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Do MMORPG's Cause People to Buy Fewer Games at Retail? 411

Posted by Roblimo
from the a-zero-sum-game-in-the-games-industry dept.
Grimwell writes NPD reports that the video games industry isn't doing so hot in 2006. Information on a report found at GameSpot indicates that consoles are down, but PC titles are up, led by MMORPG sales. From the article: "Do MMORPG's benefit the industry by bringing in more actively involved gamers? Or do they bleed money away from other companies in the industry as MMORPG players spend their money on subscriptions and skip out on trying other games that hit the shelf because they already have something to go home to?"
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Do MMORPG's Cause People to Buy Fewer Games at Retail?

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  • Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by republican gourd (879711) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:30PM (#15590205)
    Yes. Next?

    In fact, several people I know (WOW addicts), are so amazed by the amount of extra money they save by not buying 3-4 games a month that they re-evaluate buying that many games even after they kick the WOW habit. So it isn't just a temporary loss... it could very well be a permanent one.
    • Re:Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Cheapy (809643) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:37PM (#15590287)
      If they were buying 3-4 video games a month, the video game industry might have more of a problem than MMORPGs taking money. If games are so short and unreplayable that people have to buy games that often, then something seriously needs to be rethought.

      In the meantime, I'll just stick with Nethack and Battle for Wesnoth :)
      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xzzy (111297) <[sether] [at] [tru7h.org]> on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:40PM (#15590322) Homepage
        If games are so short and unreplayable that people have to buy games that often, then something seriously needs to be rethought.

        Huh? From the perspective of the publisher, that sounds like an ideal situation. Maybe a starry-eyed idealist programmer would agree with you, but to the bean counters, expensive frequently purchased trinkets is exactly what should be done.
        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Funny)

          by Cheapy (809643) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:43PM (#15590343)
          Yeah, that's another reason why it needs to be rethought.
        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@ ... COWom minus city> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:15PM (#15590644) Homepage Journal
          Maybe a starry-eyed idealist programmer would agree with you, but to the bean counters, expensive frequently purchased trinkets is exactly what should be done.

          I've got it for you - playing FPS and a lot of MMORG games are just so much easier with your keyboard and mouse. Ever tried to play one with a standard game controller?

          Playing games with the keyboard and mouse increase your degree of acuracy, speed, and control exponentially over controller-based games. Maybe the consoles need to start coming with keyboard/mouse controllers... more games like WoW would translate over a lot easier.

          • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

            by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday June 23, 2006 @07:27PM (#15593355)
            I've got it for you - playing FPS and a lot of MMORG games are just so much easier with your keyboard and mouse. Ever tried to play one with a standard game controller? Playing games with the keyboard and mouse increase your degree of acuracy, speed, and control exponentially over controller-based games.

            I agree that the mouse + keyboard is the superior control scheme (at the moment) for FPS, RTS and the vast majority of MMORGs.

            But that's where the list ends.

            Any other kind of game that I can think of is much better with a console-style controller. Racing? Yes, analog sticks. Flying, same. Action/twitchy games, much better suited for the console controller than a keyboard/mouse. Anything that involves a running 3rd-person character.

            The mouse has precise aiming, and they keyboard has a lot of buttons... but dual analog sticks are fantastic for varying amounts of force in a particular (limitless) direction, and never having to look down to find a hotkey is quite advantageous as well.

        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

          by stunt_penguin (906223) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:50PM (#15590956)
          "but to the bean counters, expensive frequently purchased trinkets is exactly what should be done.

          The bean counters need to worry solely about the quality of the game, and not the overall frequency of purchase for gamers in general. The games industry, like the movie industry has a long tail of shitty, not-worth-the-money games, and a gamer only sees about one or two games a month that is good enough to splash out €60 on and fits their taste in games.. The long tail of poo is not where the games industry makes it's money.

          If this number of good games was zero as in your scenario, and the only thing that people were able to purchase were short, shit games that cost €60 and were immediately disposable then people wouldn't bother remaining gamers, they'd switch to movies or music, (and Jack Thomspson would have to get that which he needs so much, a real job).

          The bottom line in the games industry is that quality sells and keeps the industry alive- other hangers-on are just there to make up the numbers, through accident or design. It's not like you can even release the games industry equivalent of the Adam Sandler movie (I see he has another steamer out this month) and expect to make a profit- games makers don't have much of the type of unaware-how-shit-this-thing-is audience that movie makers have.

          In the TV world, the real sellers are 24, Lost, Sex in the City, The Sopranos, Desperate Housewives, CSI. No TV beancounter would dare say 'hey lets fund another 10 series of family fortune' instead of any of these shows no more than a games industry bencounter would say 'you know what, I think it's time we made another Sonic sequel' because he could be funding another Battlefield 2, World of Warcraft, Oblivion, Ghost Recon:Advanced Warfighter- projects that keep the games industry alive and make it worth it to be a gamer in the way that Lost and 24 makes it worth it to buy a TV and put up with advertising.

