Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, February 11, 2011

Star Wars MMO: WoW in Space?

Han looks... different, somehow.
From the DICE summit in Las Vegas, as reported on, come some interesting comments from BioWare's Greg Zeschuk. Money quote:

"It is a touchstone. It has established standards, it's established how you play an MMO. Every MMO that comes out, I play and look at it. And if they break any of the WoW rules, in my book that's pretty dumb," Zeschuk told the audience.

Now, that does sound somewhat like they intend to make a WoW clone in the Star Wars universe. Which might actually be sufficient to make some money, but perhaps not to the level that EA would like to see. I wonder if the market really needs another WoW, though. Part of the reason new MMO's have a hard time pulling players away from WoW is the group effect. Playing an MMO is fun with a group, and if you're in a guild and enjoying the experience it's not really fun to leave and go into another world. And how many people would want to pay $15 a month for an MMO... then add another $15 a month for another one? Which is all part of why F2P (free-to-play) MMOs are the fastest-growing segment of the market.

If you're looking to get players away from WoW, F2P seems like the only thing that gives a glimmer of hope. Sure, a hot license can help... though I don't know if Stars Wars is all that hot, or even warm, these days. I hope EA has a plan to transition to F2P... and they better have some sharp designers working on that if they hope to pull it off.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is supposed to be launching in the 4th quarter this year. I'm not sure whether it will soar like a Millennium Falcon, or blow up like a Death Star... but it will be interesting to watch. The results, either way, will surely affect the future of the MMORPG industry.

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