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World Of Warcraft Crushing PC Game Industry? 397

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simoniker writes "Age of Empires co-creator and Iron Lore co-founder Brian Sullivan has been discussing his studio's first game, Titan Quest, but along the way has openly wondered whether World Of Warcraft's success is part of the reason for the decline of the PC retail game market. Sullivan commented: 'For retail PC games, I think the biggest problem is World of Warcraft... It is such a compelling MMO game that it sucks up a lot of money and time that would normally be spent on other retail PC games.' Does WoW's growth actually mean that PC games in other non-MMO genres may sell fewer copies?"
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World Of Warcraft Crushing PC Game Industry?

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  • Wrong argument? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:33PM (#15752381) Journal
    As for making a name for themselves in the market, Sullivan feels that some of the biggest competition comes from MMOs, not because they are competitors in the genre, but because people simply enjoy playing them so much.

    His entire argument is that any game that's more popular than his, especially MMOs, takes away from his game. ...Really, that isn't an argument, it's stating the obvious.

    Gamers are an educated demographic, for the most part, and have fantastically high standards. When something that comes out is so good that it shakes up the entire industry, complaining about it will get you nowhere. It's kinda like he's making an "I'm hardcore and therefore better!" argument, but applying it to the big kid on the block (yes, WoW is a "casual" game in many respects, but he's not addressing that aspect).

    And even at all that, aspiring to understand why it's so wildly popular so that he may make better games seems to have escaped him.
    • Re:Wrong argument? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jimmy King (828214)

      His entire argument is that any game that's more popular than his, especially MMOs, takes away from his game. ...Really, that isn't an argument, it's stating the obvious.

      Yes and no. The difference is that with a "normal" game you will beat it and then move on to the next game. Obviously there are exceptions to this, and I suppose moreso on pc than consoles, with the multitude of multiplayer strategy games, etc But on average, I believe most MMOs will end up being played more fanatically than other games

      • Re:Wrong argument? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ottothecow (600101)
        right.

        It's not that people are buying WoW instead of his game (most long term wow players have written off that monthly cost and it no longer fits into their available spending money...just goes in witht he other bills) its that wow is so involving that it takes an amazing game to so much as pull someone away from it.

        I took off from wow during my first year of college but now during the summer I picked it back up. During school though I didnt have enough time to devote to WoW, there were tiems I stil

    • Re:Wrong argument? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ranton (36917) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:57PM (#15752573)
      I think his main point is not that he thinks that WoW raises the bar on how good games have to be now. It is simply that WoW takes up far more time than an average PC game. A player that may have played 6 different RPG games in a single year is now going to only play 1 or 2 because WoW takes up too much of his time.

      This player may have had alot more fun with 6 different games, but he never payed attention to other games because his guild needed his help camping some dragon spawn.

      If this is true, then it could have an adverse effect on the PC gaming industry because we will end up seeing less games in general. That means less chance for innovative new ideas, and probably just more churning out sequels. I am not saying that this is the case, and neither was this guy, it was just his speculation.
      --
      • Re:Wrong argument? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DeeDob (966086)
        I agree completely, on every aspect, the parent post.

        You can also add that WoW, or other MMO, requires much more money than any other game in the market. The basic cost + the monthly fees.

        It's simply less money to spend on other games made by other companies. All that money goes into the same company. Meaning future releases in gaming will require bigger and bigger companies to be able to rival those kind of assets.

        More money required = less "risk", less "innovation", less number of "games", "higher price"
        • by tm2b (42473) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:13AM (#15755637) Journal
          Nonsense, it's an artificial comparison to compare the expense on a per game basis. Instead, look at the cost per hour of gameplay and do the math.

          Let's say that I play games 25 hours a month, a fairly casual gamer. Each traditional PC or console game (Civs aside) take about that long per game, plus or minus 10 hours. So let's say I'll buy 8 games a year - at $40-$60 per new game, that's $400/year. That's compared to $50 startup plus $15/month the first year of WoW, or $230/year. So even if you buy a couple of other games (the only other game I've bought in the last year was Civ IV, which has a shorter-but-similar "long playtime" effect), you're still ahead of the game.

          If you game more than that per month, MMOs are even more economical. Clearly, less money is being spent in total on games in that scenario, which I contend is a lighter-than-usual gamer.

          The issue isn't the money that's being taken in by WoW, it's the player time. People aren't not buying other games because they can't afford them, they're not buying them because they don't have the time to play them.
      • Cash (Score:3, Informative)

        by phorm (591458)
        MMORPG's are the goose that keeps on laying golden eggs. Once you've got somebody hooked in to monthly fees and a continual source of revenue, why make anything else?

        I do think that the whole MMO trend has somewhat set back regular games. I personally don't have the time to devote to Massively Multiplayer world's, and have found the selection of non-MMO titles somewhat lacking (although I am tempted to try EVE or something else that doesn't require constant massive time injections).
        • Re:Cash (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Aceticon (140883)
          EVE requires constant massive time injections - basically travelling takes a lot of time and making money to aquire a half-decent ship requires lots of time doing repetitive taks (mining, trading, missions).

          From the several MMORPGs i've played (WoW included), the only one that doesn't push you by design into one or more "time-sinks" is Guild Wars - which is also the only one where you don't pay a monthly fee.