          If you build it (and it's good) they will come.
          • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

            by colinbrash (938368) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:20PM (#15591214)
            The bean counters need to worry solely about the quality of the game, and not the overall frequency of purchase for gamers in general.... If you build it (and it's good) they will come.

            This is a lovely picture of how the world ought to be, but it is not an accurate one. As in pretty much every other area in the world, a high quality product is neither necessary nor sufficient to generate profit.

            Quality costs money, and people are willing to sacrifice quality to save money. This is true in the game industry, just as it is true in all other aspects of life.
            • Re:Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

              by stunt_penguin (906223) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:43PM (#15591406)
              "a high quality product is neither necessary nor sufficient to generate profit."

              At least some quality product is, however necessary for the games industry to even exist in ther first place, otherwise people would shy away from buying the gear necessary to get into gaming, or loose interest after they've been stung with a few expensive stinkers.

              Also, it's a generally accepted fact in the industry that most games loose money> Those games that are successful in turning the profit are not those that make up the long fecal tail. They're the gems.
          • Re:Yes (Score:3, Funny)

            by feepness (543479)
            d make it worth it to be a gamer in the way that Lost and 24 makes it worth it to buy a TV and put up with advertising.

            They still have advertising on TV?
          • Re:Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

            by PingXao (153057)

            The bean counters need to worry solely about the quality of the game, and not the overall frequency of purchase for gamers in general. The games industry

            This quote is wrong. Bean counters need to do 1 thing: count beans. It's the other people in control of the company that need to realize quality is a supremely important factor.

            Let the beancounters do what they do best. The problem happens all too often when the beancounters are the other people that control the company. At that point the quote is 100

      • Re:Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mrbooze (49713) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:31PM (#15591296)
        If they were buying 3-4 video games a month, the video game industry might have more of a problem than MMORPGs taking money. If games are so short and unreplayable that people have to buy games that often, then something seriously needs to be rethought.

        By that logic, movies would be better if they were 24 hours long, and novels should be 100,000 pages.

        I love movies, and books, and games. That means I actually want to experience many of them, not buy one book and spend the next 5 months reading it, or reading it over and over again.

        If I get 10-20 hours of *good* play out of a game then I'm perfectly happy with that. This is mostly with story-driven-type games though, which I tend to gravitate to. When I hear that some RPG has "100 hours of gameplay" I usually suspect that's bullshit and is padded out with half-assed reasons to replay the game. (Start over from the beginning, but *this* time as a *dark* elf! The story is pretty much the same, but we have different text at the ending! And a couple of the NPCs will be rude to you!)
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rogue974 (657982) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:38PM (#15590300)
      Yes, very true, fully agree. I recently broke the MMORPG addiction, for the 3rd time, and haven't bought many new games since. I am enjoying talking with people and going out of doors (although the sun did hurt for the first few weeks of trying to go out in it).
    • Yah, my friend was a serious addict (who just recently quit), and part of the way he justified it was that the $156/yr was much less that the 6-8 $50 games he would have bought otherwise.
      • by L7_ (645377)
        Its better than -$156/year. since I started playing games in 1999: played UO then moved onto AC in those years and there was no real "gold farmer" type professional operations, it was more single person to single person transactions when people wanted something they couldnt obtain in game. Seemingly, I made +$1.2k in 3 years selling 3 accounts on ebay... when I kicked my "addiction"'s and quit gaming for a time (it was a permanent way to stop as the entry barrier got real big). That $1.2k is way more than t
    • i ONLY played Half-Life and various mods from about 2001 until Half-Life 2 came out.

      the 29.99 or whatever i orignally paid for it made for enough fun until the next version. i can only imagine how much MORE a mmorpg would hold onto a customer than something that doesn't really have the same sort of gameplay and object (such as HL)
      • i didn't even think about the subscription fee. i didn't buy any games and my HL only cost me 30$ once.

        if i was paying a subscription fee, i would definitely not be wasting much time playing games that didn't squeeze the most out of the fee.
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:44PM (#15590361)
      I agree. It's purely a matter of free-time. MMORPG reward you for spending LOTS of time.

      You buy Quake 17, you spend 40 hours of play time beating it, and then you go back to your MMORPG.
      a) you are "wasting" your subscription payment by not spending time on your MMORPG
      b) all your friends have now advanced by 40 hours, but you haven't moved. depending on the game, this can make it hard to group with your friends, until you can catch up.

      Because the MMORPG lasts for years, any other game is viewed as "temporary". Why spend a month playing Quake 17, when you could play your MMORPG and grind out another level?

