a sea of clones and crap. As I said it is temporary, however, eventually the good will beat out the garbage and the bloat will subside. When that happens, it will be because a few companies really innovated. This is not some final state; the market will bloat out again, copying the successful games and starting the cycle all over again. I guess we're just looking at the same cycle in two different ways.

Game Bloat Post-it-bloat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495817)

"The problem with fragmenting is a symptom. A symptom of a bloated market, flowing with a variety of games but little true innovation."

You know what? You're right. So when is open source going to come up with some innovative games? Oh that's right. it's easier to be a critic than it is to be a creator. Apparently talk is cheap, and you paid full price.

Difference between MMO's and Casual Games (2, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495199)

I love how they seperate MMO's From Non-MMO's. They used the Term "MMO's and Casual Games" This would lead you to believe that all MMO's are not casual but rather lives that people live. There needs to be more Casual MMO's such as EVE Online, which doesnt credit you on Playing for 6 hours in one day. Rather is credits you on how long you have had your account online or off.

Skills are raised but training in that spacific skill. The skill will complete in a set ammount of time. Certin attributes affect it but only with minor numbers. You can then log off and still have the skill training. This is great for the casual gamer and is why EVE is ranked one of the top played MMO's.

Other MMO's need to learn from this and start creating more casual style MMO's

Not really (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495691)

If anything MMO's need to learn to copy less and do their own thing. Eve has its way of dealing with game time vs advancement, WoW has another, Second life is totally different again. All three seem to work, the companies behind them make a profit and can continue to do business.

The whole "level advancement" thing can't be fixed by a one size fits all solution. Different players just want different things out of game. As Second Life seems to prove you don't even have to have levels, therefore no level grind at all.

You claim EVE as the great saviour but basically what you are saying that no matter how good I am or how much time I spend playing I will advance just as much as that guy that just logs in once an hour?

Oh wait, but that ain't the whole truth is it? I will have gained far more wealth and that buys me the best tools and that is EVE's version of levelling up isn't it? So it is still the player who puts in the most time/effort who has the biggest ship/avatar/epenis.

Any game in wich effort is not rewarded will be very shortlived. Eve just does it in a slightly different way. It works for Eve players, other players want something different. I would hope that any new MMO games try their own unique blend of gameplay rather then just copycat. Why yes, I do believe in Santa Claus, why do you ask?

SL (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495872)

Is Second Life really even a game?

SL appears to me to be the second-coming of those old text-based MUDs where all the content was put together by users. Now, I wouldn't really consider those "games" so much as "social environments." I mean, games are supposed to have a set of goals to reach through some given framework. As I understand, SL is pretty much an open-ended creation environment.

Re:Difference between MMO's and Casual Games (1)

duncangough (530657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497465)

EVE is casual in the sense that it's addictive, but other than that it's probably even more immersive and even more of a time sink that most other MMOs. Casual MMOs, MCOs [suttree.com] can still work, but in much more of a pick-up-and-go manner. Persistent worlds aren't the ideal place for MCOs, but they can work. Puzzle Pirates is probably the best example of that.

Or there's Passive Gaming [suttree.com] , where Casual Games could really excel. I don't know of anyone who's created a true hybrid MMO, MCO, Passive Game but I'm pretty sure it won't be long before they start to turn. The whole Korean Gaming scene has been exposed over here and those MMOs that were ported over to Western audiences haven't really taken off. The business model of free to play, pay for items, is going to work, so that's another string to the bow.

Shocking!?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495207)

With the continued expansion of broadband internet connections, is this supposed to be shocking??

Great (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495215)

4 times the same old boring quests and killing rats for only $15 a month. Yipee!!

I wish someone would make a better Subspace (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495262)

I'm getting tired of RPGs and FPSs.

Re:I wish someone would make a better Subspace (3, Funny)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495306)

I'm getting tired of RPGs and FPSs.

You could always try Progress Quest [progressquest.com] . It really does take all the boring parts out of an RPG. It leaves you with... nothing?

Heading to the killing fields...

Slaying an adolescent Half-Dwarf... Got Half-Dwarf beard

Slaying a porn elemental... Got porn elemental lube

Heading back into town to sell your stuff...