          ----
          Back to the overall theme of the thread
          ----

          The threat posed by WoW to games such as Titan Quest
          • Re:Cash (Score:3, Funny)

            by Voltageaav (798022)
            If you train your skills for a while and join a good corp in 0.0, you can make ISK quick ratting with other people. Once you can afford a BS, you can make ISK quick. I've made over 100 Mil in a day ratting in 0.0 with no faction or officer spawns. Regardless, even a one day old player can be a decent tackler in a good PVP corp. Brand new miners are staples of many Empire mining corps. It takes very little ISK and skills to fly a hauler. While I'd take PVP over those any day of the week, I know many pe
    • Re:Wrong argument? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sparohok (318277) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @05:31PM (#15752811)
      When something that comes out is so good that it shakes up the entire industry, complaining about it will get you nowhere.

      Here's the thing: he's not complaining. He's simply observing that WoW is dominating the PC game market at present. As such, he's probably right.

      If you actually read the article, you'll see that he's making a candid and respectful comment about a competitor. I'm sure he's not happy that there's such a potent competitor drawing attention away from his game, but there isn't a trace of sour grapes in his actual comments as quoted. He's not saying WoW is a shitty game, in fact he's quoted saying WoW is "...such a compelling MMO game."

      In response to such refreshing candor, you start casting wild and unsupported apersions, that he is a complainer, that he considers himself above casual gamers (despite designing a game specifically for them), that he doesn't understand WoW's success. What's your beef with the poor guy?
    • Re:Wrong argument? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eonlabs (921625)
      "WoW is a "casual" game in many respects"
      Judging from the ways people play WoW where I am, it's a bit less a casual game and a bit more of a life style.
      I know people who no longer leave the house except to go to work or class or to eat, just so they can play the game.
      It also definitly feeds on peoples wallets a lot more than any other type of game on the market.
      At 16 bucks a month, people are blowing shy of $200 a year, which is more than I've ever spent on a console system and all the games I have for a gi
  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:34PM (#15752388) Homepage Journal
    competition [wiktionary.org] (countable and uncountable; plural competitions)

          1. (uncountable) the action of competing

                        The competition for this job is strong.

  • I was ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by llamalicious (448215) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:35PM (#15752393) Journal
    I was going to RTFA, but I have a wow raid in a few minutes, so like, whatever.
    • I prefer games that don't require me to plan out my month down to the hour for 3 or 4 pieces of video game loot.
      • Perhaps you don't, but I believe those players who *do* play in that manner are definitely taken out of the "alternative games" pool.\
        Most of the people I know who play EQ/EQ2/WoW would never pick-up and try another game, simply because of self-imposed time constraints due to raids, party quests, grinding, etc.

        Maybe they would like another game better than one of the three I listed above, but they'll never know.
      • If you're playing for loot you're missing the point.

        I go on lots of raids where I receive nothing, and I still have fun. I raid with my guild. We have a Ventrilo server, and generally goof off and keep the mood light the whole time. Raiding is interesting for the challenge that certain instances provide, as well as just chatting about with my guildmates.

        • I was trying to explain to a friend who's a non-gamer why I wasn't going to be available for a dinner gathering because I had already scheduled myself to attend a raid in WoW. The best anology I could come up with is that it was the same as if I "signed up for a bowling night with my bowling team." It was an analogy my friend understood immediately. Of course, my bowling team in WoW is a team of 39 other people in the raid, but its essentially the same thing. It's a gathering of people together to play
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:36PM (#15752404) Journal
    Something like "World of Warcraft is making the game market more streamlined because game companies now have stiff competition." I think that's more appropriate to a world where game companies don't have an automatic right to revenue regardless of how poor their products are.
  • Actually, not.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nsanders (208050)
    I have been playing Titan Quest non stop with my room mates since we got our hands on it. I love WoW and all... But Titan Quest is the BEST RPG for your friends since Diablo 2. It has every element I loved about D2 and some new things. So never fear Brian, we LOVE Titan Quest and can't wait for more!
    • I was thinking about picking this game up. How is the online community as far as coop play?
    • ...Titan Quest is the BEST RPG for your friends since Diablo 2...

      Half my friends have macs. I guess I'll be waiting for Diablo 3 instead... and that is fine with me. I never like buying different copies of a game for my PC and my Mac and I trust Blizzard to come out with something good, because they almost always do.

    • Re:Actually, not.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Durrok (912509) <.calltechsucks. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @05:03PM (#15752628) Homepage Journal
      Problem with TQ is that you basically play the same game through each time. Mobs are the exact same place with each character, maps are the same, etc. In D2 it was kind of like this but the randomization of the maps added a lot of replay ability.

      There is also WAY too much loot that drops in that game. There is no real money sinks so you just keep getting more and more money with nothing to spend on it. I've started not picking up items that aren't green or blue because there is simply no point. Speaking of items, there is no "chest" or something equivalent to it to store your items. This means if you are trying to collect a set of something you have to keep it on your person all times. Not a real big deal but it just annoys me, especially early on in the game when space is still a commodity.

      Lastly, you can bring your single player characters into multiplayer so there is going to be rampant hacking.

      Other then that, yeah, it's a great game. :p
  • Short Answer: Yes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rkcallaghan (858110) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:37PM (#15752411)
    While I'm not a huge player of WoW; I do play that /other/ MMO. It has all but eclipsed purchases of other games. Pretty much anything that's not in the maybe top 5 of games I haven't played. In fact, when I asked my friend the other day "Hey, what games are out there?", the response I got was "World of Warcraft". We had this very discussion, and yea, that's pretty much it. Everything else seems short lived.