      The game industry should HATE MMORPGs, since they suck up all available free time, leaving the gamer with no time to play 5 new games each month (or even 1). Only the MMORPGs benefit.
      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

        by laffer1 (701823) <luke@ f o o l i s h g a m es.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:23PM (#15590726) Homepage Journal
        You are absolutely correct. I bought my wife WoW the day it came out. It included a 10 day free trial for me. We both started at the same time. I couldn't find another copy to buy for 3 months. Her first character was already level 28 or something by the time I got the game. (i was level 9)

        She started a new character with me. Since my first love is FPS games, it always ends up with her 20 or more levels ahead of me by the time I play Wow again. I only spend 5-10 hours a month playing WoW and 20-30 playing Enemy Territory. I can never keep up with her and I often need to play WoW to talk to her. :)

        Another problem with the industry is that most people don't play games very long. Most of my friends don't stick with a game long enough to get more than one or two plays in with them online. Its costly keeping up. One minute battlefield 2 is hot and the next they are playing guildwars. I can't keep up anymore. I miss playing Doom or AOE2 for 5 hours with friends, etc. I've got literally hundreds of games collecting dust because no one else has them or wants to play them anymore.
    • by hurfy (735314)
      Ok, i know we just discussed recently....

      yes and yes, it may well carry over past the orig game.

      In fact, I saved money while paying for 2-3 monthly subscriptions :O
    • Yes. Next?

      In fact, several people I know (WOW addicts), are so amazed by the amount of extra money they save by not buying 3-4 games a month that they re-evaluate buying that many games even after they kick the WOW habit. So it isn't just a temporary loss... it could very well be a permanent one.

      Back when I first started playing online I had been spending a fair chunk of my monthly paycheck between arcade games and buying $49 titles for one of my home computers. In the 10+ years since playing online

    • Of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

      by umbrellasd (876984) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:02PM (#15590524)
      The primary reason that I do play an online game is cost. Even if I am not keen on playing, I shell out the monthly fee deliberately because it leaves me with little motivation to purchase $50-a-pop titles at retail. Usually there are 1 or 2 really great games a year that come out. I may buy one of those, but that's about it.

      The question of whether the online game is responsible for losses in the industry is stupid. If there were 15 incredible titles a year, sales would be just fine. If on the other hand there are 13 mediocre titles and 2 great ones (if even), well now, I'd say it's not that some online *cough*WoW*cough* game is so unbelievably amazing, but rather than it's an economical alternative amidst a field of mediocrity.

      • Re:Of Course (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        I don't understand where is idea came from of paying a subscription fee to play a game online. Before we were just happy playing 1 on 1 over modem connections, or getting a few of our closest friends together and playing over the network. The guy with the fastest computer got to host the server. I don't really have any desire to play against people halfway around the world. Because of many reasons, Including:

        A) A large proportion of the players spend way too much time playing, and are 10x better (by
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:52PM (#15590973)
      I know a WOW addict. I was telling her how I didn't have time to make paying a monthly fee for a MMPORG worthwhile. She told me, in all seriousness, "it actually saves me money. I don't have to pay to go out and do things anymore."
  • Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keyne9 (567528) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:32PM (#15590235)
    Do MMORPG's Cause People to Buy Fewer Games at Retail?

    Yes? How hard is it to realize that paying $15/mo for (similar) entertainment is a better option than shelling out $50 every few weeks?
    • Well, when you only buy 2 or 3 games a year like me, it's a lot better to buy the games themselves. That way, I don't have to pay $15/month for the same game. Even if all those individual games cost $60, it comes out ahead for me.

      So I guess it'll take quite a long time for me to realize what you said. :)
  • by darkchubs (814225) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:32PM (#15590242)
    well , its less distributed... but I mean they spend 10-15 USD a month on these games... it's just voting with dollars. the Industry should respond acordingly
  • by shinma (106792) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:33PM (#15590249) Homepage
    I haven't bought nearly as many games in the time I've been playing World of Warcraft.

    The time I have that can be allotted to video games is simply taken up. That doesn't mean I'm not spending just as much money on games now as I used to, just that all my money's going to Blizzard, rather than being spread out.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:35PM (#15590266)
    You can't just "beat" an mmo.

    they take a long time to play.. they have very comprehensive worlds, thousands of items, quests, plot arcs.

    a lot of the newer generation games are open "world" environments. They could potentially be played for a human's entire life because they are fully open ended.

    I failed to bookmark the post, but the best case i've seen made on this was a post regarding EVE online.
    The thing has 4,000 star systems and hundreds of thousands of players who carry on alliances and trade. There are even huge wars with massive armadas fighting it out for territory.. it's like an interactive version of babylon 5.

    Heck.. there are still hardcore people playing the vintage 2001 release of gamecube PSO because they are hard core legits and want to find hard to find items without hacking them.

