To fill in for a more substantive post…

While I was reliving my 1/1/2000 experience over the weekend (i.e. patiently moving from system to system verifying that the time change really worked for every task and process… all night long), I was reflecting on the recent MMO releases, and wondering if we’re seeing a fad, a trend, or something else.

By way of explanation, an (incomplete) list of the major releases in the U.S. MMO market since January 1 would run something like this:

  • Vanguard
  • WoW (Burning Crusade)
  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • Guild Wars: Eye of the North
  • Dungeon Runners
  • Mythos
  • Fury (?)
  • Hellgate: London
  • Tabula Rasa
  • 9Dragons
  • Tales of Pirates
  • Sword of the New World

Like I said, very incomplete, just the ones I can remember seeing off the top of my head, but I think it still somewhat gets the point across.  Throw in the cancellation of Gods and Heroes, the delays for WAR, AoC, and Pirates of the Burning Seas, and the shutdown of Auto Assault for good measure.

The question is, would you say we seeing a long-term trend toward somewhat “lighter”, more “action-centric” fare in the MMO marketplace, is it more of a short term fad, or just a statistical anomaly of some sort?

My own take is that it represents somewhat of a trend, but not a bad one or heralding a “loss” of anything.  It seems to me to be a natural result of greater integration with the Asian MMO marketplace, as well as expansion of the boundaries of what an “MMO” is.  Persistent worlds of the EQ/WoW/LoTRO mold are becoming just a subset of the genre: the “persistent character” aspect is becoming the hallmark, and I suspect, at some point, simply “persistence” of one or the other will be sufficient, in combination with an ability to accommodate large numbers of simultaneous players and allowing them to interact in play.  (In other words, Diablo 2 over Battle.Net is essentially “becoming” an MMO ex post facto, as it were.)

However, I can also see arguments for “fad” (the year of the action MMO) and/or “anomaly” (these “lighter MMOs” take less time to make, so of course we’ll see more of them released than of the old “virtual world” types).  So, what’s your opinion?  I’m curious…

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