    ~Rebecca
    • A girl that plays video games? Impossible!!! *runs and hides*
    • Makes me wonder which other MMO... There are a lot of other good ones out there, but yeah compared to WoW most have significantly smaller numbers of players. They also have a lot fewer servers which means that from a server population standpoint that isn't always a big deal. I've bounced between a few different MMOs over the past couple years including a 10 month stint on WoW. I guess the biggest problem I've had is that many MMOs are more fun when you have a few RL friends playing with you and right now mo
    • While I'm not a huge player of WoW; I do play that /other/ MMO.

      The one that takes place in that huge room with the blue ceiling? Man, the lighting effects in that one are so grating, and it's filled with gold-farmers who aren't willing to socialize.
  • Loads of Bad Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ggKimmieGal (982958) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:40PM (#15752440)
    You're standing in EB Games checking out the PC games. There are millions of options. Flight simulators, first person shooters, strategy games, and now MMORPGs. First, you consider the newest first person shooter, but then a thought comes to mind. "Hey wait, don't I own twenty copies of this same game? Aren't these all just the same thing? I'm an attractive guy that the ladies love and I shoot things. Yeah, I'll pass." Then you put down that box and study the strategy games in front of you. You're not quite sure how entertaining roller coaster tycoon 3 will be in a few weeks though. $50 is a lot of money after all. And then you step toward the MMORPGs. Now here's something a bit different! Something that you could play with your friends. Something that won't ever end! Why not buy this instead?

    Let's face it. The video game market is flooded with terrible games that are the same thing over and over again. I mean, seriously, besides really little kids, who bought the Finding Nemo game? RPGs have always been better sellers than other titles because there is a strong market for them. It only makes sense that a game that also allows for social interaction AND is an RPG will sell out other video games.

    Though, I personally dislike WoW. I'm all about Guild Wars.
    • by ToxikFetus (925966)
      RPGs have always been better sellers than other titles because there is a strong market for them.

      Apparently you slept through 1995-1997. Yes, some gems came out in that period (Diablo), but the CRPG market was pretty dead until Fallout and Baldur's Gate arrived in late 1997-1998.

    • Last time I was in an EB Games, I couldn't find any PC Games. If they haven't stopped selling them altogether, they're certainly giving them zero shelf space.

    • > And then you step toward the MMORPGs. Now here's something a bit different!

      Ehm. Trolls - check. Wizards - check. Elves - check. Sword wielding, fireball vomiting hero - check.
    • You're not quite sure how entertaining roller coaster tycoon 3 will be in a few weeks though. $50 is a lot of money after all. And then you step toward the MMORPGs. Now here's something a bit different! Something that you could play with your friends. Something that won't ever end!

      Please tell me how it doesn't end after you've paid $50 in total. The joy of automated monthly payments is that you forget you're paying them. =)

  • by man_ls (248470) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:41PM (#15752450)
    In all honesty, how do people have time to play MMO games and do anything fulfilling with their lives?

    I'm not terribly torn up about the gaming industry going downhill, what with the only titles recently released being yearly updates to re-hashed sports titles or GTA variants, but I do wonder how the industry became profitable in the first place.

    Almost nothing is geared towards a casual gamer any more. I maintain an Everquest subscription for old time's sake, and to have the option available if I want it, but I'm lucky if I log on two hours per week. Between my education, employment, volunteering, and interpersonal relationships, I have very little time left to put into something like that. At the endgame, where I've managed to get by plodding along an hour or two a week, it can take up to an hour to find a group of people to play with in the first place. All the other MMO games are the same, and even a lot of the non-multiplayer games involve a lot of grinding or gruntwork to actually get anywhere in them. The only good casual games out there are Nintendo platformers, and these are so devoid of maturity in any respect that I can't play most of them. (Exemptions given to Mario and Zelda games, because those are classics.)

    I just wonder, how it is possible to participate in an MMO and still do anything with their lives?

    I wager that, in fact, it isn't.

    A friend of mine, meanwhile, neglects the first three and a good portion of the fourth items in my list of other activities there, in favor of playing videogames for the better part of 8 hours a day. He's capped out multiple characters in World of Warcraft, but in reality, has nothing to show for it aside from a hole in his bank account and a slightly bigger imaginary e-penis. Actually, on further inspection, it's not just one friend...it's all half-dozen friends I know who play that game, do it at the exclusion of other activities they previously found enjoyable and profitable such as jobs and friends.

    China's three-hour-rule seems like a very, very good idea to be put in place on the server end, all around the world.
    • Almost nothing is geared towards a casual gamer any more.

      Let me introduce you to Xbox Arcade....

    • Look at it this way: the more time your peers waste on unproductive activities, the easier it will be to advance your own career.
    • I just wonder, how it is possible to participate in an MMO and still do anything with their lives?

      I wager that, in fact, it isn't.

      I'm sorry that you have a half-dozen friends that have no self control, but from personal experience, this statement is false.

      My roommate, my girlfriend, several other friends, and myself all play WoW. Yet somehow, we manage to maintain education, employment, church attendance and participation, and interpersonal relationships, trips to see family, and even playing other games, watching movies, reading books, and playing sports. Oh, and we still manage to get a good amount of sleep every night too.

      The problem isn't that WoW allows you to play for more than 3 hours ( from time to time, my friends and I have been known to play the game all day long ). The problem is that your friends have decided that they like the game enough to play for long periods of time every day ( or most days ). They made a choice as to what was most important to them - in this case, it was the enjoyment they get out of playing WoW.

      China's three-hour-rule seems like a very, very good idea to be put in place on the server end, all around the world.

      Personally, I'd be pissed if this ever were to happen - when I want to play WoW for a long time, I like having the choice to do so.

    • I just wonder, how it is possible to participate in an MMO and still do anything with their lives?