    Meanwhile FPS games are generally very limited. They generally few enough maps to count on your hand, and similarly few weapons. Further an argument can be made that all games from the same generation are fairly the same save causmetics.

    Weather youre shooting with a wwII era thompson or a covenant needler.. its pretty much the same experience either way..

    this all leads to people getting bored quickly and moving on.
  • by minginqunt (225413) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:35PM (#15590267) Homepage Journal
    The article assumes that, whatever is causing the current doldrums, will clear up by "the holidays".

    It seems to me that these mythical "holidays", with the expense of buying a PS3 or Wii or 360, will merely exacerbate the problem. Not only are consumers not buying Madden 2016 or OMG Total Warfighters VII *now* on current-gen hardware, they are likely to be even less inclined having forked out $600 on which to see Teh New Shiny.

    Also, if the XBOX 360 is riding a wave of indifference already, it must be extremely worrying to MS about what will happen when they square off against Wii and a newly-confident Nintendo.
  • by popo (107611) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:36PM (#15590269) Homepage

    Its not just MMORPG's that are going to bruise retail sales, its digital delivery.

    People may not be talking about it so much yet, but the idea of selling digital
    information 'burned into plastic' is already as archaic for GameStop as it is for
    a record store.

    • A lot of people perfer to be able to have a physical copy of the data. What happens if Windows melts down and you lose your downloaded game?

      Do you really think companies will just resend the game over without a charge? That bandwidth must be payed for somehow.
    • Couldn't agree more, I hardly can remember the last time I bought from a physical store (outside an impulse buys I happen upon.) I buy nearly everything online and even then I check for a full digital distribution first. And all my music comes from the games I buy so... yeah.

      Now If I could only convince people that episodic content at $20 every 6 monthes for 4-6 hours is a better deal than Subscription patches at $90 over 6 monthes for *maybe* 9-10 hours (not including replay value for either, when I've pl
  • It's an addiction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tyrsenus (858934) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:38PM (#15590292)
    MMORPGs are essentially a black hole for the gaming industry.

    WoW, for example, is an endless, time- and money-sink. In that respect it's very similar to gambling for some people. They are so involved with the game that they don't want to play anything else. They can't show off their e-peens in an FPS! And if they were to play another MMORPG, they would have to start over which not many are willing to do.

    This is why I don't think Blizzard will make a Starcraft or Diablo MMORPG. Nobody would leave WoW to start over.

    That's my $.02.
    • by Ignignot (782335) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:41PM (#15590335) Journal
      This is why I don't think Blizzard will make a Starcraft or Diablo MMORPG. Nobody would leave WoW to start over.

      Of course they are going to make Starcraft or Diablo into an MMORPG. Their parent company, Vivendi, says "hey you guys are making a ton of money with this WoW thing. Can you do more of that sort of stuff?" Then Blizzard says, "well yes we can do more of it." Then Vivendi says "ok then do more of it right now - we will give you as much resources as you need just make us more profitable so our stock will go up"
    • This is why I don't think Blizzard will make a Starcraft or Diablo MMORPG.

      Ummmm yea. [blizzard.com]
    • This is why I don't think Blizzard will make a Starcraft or Diablo MMORPG. Nobody would leave WoW to start over.

      Sure they would. Just look at the endless cries for new servers in WoW. People are always starting new characters on new servers, and they can take NOTHING with them except for experience. (ignoring realm transfers here).
      If Blizzard starts a new MMORPG, they will likely have a very large percentage of their customer base paying for both games. It's a bonus for Blizzard because the $$ can incre
    • Nobody would leave WoW to start over.

      I used to be heavily addicted to another MMORPG. I now play WoW. I had no problem starting over since the previous MMORPG had become stale. I had no problem starting over, I still speak to people from the other game so I haven't lost the social part of it and WoW is a much better game plus I'm making new friends. I'm also not so heavily addicted to WoW which is good for my restarted social life. If WoW ever became stale for me I'd be off and probably more easily.
    • Re:It's an addiction (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Derosian (943622)
      I played Counter-strike for 2 years, and I mean hardcore played, 10 hours a day.

      You can show your E-penis off in FPS, its just that much easier to get pwned, and you feel it. In WoW, its level over long period of time, it takes hardly any skill, all you have to do is hit keys in rhythm, use certain keys in different situations, I still play WoW, but I feel it misses a lot of player skill. This way the 12 year olds can strut and say they own when they are 60 and go around ganking 50s.

      But seriously, the min
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      "Nobody would leave WoW to start over"

      Are you kidding?? Let's try that again.

      "Nobody would leave The Realm to start over".
      Nope, wasn't true.

      "Nobody would leave Everquest to start over".
      Nope.