Buying upgrades...

Heading to the killing fields...

Re:I wish someone would make a better Subspace (1)

doudou42 (691076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495334)

What about a RPS ?

They did (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495368)

It's called Infantry. Unfortunately, Sony bought to the rights to it and litterally nerfed the population.

Re:They did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495790)

www.freeinfantry.tk
Un nerf

mmmm...nah (1)

aleksiel (678251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495835)

as a mmo vet, i'm getting kind of tired of the same old stuff. unless the industry can produce a fundamentally different, engaging, content-driven game (with grinding to a minimum), i think that the industry will hit a ceiling.

it might bubble up occasionally, but people will see that its the same idea dolled up and inside a different box and it will sink back down. with the advent of wow, i couldn't imagine the mmo market doing much better than doubling, at best.

Finite amount of money... (4, Interesting)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495839)

Has it ever occurred to these researchers and analysts that there is only so much money people are willing to put on games and entertainment. All gaming areas seem to get similar market growths, which makes the overall spending on games to increase too much to be realistic. I think they might be right about quadrubling the consumption but I doubt that market will be that much. These numbers mean that 100 million people need to subscribe to 10/month service. Compare that to WOW, which has "only" 6 million subscribers.

Besides my own experiences with WOW makes me think twice before subscribing and getting involved with an online game. I'm sure there are others who are not willing to spend 100+ a year for one single game.

Re:Finite amount of money... (1)

vix86 (592763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497397)

As I mentioned in a post I made.

One of the answers to this problem of a finite number of subscribers is to REMOVE subscription cost. I don't know why there has only been one company that I'm aware of that has created an MMO that requires only the cost of buying the game. That is Guild Wars. On the other hand, I do know why they won't remove the fee, greed. Theres a lot of money to be made in MMO subcription based gaming.

Personally I think the only reason why Guild Wars is fee free is because the company ArenaNet and the publishing group NCSoft, were founded by people whose interest's wasn't really in money but in the art of making a game. ArenaNet was founded by some of the top people that developed and programmed Starcraft.

The market will either collapse to something managable or it will be forced to change to fewer games that are non-fee based, and once non-fee based games start arriving, people will shy away from games that run on fees because will have "seen the light" so to speak.

Gross Assumption (2, Funny)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496505)

This assumes that people will still be interested in online gaming 5 years from now.

5 years ago:

I bet Hollywood would have thought box office receipts would have trippled by now

I bet the RIAA would have thought the fad of online music would be over by now

I bet Hummer drivers would have thought it would be cheap to drive a big ass cars now

I bet nobody figured George Bush would still be in office today.

I bet the makers of Duke Nukem Forever would have thought they would have released a game by now

The bottom line is, never get your hopes up.

The real reason is freedom (3, Interesting)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496591)

The real reason online games are growing is freedom: No restrictions based on the size of the company. No ESRB. No Wal-Mart decency standards. No industry self-censorship. No distributors and publishers colluding with the bluenoses. No laws banning violence or sexual content. And, if such laws were to appear, the games would move to jurisdictions where they could not be shut down.

Freedom of expression isn't just a nice ideological point, it's profitable.

Re:The real reason is freedom (1)

vix86 (592763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497543)

No I don't believe any of it has anything to do with freedom. There are still in fact ESRB ratings on the actual game content. An MMO would be rated AO if it was possible to get completely nude and show genetalia, it'd still mention though that gaming experience would vary because of other players. There may not be "collluding" (I oringally read that as "collision with bluenosses), but there will still be that struggle between developers and publishers. Developers want that great game while the Publishers want a return on profit (Correct me if I'm wrong, but Publishers usually foot the inital development cost of a game for the developer, but expect a return on the profit of the game that they publish).

As far as laws and moving the servers. Picture this. Lets say Blizz included something in WoW that the Chinese govt. didn't like. The game is in China now, after all. Sure Blizz could move the servers for the Chinese out of China, but then all China has to do is firewall all connections to Blizz's servers, making it near impossible for the people in China to play the game. So essentially it is still possible to block/censor MMOs.