      I wager that, in fact, it isn't.

      I had the opportunity to get a beta copy of WoW at DefCon a few years ago and I passed on it because I didn't want to get sucked in. A couple of weeks ago I went out and bought two copies of the game so that I can play it with my girlfriend. I play for a couple of hours a week and it is something else for us to do when we want to hang out. I still manage to make it to the tem

    • I have a full time job (game developer) and I'm part of one of the high end WoW guilds here in the US, http://www.elitistjerks.com/ [elitistjerks.com]

      We raid four or five nights a week. It's scheduled during the evenings and we try to keep our raids to a maximum of four hours. I get home from work, eat dinner, then raid in the evening. I'd rather be doing that then watching mindless television or something. I'd say I play around 12 to 20 hours of WoW a week and quite enjoy it. Sure, that's more than a casual player who p
    • I like EVE online for this very reason. You can play it intensly, battling all the time or you can play it in such a way that you still make progress but touch it for 30 seconds every 2-3 hours. Sometimes I'm active, sometimes, I do homework.
    • At the endgame, where I've managed to get by plodding along an hour or two a week, it can take up to an hour to find a group of people to play with in the first place. All the other MMO games are the same, and even a lot of the non-multiplayer games involve a lot of grinding or gruntwork to actually get anywhere in them.

      Yeah I pretty much give up once I get near the end game. Some people love end game raiding and while I've done some, I don't have the time or desire to really be involved in it.
      A lot of MMOs
    • they truly have nothing better that they *want* to do. The *want* is the key. Oh sure they have better things to do but that takes more effort than sitting down at a computer and playing a game. I personally know someone who lost a house over his obsession. It can be very real and it can be very hard on their friends. You really cannot understand how difficult it is to make someone you know and like to see that what they are doing is not good for them.

      The ease of success in WOW is one of its major attr
    • You've pretty much hit it on the head.

      My friend runs a guild with about 50 ppl in it, not including alts. He's a student and has his summers off and other than a trip to China which was for credit in school, he's done nothing this summer but sit and play WoW. The ppl in his guild come home from work and sit and play WoW. It's actually fairly frustrating because we were working on some personal projects that he's relegated to "After I play this raid/hit lvl xx/get through this dungeon." So I'm seeking help e
    • I find it forces me to get organized and cut out all the bullsh*t time, but I am pushing 30.

      I now have a tight routine where I leave work @5ish, workout at the gym, drive home, shower, make dinner, do a daily chore (garbage, unload dishwasher, or wash counters), then be on the PC by 8-8:30pm for 3 solid hours of WoW.

      Prior to WoW, I'd be putzing around the gym, yapping with people at the stations, putting around the house with the TV on trying to get dinner made, and would take me until 10pm to do that routi
    • Simple, find an MMOG where the end-game isn't a boreing, never ending, time sink.

      Dark age of camelot, apart from haveing a pvp system that WoW is trying to emulate requires you to kill NOT ONE MOB, once you reach the "end game" (pvp), you can go out whenever you want, for however long you want and kill people ^_^

      Eve-online while can take significant hours to do some things (mineing operations, interdictions, etc) you can just log on and "kill some rats" to get money. Oh and did i mention you don't have to "
  • Sounds to me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fullphaser (939696)

    Like this guy is just upset that his game hasn't got the stuff, and in one last final grab at attention he tired to get it on Slashdot, because before this, I had never heard of the game (probably because it doesn't have a big enough fan base to really get it mentioned alot, atleast not in the corners of the internet where I lurk. Seriosly though, he needs to figure out that an RPG unless really innovative these days isn't going to attract attention because they have been done over and over again.

    Infact th

  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:46PM (#15752481)
    I've barely had time for a life, let alone other video games. That reminds me, guess I'd better cancel that XBox Live account so I can funnel the subscription fee into next month's WOW fee....
  • The only way that I'm going to play another game is if I can play it inside World of Warcraft. It's all part of the same zero-sum entertainment-time.
  • I doubt it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reeses (5069) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:50PM (#15752522)
    Ok, it may be that people are caught up in WoW. But that will fade eventually. Then they'll move on to something else.

    And then there's people out there who, like me, look at WoW and go "Geez, I don't have the time to devote my life to this." and never play it. I've looked at it in fascination, but I've also woken up on Sunday after a long binge of Civilization X, and wondered where my weekend went. Those experiences taught me that I need to pick my gaming prudently. So I don't play WoW. I've already seen people's lives disappear when they start playing.

    Also, like any other "where are the gamers?" question, you need to make sure the games you're making are fun or you have no room to complain.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'd love to play WoW, but I have a job, I take night classes, and I'm trying to find that elusive thing called "girl". Dumping time into the hole of WoW would kill off at least one of those. And I think when I'm 50, I'd rather look back on the fun times I had with (eventual) children than fun times I had with avatars in a world that didn't exist.

    Maybe it's just me.
    • You act like because it's not happening in the real world we can't have fun times for it. I can still remember how beautiful some sights in Guild wars are, like the catacombs where you see the bridge over the ledge or where you enter the underwater springs. I had fun seeing these while playing. Does that make it any less fun than you had?

      I can remember all the way back to being 5-6 and playing Flimbo's quest and how freaked I'd get at a giant snale (oohh scary you say, but back then giant snales were like G
    • Re:I doubt it. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pandrijeczko (588093)
      No, it's no just you.