      "Nobody would leave Asheron's Call to start over".
      Nope.

      "Nobody would leave DAoC to start over".
      Nope.

      It's never been true in the past, and it never will be. There will ALWAYS be a better MMO on the horizon, right up until there's a better genre to replace it.

      The biggest reason is that you aren't 'starting over.' You ar
    • by garylian (870843)
      It is hardly endless. Plenty of players gets bored and quit all the time. Personally, I found the max level game to be about as entertaining as braiding my navel lint, but that's just me.

      MMOs tend to have a long play cycle, it is true. I played EQ for 5 years, and finally made the max level of 65 (with only about 12 AA's) just before they raised the roof to 70, and quit before it did to play WoW.

      I was out of WoW after hitting max level in about 8 months of not really trying all that hard. My wife and I
  • Not enough time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illumina+us (615188) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:38PM (#15590296) Homepage
    There simply isn't enough time to be actively involved in MMOs and play other games at more than a less than casual level. A lot of people who play WoW and are in raiding guilds easily spend 20-40 hours a week if not more playing WoW!
  • Largely concur... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thebdj (768618) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:38PM (#15590297) Journal
    I haven't paid "full price" for games since I quit playing WoW (I might play when the expansion hits). Since then my game purchases have include, Tribes Vengeance, I love the series and at $5 at Microcenter there was no way not to get this. I picked up the Myst Collection (or whatever) for like $15. Since I never beat any of the games before, I figured why not. I also purchased NWN: Diamond Edition for around $30, so that is NWN + 2 expansions (or is it 3). The last game I got was HL2: Episode One. Once again, only $8 at Circuit City.

    I just believe that there is no reason to spread out so much cash like I once did for games. Once I start playing WoW again, I probably won't buy anything at all until I stop again. I really think that this also goes beyond money. I think people who play an MMORPG, like WoW, get highly involved and play that one game and nothing else, or little else. This translates into a need for fewer games over all, since once they stop playing WoW, they can immerse themselves in their new games until they beat it before having to buy a new one.
    • I haven't paid "full price" for games since I quit playing WoW (I might play when the expansion hits). Since then my game purchases have include, Tribes Vengeance, I love the series and at $5 at Microcenter there was no way not to get this. I picked up the Myst Collection (or whatever) for like $15. Since I never beat any of the games before, I figured why not. I also purchased NWN: Diamond Edition for around $30, so that is NWN + 2 expansions (or is it 3). The last game I got was HL2: Episode One. Once ag

    • I do the same thing. I pick up the Classic/Greatest Hits/Players Choice and used titles for $20 or less for the console.

      I still like a good game of Guild Wars now and then too. It's my full price addiction.
  • YES!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    Yes, of course they do. I for one, haven't bought a single game since I started playing EVE-Online about 2 years ago now. I play on average 2-3 hours a day (I'd hardly say I'm an addict, because sometimes I don't play for days, even weeks). Since there is no 'finishing' an MMORPG, I have yet to feel those pangs of boredom that would move me to another game. Even after I finish playing EVE, when i Get bored or all my friends leave it, I highly doubt I'll be buying a lot of games in the future. More then li
  • If you have £50 a month for games, and you're spending £20 a month on the MMO. That's £20 a month less going on retail games.

    Where's the surprise here? Most people have a fixed entertainment budget. Spending more on anything means spending less on something else. And given most people also have limited time if they're spending money and time on an MMO game they're going to have less time for any other game and less need to buy more.
  • There are very few games I like to play. Of the games I've purchased, the only ones I've played for more than a few hours are MMORPG's. Specifically, Asheron's Call and City of Heroes/Villains. I was involved in the last few months Beta test for Dungeons and Dragons, however, I've decided I'm tired of paying $50-ish for a game that I also have to pay monthly to play, so I've decided I will be switching from CoV/CoH, but only when DDO drops significantly in price for the client. Hell, they GIVE the clien
  • by steveo777 (183629) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:40PM (#15590312) Homepage Journal
    One is that you pay for your MMORPG and you love it and play it because, in the words of my cousin and I, it's freer than going out and buying a game. We pay in advance because it's cheaper.

    The second is that some people don't like subscriptions and would rather just play their games when they want, and move on. If they want, they can alway go back to their old games and pick it up where they left of for free. They own it.

    The thrid is them fence-riders. Or people with a lot of money and time. They pay for one or mor MMORPG and they buy games all the time. Single people with well-paying jobs, usually. Most people are on one side of the fence or the other as either side can just pick up the game when they want. It's all about how we/you/I view our money.

    Personally, I play Wow and buy about as many games as I normally would (which isn't many). I rarely own two games that I haven't beaten, and MMORPGs don't really count. Couple that with the fact that there haven't been any games coming out that interest me and I'm saving up for a good Wii launch line up... No cash...

