World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

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EverQuest II screenshot
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Sony reckons that World of Warcraft’s success will eventually be dwarfed by an MMO that caters to the Facebook crowd.

Speaking to VideoGamer.com to mark the ten year anniversary of Sony’s EverQuest, lead designer Ryan Barker said that the game to knock Blizzard’s Warcraft, which enjoys an eye-watering 11.5 million monthly subscribers and is currently the world’s largest MMORPG, off its throne may be “something totally different that we haven’t even thought of yet”.

He said: “At some point someone will dwarf those numbers with a game. If we can get passed some of the barriers that are keeping people from playing with their friends, just because their friends happened to start the game before they did, and maybe started on a different server or whatever, if we can start to get rid of some of those social blocks, I think it can get even better.”

Barker, who admits he is “constantly thinking” about what shape this all-conquering MMO might be, suggested social networking site Facebook as inspiration, saying “Facebook doesn’t care how long you’ve been on Facebook”.

“Things like that show us that there are a lot of people out there that are interested in being involved in an internet community, especially with all the apps on Facebook, in playing casual games. At some point someone’s going to do an MMO that really caters to that group, and is going to have a billion subscribers or whatever. There’s another ceiling somewhere that we haven’t hit yet.”

Barker said that the game may not follow traditional fantasy MMO conventions, and that the genre “may almost be an afterthought”.

“It’s mostly going to be how the social interactions work. There is still somewhat of a stigma with the fantasy genre. It’ll be some weird mix of something we haven’t seen before. A lot of the standard video game genres I don’t think will have the breadth of appeal that would be necessary for something like that. It might not even be a game world per se; it might be something totally different that we haven’t even thought of yet.”

What do you think readers? Will an MMO ever dwarf World of Warcraft? If so, what kind of game would it be? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Wow, first time i've thumbed up a new guy on his first post. Enjoy your prize, you earned it.

WoW will eventually be knocked off but they're going to enjoy a few more years of the top just now. However i will cancel my subscription IF they make Arthas a good guy at the end of WOTLK.
Posted 15:33 on 18 June 2009
u84six's Avatar

u84six

I'm not going to rule out some game acquiring more subscribers than WoW, but using Facebook users as an example isn't a very good comparison. WoW charges a monthly fee, Facebook is free. And if Facebook ever decided to charge a fee for their service, the amount of subscribers would most likely drop well below the current WoW subscriber count.

This future mmo that you talk about would have to be free and it would have to be easy enough for my grandmother to play and provide enough entertainment for the hardcore gamer. I really don't think the 2 mix. The only reason Facebook has so many subscribers is because friends and family have a way to stay in touch with each other without having to write and respond to lengthy emails or make phone calls (if they choose not to). That in itself is not worth a monthly fee after paying for your Internet connection. They'd just find another free service or go back to email.

Now I do agree that there may be another mmo that surpasses WoW in subscriber count, but that would have to be something completely different (like you said). The object of the game cannot be 'killing' for experience or selling virtual goods. It would have to be something that gives a person some recognition throughout the world. And that's not for having the most points or having the better outfit. It would have to be completely social while providing enough entertainment when friends and family are 'connected' with each other.

Your analogy is almost like saying that there will eventually be a more popular band than the Beatles. While I have nothing against that statement, I have yet to see a band that's more popular, and they haven't been together since 1970. :)
Posted 04:03 on 18 June 2009
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

The dude is absolutely spot-on. This is the first intelligent comment I have seen from anyone connected with Sony in a long time.
Posted 13:05 on 17 June 2009
renegade's Avatar

renegade

Sony really are attacking the big boys today lol. Tbh I do agree, But Blizzard have proved in the past they have an abbility to keep and bring back old player again and again. For example this new patch will bring new BGs changes to mounts etc, this will bring players back (me included)
Posted 12:15 on 17 June 2009

Game Stats

Release Date: 13/11/2008
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Fantasy RPG
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 102 2
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