      I'm in my 40s and I've been a fantasy/sci-fi/gaming geek for as long as I can remember. Go back 10-15 years and I was a "paper and dice" roleplayer and, at it's peak, I was roleplaying for anything up to four times a week, occasionally in a club environment but mainly with a specific group of friends who took it in turn to GM games - in a single week, therefore, I might have been playing a D&D and Star Trek game and running a Call Of Cthulhu one, for example.

      Step forward ten yea

      • "Meet someone face-to-face for long enough and you'll eventually understand that person pretty much fully - but hidden behind anonymity online, you only get to see what that person wants you to see and that's why it lacks something special."

        Gaming online with friends can be a great experience. We've been using voice chat systems like Teamspeak for over a year and it really has helped break the anonymity factor. As mostly casual gamers we frequently bullshit over Teamspeak and setup channels that are not ded
  • Works for me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tulare (244053) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:53PM (#15752551) Journal
    Personally, I can't stand WoW - I just don't much go in for that "I put on my robe and wizard hat" [adamchance.com] crap, but something else did turn out to hook me in rather completely - in my case, it's EVE Online. Since I've started playing that, I haven't spent any time with CS:S, BF2, or any of the other titles I generally spent time on (not even GTA).

    I'm not saying the game I like is better than the game in the article, but what I do observe is that a well-crafted MMOG can pull a player in for hours and weeks at a time. I know I don't bother considering buying games right now, because I know that I probably won't play them - hell, I'm not playing the ones I already have. So you have probably four big MMOGs dominating the landscape, which is great for Blizzard, CCP, etc., but the rest of the industry sees a decline.

    So what's the problem? If you want to compete with the market leaders, produce something more compelling, exciting, shiny, and innovative than what's out there. Don't whine that better games are eating your lunch. From what I see, the big MMOGs are winning because they are that good. Now, if someone were to put out a spaceship-based MMOG where you could dock into a station, exit your ship, and engage in FPS combat to take over the station, land on the planets to do missions, PVE, PVP, world-building, etc., I'd be in line at midnight to give it a try. I bet if someone did a robe-and-wizard-hat MMOG where there were no shards or instances (a-la EVE's ginormous server cluster with anywhere between 15,000-25,000 players on at any given time), then you'd see guys in tunics camping outside Fry's.

    In the games industry, if you can't beat 'em, go work for EA, where you can at least be sure of steady income for producing shit rerun knockoffs. Or you could do better, and actually beat 'em.
    • Re:Works for me (Score:3, Interesting)

      As I recall there was a MMOFPS (is that even a term?). It went to hell because people would just camp spawns, but it wasn't like 1 v 1 here, it was hundreds V one. Also remember pings matter in FPS, so huge servers are going to give high pings and hence the hardcore FPS players won't play.

      WoW is honestly popular because it's the most common simple and pretty looking MMORPG there is. It's not original or even that note worthy, it just took everything and gave it a Blizzard spin (aka made it glossy) and that'
      • Yeah, the lag issue is significant. The way I see it working in EVE would be manageable though - my understanding of their cluster architecture is that you've got your authentication servers, your database (what items do you have, which ones are fitted, etc.), and servers for different solar systems. So to my outside view at least, it would seem possible to fit a server to each station that people can FPS in, and the problem is thus solved in terms of resources. Plus, you could do a lot of neat stuff - e
    • No shards in EVE? (Score:5, Informative)

      by the_raptor (652941) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:03PM (#15753938)
      You really believe EVE could be as popular as WoW and have no shards? I played EVE for over a year and a half (I was in the Jericho Fraction and Aegis Militia for most of it) and for most of that time it was unplayable at peak hours or in hub systems. Even CCP were smart enough to create a separate shard for the Chinese market, and that will probably be broken into more shards if it gets really popular over there. EVE has around a hundred thousand active players, WoW has millions, you couldn't buy a pipe fat enough to allow hundreds of thousands of people to play on the same shard (and even if you could the game wouldn't work with thousands of people at the same system let alone the same planet).

      And the main difference between EVE and WoW is that WoW is casual. I was a high end player in EVE and there was far to much work involved in keeping an effective PVP corporation going (logistics is what wins wars in real life and EVE). It was a second job to the people that did it. People whine about having to put in eight hours a week to do end game in WoW, the logistics people I knew put in eight hours a day, and high end PVP corps expected you to be on call whenever you where online (Band of Brothers). I got sick of a game being like a job (it took me three days to move my gear from one base to another) and now I play WoW. And the PVP is just as good, with none of the problems of having to go to extremes to find targets, or a 5:1 ratio of grinding to PVP, or every second PVPer being rigged to run away rather then fight.
  • Similar article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CaseM (746707) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:55PM (#15752558)
    was posted [slashdot.org] sometime last September here on /.

    I was heavily involved in WoW at the time and know that it affected my game-purchase habits; I can only imagine how much impact it's had on the PC and console game industries as a whole. When you have dozens of days (and I was on the low end compared to my peers) invested in several characters, it sure seems hard to do anything else but to continue to play just. that game. After all, isn't that part of the hook? That if you stop, you're "throwing it all away"...?
    • Not replying to you in particular, but it's funny to look at the responses getting modded up now compared to the same discussions about EQ five years ago. The same statements about the addictive qualities of these games would get modded into oblivion back then, and most of the comments getting modded up were along the lines of, "I'm not addicted, you are! I can quit any time I want."

      Anyway, I went through my addictive phase in EQ.. I tried WoW, but it just seemed like the same old, with even less impetus
  • Uhhh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Redlazer (786403) *
    Isnt the logical argument: If no one plays your game becuase they think someone elses is better, Then, shouldnt you make a game that is better than the other game? -Red
  • by llevity (776014) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:59PM (#15752592)
    It's not about WoW taking all of the gamer's money. $15 a month is not even a dent in even a casual gamer's entertainment budget.