  • Not the only problem (Score:3, Informative)

    by scrabbleguy (980944) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:40PM (#15590318) Homepage
    I know that I've been buying less games due to lack of innovation. There's just too many sequels and not enough new ideas. Even Katamari. Playing the first Katamari was great. The sequel and the PSP version were really just more of the same.

    That's one reason the DS is doing so well. A lot of things we're seeing for the first time and they're completely great. I'd much rather perform surgery with my touch screen then play something like Blinx 2.
  • by east coast (590680) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:42PM (#15590337)
    I remember back when companies like SSI were putting out titles that they rated as 50-60 hours of game play. These titles normally lived up to the claims too. But in today's gaming it seems like the game play is shorter. Just look at HalfLife2, HL2 episode one, the Hitman series, etc etc where these games could just be absolutely crushed in under 10 hours.

    There are few "long term" games today and most of those are RPGs (NWN and TOE come to mind) and few first/third person "shooters". Personally I was a big fan of the Thief series of games and it would take about 30 hours for each installment if you did it "right". You don't find many games like that today.

    But then again there is the somewhat recent increase in game modding too... How many people are still playing the original Counter Strike today? Where would that time have gone if the gamer didn't have CS? Granted, it helped to keep the original Half Life out of the bargin bin but the number of hours spent playing online (and not just MMORPGs) adds value to the original product. Perhaps that's another aspect of this issue that should be reviewed. I know I have about 200+ hours in on CSS at this point. That's more time than I've logged into EQ2 since I got HL2.

    Thief also should be noted as having fan missions. There are just tons of them and some are even better than the original maps. It helped add more time to the game. So this too added value and took time away from a new game to devote to an old original.
  • At least for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Odin_Tiger (585113) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:42PM (#15590339) Journal
    At least in my case, yes, MMORPG's suck my dollars away from other games, but that's only part of the problem. Oblivion was the last game that really caught my interest as 'must-have', and Spore is the next one I'll be looking to buy. That's a really long gap between games, and it's not like I'm picky about genre, either. Console RPG like Final Fantasy and racing games like Gran Turismo, PC single player-focused FPS like F.E.A.R., online FPS like Day of Defeat: Source or UT2K4 or Battlefield, PC Strategy like Warcraft III or Civ IV, PC RPG like Oblivion...

    There are lots of games types that I love and will happily pay for, but the fact of the matter is, there aren't very many quality games, regardless of platform or genre, being released lately. Oh, I'm sure I'll get a few replies to this pointing out people's personal favorites, but how many games have come out in '06 that really jump to the forefront of your mind as something that you heard about, planned to buy, -did- buy, and were very happy with -and- was widely popular? Let's see, TES IV: Oblivion, and...uhhhhm... ... ...see? Games companies are in the same boat as Hollywood last summer. Sure, there are some factors relating to changes in customer behavior that are hurting sales a bit, but when you get down to it, the industry simply is not releasing much, and what little they are releasing is, by and large, crap.
    • Guitar Hero Might not fall into the "wildly popular" category, but it's the best party game I've ever seen. Easily recognizable songs, intuitive gameplay, and "Let me try that" attitude make it a fantastic game. Brain Age/Academy It's one of the many Nintendo DS "nongames" but I've been playing it once a day for the past 2 weeks, and don't intend to stop anytime in the near future. That's something I can't say for a lot of other games (besides WoW) Nintendogs Another "nongame" which I haven't tried,
      • Re:My favorite (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Odin_Tiger (585113)
        Interesting that you mention new takes on old games...just last weekend I dug out 'Final Fantasy Origins', which is a re-release of FF and FF2 on a single PSX disc, and burned about 30hrs on the original Final Fantasy (they changed some names and graphics a -tad-, but basically the same game...) I ordered some PSX mem cards off ebay (couldn't find mine...) and kept saving to the system memory until they arrived, hehe.
        What really blows my mind, more than anything else, is that games are progressively becomi
  • I mean, seriously, I don't know about the US releases, but looking on amazon.de is just disheartening. There are surprisingly a couple of games that are scheduled for the end of june, which is more than last summer had, but you can also see stuff released in February that's _still_ on their short "New Releases" list. It's just bloody sad.

    Not to mention that a lot of stuff is just a clone of a clone of a clone of a clone. Yet another FPS coming up, yet another RTS coming up, and (now that's a big surprise;)
  • Price? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by djrosen (265939)
    Console games are $60 USD while their PC counterparts are 25% or better less. I am playing Oblivion on the Xbox360 and I am glad the game takes massive amounts of hours to complete becasue I am in no hurry to spend another $60 on what is basically a slightly better version of the game that they could easily put out on the original Xbox.

