Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MMORPG Market to Over $5 Billion Worldwide

According to the latest figures, the MMORPG market totaled $5 billion for 2009. Latest predictions are that the global MMORPG market will hit $8 billion in revenue by 2014. The market has seen 17% annual growth rates, driven primarily by the Asian market. The interesting part is that the market is segmented; the US market is slowing down, hampered (apparently) by competition from mobile and social games. The disparity is also due to the difference in business models; the Asian games are primarily free to play and make revenue from virtual item sales, while Western games are mostly subscription fee based.

Of course, this is leading to an invasion of the US market by the Asian companies, with their revenue model leading the way. New MMORPG titles in the US have had difficulty getting traction against the World of Warcraft juggernaut, unless they are free to play. Some existing games, like Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO), have successfully transitioned to free-to-play. Even WoW designers have admitted they are thinking about it, though with the Cataclysm expansion slated to hit this year I don't think we'll see any action for a while. The interesting thing to watch with Cataclysm will be how well it succeeds at picking up new players.

The image, by the way, is from a 2005 ad campaign for D&D, trying to hit back at the WoW juggernaut. In a way, it worked... now players of many PC games are Skyping with their friends as they play. With Skype's new beta, you can have multiple video chats going all together... so it really is like having your friends over, without them taking up space and eating your Doritos.

These are the realities that marketers have to deal with these days. The technology changes the market, so your products have to respond. While you're waiting for product development to catch up, your marketing has to change, too. Marketers have to be in touch with their customer base, ready to shift as they shift.

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