    It's about time. Between work, WoW, and the occasional outing into the real world, there is no time left for these other games.

    In fact, WoW has actually SAVED me money. Now I spend $15 a month for my gaming needs, instead of the $200 I previous spent buying a new game every week.
  • Short answer: No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sehlat (180760) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @05:02PM (#15752615)
    WoW isn't killing PC games, the game companies are. I haven't even bothered to LOOK at WoW, much less try it. I finally got kicked out of caring about PC games by two things:

    1. The nasty, intrusive copy protection on Half-Life 2 where it took ten minutes saying "mother may I" to the servers every time I tried to start it up (and then the gameplay sucked.)

    2. "Starforce" copy protection (which can wreck your CD/DVD drive) being used by game companies.

    If the game companies aren't going to make it pleasant to use their product, they have only themselves to blame.
    • I say it's a combination of both. MMOs -are- sucking time away from offline games, just like any new popular leisure activity sucks time away from other activities. It's just the nature of the beast.

      But the real decline comes from 2 things: Your #2 above, and the mindless crap game devs are producing for the most part. Even with 3rd party games like Myst, LocoRoco, Katamari Damacy, Shadow of the Colossus and many others making WAY more money than predicted, they still don't get it. Games are about NEW
  • by Skraut (545247) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @05:12PM (#15752699) Journal
    For me the biggest problem was the monthly fee. It was like a clock ticking in the background. Why spend 8 hours playing a massive game of Civ4 when I'm paying WoW money per month, I should spend that time playing it. That for me was the biggest turnoff. It felt like I needed to spend all my time playing it or I was wasting my money. I've never been able to get into one game that hardcore, so I quit, bought a bunch of new games, and had more fun than I ever had playing WoW.
  • I was a heavy player of WoW for almost a year. From the initial release in 2004 until about early spring of this year. I just got tired of the grind after getting to 60 [nomorestars.com] in June of 2005. My brother continues to play to this day but I just don't see the fun. I might check it out when Burning Lands or whatever it's called shows up but I've since discovered some decent games to play for fun like BF2 and others.

    I'm sure there are a lot of others like me who didn't feel like raiding another dungeon yet again for that one piece of armor
    • "I'm sure there are a lot of others like me who didn't feel like raiding another dungeon yet again for that one piece of armor"

      Or more correctly: raiding the same dungeon yet again for a chance that the piece of armor I need might drop and that I might be able to win the roll or have enough DKP to actually get the item versus the other 5 people in the 40 man group who are the same class as me.

      With the ultimate reward being that after running the dungeon 40 times you get to move on to the next one and do tha
  • I'm too busy playing Civilization 4 to play WoW!
  • Time + money = ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andr0s (824479) <dunkelzahn@rocketmail.com> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @05:29PM (#15752799)
    I do have to say, WoW did have serious impact on my gaming habits, as well as budget. I have a life. I have a job. I have responsibilities. That means that my time and my money are a precious commodity when it comes to things such as computer games. In pre-WoW days, I'd usually buy a game every 4-6 weeks (usually a RPG), play it an hour or three two or three times a week, finish it, shelf it, buy a new one. In addition, every couple of months, I'd pick up a strategy such as Starcraft, Warcraft III etc and spend couple of hours couple of times a month playing it with friends in a LAN party.

    Along came WoW

    Suddenly, in addition to $50 USD - usually my bi-monthly game budget for games - I spent on the copy of the game, I found myself spending ~$15/month (roughly my monthly budget) on WoW subscription. In addition, since woW is quite a time-intensive game (don't get me started on log in - spend 45 min forming a raid - start a raid - disband a raid 45 min later routine) I found myself spending 95% of my gaming time slots playing WoW. And so it went for, well, over a year.

    Now, I'm happily 'off the WoW' for over half a year. Since then, I picked up a reasonable number of games that seemed interesting (Dawn of War, Sid meier's Pirates, Morrowind etc - 8 in total) - and I would've gotten more, if I didn't waste some time on auto Assault and D&D Online Betas. Thus, I have to definitely agree with TFA - WoW does seem to be harming other game markets, although I'd dare to expand / elaborate : MMOs are hurting the game market for less 'massively-teamplay' games. It's not solely WoW's fault - merely its popular content and quality (let's not start a Blizzard flamewar here, please) compared to other MMOs that's causing proportionately more market disturbance.

  • by Rifter13 (773076) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @05:56PM (#15752978) Homepage
    I have a friend that used to pick up 1 or 2 FPS games a month. Since he got hooked into WoW... well, that is all he has played. (I think he picked up Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter a few weeks back). But, by having a huge game like WoW, people put their money, and their time into that ONE game. Heck, when I played WoW for 6 months, I only bought 1 or 2 new games. Generally, I would have bought 5 or 6 new games in that time. Heck, it even stuck with me AFTER playing WoW. My buying habits are WAY down. To 1 game every 3 or 4 months. I was generally buying 1 or 2 new games a month. (I would say 4 new games every 3 months). From just what I have seen in myself, and others, I would say that WoW has a very real, and very negative affect on PC gaming in general.
  • by Sathias (884801) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:09PM (#15753053)
    1/ Rip off Diablo 2
    2/ ?
    3/ No profit
    4/ Blame MMO by same company
  • by andi75 (84413) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:12PM (#15753072) Homepage
    Many people complain that WoW either sucks up your whole time, or you don't get anywhere. That's not true, you can easily play the game two evenings / week and still see the whole end game content.