    I still like the 360 but I have over 60 games for my Xbox, I dont think I will be getting close to that number with 360 games unless they get Much, Much better to justify the
  • Yes. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Soulflame_2 (795518)
    I used to buy 2 or 3 retail games a month, right up until I started playing UO. Currently, I may buy three to six games a year, and they are for the most part big titles like Warcraft III or Civ 4. In fact, I'd say half of the games I have bought for the past couple years have been for the gamecube I bought "for the children".

    The industry has no one to blame but themselves, unfortunately. The way that MMOGs are designed, in order to be "successful" in the game, one has to spend an extraordinary amount
  • ... but other things as well, like food, rent, beer. I'm saving thousands!
  • Absolutely (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wind_Walker (83965) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:55PM (#15590454) Homepage Journal
    As a recently liberated WoW player (played since launch, endgame guild up to Twin Emps) I can say that my buying habits changed drastically when I started playing WoW. Before WoW, I would buy about 2 games a month for my various systems (PC, US and Japan PS2, GBA, DS, and modded Gamecube for US/Japan games). While I was playing WoW I bought exactly zero games.

    Once my WoW addiction subsided and I tried to play "catch up" though, I found that I had no interest in 99% of the games which had come out during my 18-month game-buying drought. Guitar Hero, Battlefield 2, and Dragon Quest VIII are the only major titles which I felt were "must-haves" during the time I was out of the market. It's interesting though that there's dozens of DS games which I still have on my "want" list, when I figured that there would be zero.

    I don't think it's WoW's fault, I think that the past year has just been really really crappy for video games in general. It's all "same game different title" for the most part. Battlefield 2 and DQ8 are basically just and FPS and a standard Japanese RPG. Guitar Hero is probably the only new idea out there for the consoles, while the DS has Nintendogs, the Brain series, as well as the new control schemes for Metroid Prime Hunters gives the DS new life from the jaded gamer market.

    I, like thousands of other gamers, have "been there done that" with the current generation of consoles. It's all just FPS, sports, and stealth games it seems. The DS breaks that mold by introducing the revolutionary control scheme and backing it up with great games. I'm hoping the Wii will continue this and really give people new, innovative video games to play again, because I'm tired of the "same game different title" syndrome.

  • Some people may get bored with a game pretty quickly. I cannot play the same strategy game for more than a month (even if I'm playing in multiplayer). My sister *still* plays Warcraft III since it was published. The main problem with strategies/RPGs is that your gaming experience stays pretty much the same. They don't have very good storylines (except for perhaps Starcraft) and in strategies you end up building units until the 5-minute final battle where you either lose your army and have or completely defe
  • Well, one thing with MMOs is that they really take you for a ride. First, you pay $50 for the actual software. Then, assuming there aren't any expansion packs available (which can easily cost just as much as the original software), you pay $15 a month for the privelege of playing.

    I finally broke down and bought World of Warcraft last month. By the time a year goes by, if I manage to take advantage of all discounts and get the average monthly cost down to $12, I will have spent $182 on that game alone. It on
  • I can't really be the only gamer who detests MMORPGs, can I? I love my PC and console RPGs to death (or at least, to ending credits roll) but I really can't stand anything more MMORPGish than Cyber Nations. [cybernations.net] Every so often I'll try a new one on the urging of some friend with an account, and every time beyond the initial character creation it just stops being fun for me.
  • What stops me from buying games at retail is that for the most part they suck, other than graphics nothing has improved in the last 10 years, and the controls have gotten too complex, I should not have to "learn a controller" it should be intuitive, I shouldnt need 1/2 dozen cheat codes to unlock the really fun stuff...I dont have hours to dedicate to gaming, but I would love to pick up a game and be able to use the coolest wepon/tool/car/player avalible...stop this "earned extras" crap and UNLOCK THE THING
  • Good games make you buy less. I would normally buy 4-5 games a month and almost always they suck until one month you get a great non-service game (planescape: torment, warcraft 2, ultima 2-6, neverwinter nights, starcraft, heroes of might and magic 2, might and magic 5-6, alternate reality, doom 1-3, quake, etc) and then I would play it for months and months and not buy games until I get tired of it (starcraft lasted 1.5 years, warcraft 2 about 1 year, quake was about a year). MMORPGs are in the same bo
  • where's the market research (that isn't months old and already talked to death over)? EA, Square/Enix and the rest of the big publishiers must be looking at this trend, couldn't we hear a little from them? How about some hard stats on the # of games the average WoW player has bought in the months before and during play? We know sales are down, but the economy's in the toilet and it's pre-Christmas at the end of a console epoch. for God's sake, it's expected. I'm not saying MMORPGs are or aren't biting into
  • Price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:19PM (#15590680)
    In the late 80's and early 90's, PC games were in the $30-40 range, most in the $30 range. They'd drop to $19.99 after a year and then on to the CompUSA bargain bin. Now you see games going for $60-70, and dropping down to about $30. Good games seem stay at $30 for a few years... Half-Life 1 was $24.99 at Target a few months ago!