No, the reason why MMO's are so profitable (for the time being), is because they are still new to many people and different from single-player games. MMOs have the potential to be limitless in the amount of content provided (both actual game content and content that players might create), where as the single-player game is limited by whats on the disc. This is speaking in the present, of course, I would imagine that in the next decade at least, even single player games will have some option for increasing content, but even then I still don't see many companies going that route. I think for many companies it just makes more sense to create another title--a sequal--and release that instead of uploading new content. If the uploading sceme is more profitable though, companies will go that route, instead of releasing a new sequal. Valve has taken a step in the direction of uploading and adding on new single player content with HL2:Ep1.

Not what I see... (1)

vix86 (592763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497282)

I do believe the MMO genre is a new way for a company to create a sustained flow of money. I see that a lot of companies are going this route probably due to the fact that the cost to start production on a new game is so high, and will continue to rise with Hi-Def around the corner. I believe this is why so many companies have jumped on the MMO band wagon. All a company needs to do is create a decent MMO, get a fairly decent customer base and working subscription cost, and they have a constant flow of money for awhile.

The down side however, is the MMO market is going to get oversaturated, if it isn't already. Every other game I hear about these days seems to be an MMO, and I can't help but wonder "where are the customers, the subscribers, coming from?" While I can see some people footing the bill for multiple MMO's, the nature of many MMOs is the "time-sink" which makes it so you have to put most of your time into one game if you want to get far, making it unlikely that many people will be playing multiple MMOs at once. This is what sets MMOs apart from Single player games (regardless of whether it has a multiplayer option or not). Single player games are one shot titles that are played, beaten, and then put down. Where as the MMO is a game that typically isn't one-shot, even at the "end-game" there is still more to do, though comparabily less from the beginning. And with added content every few months to an MMO, its a constant game, not so much a "one-shot" title.

As it stands, I believe the number of MMOs released will continue to rise but the numbers will dwindle back to something reasonable when companies realize there can only be so many active MMOs out. And unless a company is dam sure they'll have a game that turns heads and pulls people in, it'll be unlikely that they will release another MMO that requires a subscription cost, unless they want to come out at a loss. The solution here is to pull more gamers from the general population into the MMO craze, this should allow for more games to be realeased and maintained.

The only way I see the market for MMO games surviving is if they change the system. Honestly, I believe the current style MMO (with large servers and people) isn't really what people want, it might be what they think they want, but what I think people are really interested in is just a single-player game with a social aspect added in every now and then; and a stream of occasional new content. I think the best answer to MMOs might be smaller worlds/servers. Something like Neverwinter Nights but with a medium number of players(~500-1000 players) also playing along in a campaign. While I don't think its required, games might turn out better if developers know what they want in an MMO, do they want story/PvE play or more PvP action, right now developers/publishers seem to want both, and the mix seems to kill a game because no one can pull off a balanced mix very well.

Another way I can see large-scale MMOs surviving is if they just remove the bloody subscription cost on games altogether. See Guild Wars (ArenaNet/NCSoft). They have the right idea and have proven that it is possible to create an MMO that doesn't require a monthly fee to keep up the servers. And it makes sense that they pulled it off too, especially since the founders of ArenaNet were people that developed Starcraft. They knew you could create servers that run area-instances in a game. And they pull this off without a monthly fee. Blizz pulled it off with B.net, you didn't have to pay a fee to constantly play on the servers. Also, the fact that UO is still running, even with the small number of people still subscribed to OSI is proof that you don't need a lot of money to keep a server running. Ok this is turning into a rant, but my point has been given.

It could be 10x larger... (1)

TomRC (231027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497605)

I suspect the "multi-game subscription package" approach is going to take off. How many people will pay for more than one monthly subscription? Darn few, I'll bet. But many would pay a bit more a month for a "universal" subscription to a bunch of games, even if they don't end up playing any more hourse a month. The advantage to the publisher is that players are more likely to stay with them, if they have multiple games - if one game gets old, they may still be hooked on another.

Within a couple of years, there'll likely be 2-3 top tier online game publishers, offering exclusive access to hot new games, and some number of second tier publishers that handle older games and new games from developers who don't quite have what it takes to produce a top-flight online game.

Before long, episodic online games will become the new rage - weekly updates with new quests, new story-line plot developments. The name of the game is "keeping subscribers".
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