    The solution? Find a group that's *organized* (i.e. has a webpage and a forum). Their raids have fixed schedules. You show up at 7:50 p.m., buff up, raid starts at 8:00 and at +/- 23:30 you can go to sleep. Since the big raid instances only reset once a week, you don't have to do more than two evenings (and if your group is getting really good, you can even clear MC in 4 hours), which you would have wasted with reading slashdot or watching TV anyways.

    - Rhonac (60 Shaman on Thunderhorn EU).
    • raid starts at 8:00 and at +/- 23:30 you can go to sleep.

      (assuming you mean 8pm?) 5.5 hrs twice a week = 11 hrs per week

      I'm sorry, but that's not "casual gaming". 2hrs/week at a push is what I'd call casual gaming. The type of thing you can pick up and play when you feel like it, not when it's scheduled.
    • Two nights?

      One night for MC, one night for ZG, one night for AQ20, one night for BWL, one night for AQ40, one night for Naxx (ok, 2 nights for Naxx).

      If pushed, we could probably do MC and BWL in one night - around 4-5 hours total, and do AQ20 and Ony in a night.

  • A couple of points (Score:3, Interesting)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:29PM (#15753182) Homepage Journal
    IMHO there are only really two spaces within PC gaming in general where people could have trouble competing with WoW:-

    a) The MMORPG space. This is a given, and there isn't really a whole lot other people in this space can do about it, IMHO. WoW is the single most mature implementation of the MMORPG genre that I've ever seen, and that possibly includes the offline RPG space as well. Blizzard have learned from the mistakes of UO in particular, and have created something which has taken the RPG out of the autistic/various other underground subcultures and genuinely into the mainstream. You don't need to be the stereotypical unemployed, socially/neurologically handicapped virgin (who have traditionally been the MMORPG's target audience) in order to appreciate WoW. This is finally an RPG which entirely normal people can find accessible.

    b) The FPS space. This is a possibly even more difficult lock which Blizzard have established for the rest of the market to overcome. For probably a decade after Doom, PC gaming was almost exclusively about the first person shooter. The Sims was perhaps the first large scale title to reverse that trend somewhat, but it is still very prominent.

    Having played capture the flag in the Warsong Gulch battleground, I find it virtually impossible to believe that Blizzard have not realised the historical importance of the FPS market, and intentionally tried (and very largely succeeded) to lure probably 80%-90% of the traditional FPS audience into a genre which, before WoW, said audience would not have dreamed of going anywhere near.

    The real challenge that WoW presents to the rest of the industry IMHO is in its' versatility. WoW represents a large number of different types of games in one package. On the pure Diablo-like side, there is both an extremely flexible questing system, and instancing. For people more inclined to it, there is also an auction house which can actually provide a mini-game in itself, in that you can study trends and play the market in a similar way to real-world markets. Then there are the professions, as well as another mini-game associated with the fishing skill. On top of that, you have the roleplaying aspect, in which players can develop backstories and dramatic elements of their characters, and integrate that with the political situations which exist between the various nations in the overall backstory.

    On the PvP side, you not only have Battlegrounds such as the aforementioned Warsong Gulch, but player-run scenarios where various settlements held by each faction will need to defend themselves against assaults by the opposing faction. The Battlegrounds are themselves another demonstration of Blizzard's brilliance in being able to avoid the kind of end-game boredom experienced in such games as Ultima Online, in the sense that they mark a point where the game transforms from a more traditional RPG into a limited, but large-scale clone of Unreal Tournament. This last element is what has allowed Blizzard to steal the FPS market.

    So...what can the rest of the industry do? My own thoughts would be to move away from the elements Blizzard are already delivering...and as usual, it seems to be Will Wright who is leading the charge in that area. Spore promises to be about as different from anything within WoW as you can imagine, although in a lot of ways, is arguably going to be Wright's magnum opus, in that it will really incorporate all of the elements which up until now he has been putting into seperate games. (Sim Earth, Sim City, the Sims, etc)

    I've said before what I believe the real problem with the gaming industry is...it's not WoW. It's the managerial staff of companies such as Electronic Arts, who quite aside from being open to innovation, are actually enormously averse to it. The one thing companies like EA want more than anything else are generic staple games which they can sell and rely on economically in the same manner as cereal boxes, year in and year out. We're talking about the sort of people I've described before as l
  • It's not WoW. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supabeast! (84658) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:37PM (#15753239)
    I've stopped buying PC games, but not because of WoW - I stopped playing WoW almost a year ago. PC games just don't appeal to me anymore because most of them aren't any good. PC games have devolved into just a bunch of "sequels," however, many of them are not so much sequels as they are blatant knockoffs of games that were hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I still own most of the originals, and I can just go play those again - no need to pay extra just to see some more polygons.

    It doesn't help that the cost of a high-end video card has become absurd - I used to get a nice midrange card for $250-$300, with prices in the $400-$500 range, I'd be better off to buy an Xbox and not go through the hassle of upgrading my mainboard, video card, RAM, and CPU just to be able to play games that are just going to give me deja vu.

    If PC game developers want to woo back gamers, they need to start making games that are worth the costs. Right now I just don't think they're doing that.
  • Yeah, it's big, everyone's amazed. This too shall pass.

    I played for 6 months, beat the game, got to the point where it sucked and I quit. I'm ready for the next big thing now. Sooner or later, the next big thing will come along (or given the gigantism of WoW, 10 next big things) and people who have left WoW or even never played it will pick up the new thing.