    That's alot of money... at that price point, video games are going either going to turn into a niche market or you'll have a 1984 scenario again where everything crashes.
  • Since I started playing WoW just after Christmas, I've stopped buying other computer games, or going to the cinema or going out to the pub or seeing any of my friends, or eating or drinking except at survival levels. So I've saved a lot of money which is quite fortunate since i also lost my job...
  • Because I'm a huge gamer. I love video games. I've been playing video games since I was 4 (I'm now 20) and I haven't stopped since. But as far as my WoW addiction... it's just a game. Just as when I'm playing Shenmue 2 (Dreamcast Import) and Crazy Taxi. It's just the game of my attention at the time and it does not stop me from buying other games.
  • Or do they bleed money away from other companies in the industry as MMORPG players spend their money on subscriptions and skip out on trying other games that hit the shelf because they already have something to go home to?
    I'd like to point out that if they "bleed" money away from other companies then they simply have a more desireable product than the competition. People will generally spend their money exactly were they think they will derive the greatest benefit to themselves. If it's spending thei
  • I think so (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rabbot (740825) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:06PM (#15591091)
    When i'm in "MMORPG mode" (which lasts 3-6 months usually before burning out and taking a few months off), I don't buy nearly as many games. I buy games I would play while not being able to play the MMORPG i'm addicted to. I buy a lot of Nintendo DS/GBA games during these times.

    I would like to think that the handheld market would not be affected by MMORPGs very much. Time consuming PC and console games take the worst beating I think.

    Of course in my case I make up for it during my MMORPG downtime. I think during my last "break" I went out and bought 4 or 5 PS2 games that had come out in the past year that I had been interested in but knew I would not play at the time. A couple titles, God of War comes to mind, were already available for $20 new.
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:56PM (#15591516)
    Others here mentioned the quality of games as being in decline the past one or two years. I found this odd as each year, that I can remember, had several pretty good games. I was never one to buy more than a game every few months, so while the barrel of gaming per se was always filled to me, I never drank enough from it to see how quickly I reached the bottom.

    So, I took it upon myself to look at some information on MetaCritic [metacritic.com]. While critical aggregation is not foolproof, it does have some useful data. I counted all the games that were rated at least a 90, that came out no earlier than 2001, and that were for the PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Gamecube, or PC. (Sorry, no handhelds or older consoles).

    Here is how that turned out:

    2001: 25
    2002: 34
    2003: 38
    2004: 30
    2005: 21
    2006: 7

    So if it seems that there's not as many good games as there were three years ago, you're correct. Extrapolating 2006, we come up with an awfully low total. Even with another twenty great games this year, which is extremely unlikely, it's still less compared to 2002-2004.

    Here's a detailed chart [fantasticdamage.com] with a per-system breakdown.

    Now have critics gotten tougher after the past two years? Or is the conventional wisdom correct, and have titles really just gotten worse?

  • by Jelloman (69747) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:19PM (#15591750)
    I've been spending a good $1000/year on PC games for a decade or more. But I bought less than 10 in 2005 and only a couple in 2006, and I can't really blame MMOs... even in my heavier MMO playing days in 2003-2005, I was still buying plenty of single-player PC titles.

    I've chosen not to buy dozens of games lately that I normally would have bought immediately (Hitman: Blood Money, HoMM V, SpellForce 2, Battle for Middle Earth 2, SW: Empire at War) because of invasive "copy protection" technologies like Starforce and Securom. I just don't accept a videogame installing drivers, services, or anything else that destabilizes my system. Nor do I appreciate being treated like a criminal by companies I buy things from. I bought GalCiv 2 mostly to support Stardock selling games without copy protection, though it is a good game.

    20 years ago, EA destroyed the floppy drive on my Commodore 64 with invasive copy protection that didn't work; fast forward to 2006, and they're still trying to destroy my OS with invasive copy protection that doesn't work. Idiots. It'd be nice if Spore doesn't come with destructive copy protection, but I wouldn't bet on it. Too bad because it looks like an incredible game.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar (772313) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @09:20AM (#15600254) Homepage Journal
    I don't think this can be attributed to *just* the MMORPGs, a lot of games that have extended multiplayer lives (as many should) can stem the flow of games that one person goes through in a year. Many people who play Counter-Strike or Battlefield 2 for example often don't play that many games at the same time, and we all know about the cases of gamers who have played nothing but CS since they got it.

    I think it is less a problem with MMORPGS, but more a feature of the extended life of some games nowdays thanks to internet multiplayer, in which case, can we really see it as a problem?

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