    Some of these guys are just whining. There's some truth that it's harder to build multiplayer critical mass in this market, but I think mostly their gam
  • "Does WoW's growth actually mean that PC games in other non-MMO genres may sell fewer copies?"

    HECK NO!!! There will always be people who refuse to just press a couple buttons and sit back and watch a spell being cast. Give me my G3 assault rifle and i'll wait in the bushes until someone comes near, then jump out and play battle of the aim, or i'll do an all out frontal assult on a squad with little hope of winning, but when my skill overpowers 4 people's, I tend to be pretty satisfied - probably even more

  • by MagikSlinger (259969) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:13PM (#15753468) Homepage Journal
    I don't play WOW or any other MMORPG. I don't buy most PC games because I find them dull beyond belief. Thumb-twitchers for the most part, or lame Diablo inspired RPGs. The stuff I like, adventure games, is getting harder and harder for me to find on the shelves so I'll soon be buying them exclusively on-line.

    How about instead of chasing the 60% of the market, cater to the rest of us who do play games that don't neccessarily require Alienware or some juiced-up PC game station (although Dreamfall [wikipedia.org] did require some serious 3D hardware). It doesn't take much to please me; nice looking relatively static graphics (e.g., background paintings) and a good story. I know it can't be costing that much to make my favorite adventure games because they are typically half the cost of the average thumb-twitcher PC game, and with the smaller sales volume, it's gotta be cheaper than the multi-million dollar budgets of WoW or they couldn't keep putting out these games.
  • Nice spin... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtieburn (906792) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:13PM (#15753469)
    There is literally one line saying World of Warcraft is a problem, and that was from the point of view that it is a powerful competitor not that its 'crushing the industry'. It wasnt even a question about 'the decline of the PC retail game market'. It was about 'making a name for themselves in the market'. The guy even goes on to repeatedly say how much he loves what Blizzard have done and plays all there games.

    The way the articles been presented, and a good chunk of the posts here, makes it sound like hes some resentful whining failure. When actually he sounds fairly positive and eager to try claim back some of the market.
  • by Templar (14386)
    learn2play kthxbye

    Sincerely, Blizzard
  • No, I don't believe the uber-parent's argument is the case. The PC gaming market is not a zero-sum game. The market can be (and has been/is being) enlarged via new and innovative products, and I have seen no proof that if a gamer plays WoW, then they buy less games in total. I'd like hard facts, not causal and economic fallcies.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:32PM (#15753832)
    WoW is to PC Games what Magic was to pen & paper RPGs. Sort of. I remember back in the early nineties when Wizards of the Coast was a > 10 employee shop that published this little Card Game called Magic. All hell broke lose and 4 years later the RPG market was crushed beyond recognition. The only ones that survived and still are around and not bought by Hasbro or crushed are Steve Jackson Games and Palladium Books.
    I have the feeling WoW is doing the same. It's the only game that's still selling well that runs well on my box. Guild Wars only means of success is being not like WoW and cheaper (free) to play.
  • by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:24PM (#15754020)
    A man who created a game, which, from all accounts, is a complete and direct rip off of Diablo 2, and which most of reviews have given relatively poor scores, is complaining because a game which revolutionized its genre is beating it sales wise.

    There is no story, TQ is yet another Diablo rip off, and from what I've read it's not even a particularly good one. None of these games ever do well because everything they do Blizzard already did, but better.

    As to his general argument, I play WoW, and I buy a lot fewer games, but I buy a lot fewer games because they cost $100 here and a very large percentage of them are crap. For me, it's much more cost effective to pay $20/month to play a game I know I'm going to enjoy, and which I can play at pretty much any time for however long I want to play it, than to pay $100 every 3 months trying to find a game which isn't a crappy console rip off, unoriginal, poorly coded, or in some other way unsatisfactory. I get more value for money out of WoW than I would out of buying more regular games, so I play WoW.

  • 15 years ago... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:28PM (#15754031) Journal
    15 years ago you could find text adventures on the shelves at Babbages. I could actually find a decent turn based war-game by SSG. Now if you want ANY of these (or other types of games) you have to go online and order/download.

    What is popular is determined by what is available and what is available is determined by what is popular. It's a vicious cycle which ends up homogenizing the prime shelves of the stores. An addicting fun game can still sell, but unfortunately game companies (and more importantly investors) see a direct correlation between funds re-cooped in development cost and cost of development. It's the "Hollywood" effect happening to games. Big special effects, star power, etc are banked on to get BIG sales. Software retailers have become like grocery stores where they only make decent money if BIG volume sells.

    As a result, the store has BIG name games, with BIG development costs, BIG advertising and what investors hope will be BIG returns.

    I've often thought about how Richard Garriot sold Akalabeth at a Game store. That just couldn't happen today. Not because games arent good, but because there is no way for games like his to get the exposure they need.

    Somebody needs to come up with a way to get the independent game market back into the minds of consumers. Get the best games (independant) packaged with Dell, or Apple. I don't know..but there needs to be some creativity in thinking about how to get the word out.
  • ermm.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smash (1351) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:04PM (#15754374) Homepage Journal
    If you put out something that is less entertaining to somebody than continuing on with their WOW character online, then of course it's not going to sell to WOW owners.

    Myself, I don't own/play WOW (I play Eve online a bit instead), but that's how I see it.

    The only difference between WOW and traditional games is the long-term playability from the online aspect.

    However, I can confirm that Diablo 1/2 had exactly the same effect for me (bought fewer games) - in fact I just fired up Diablo2 again last weekend :D

  • by Frobozz0 (247160) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:57AM (#15756855)
    It's a simple truth that when you're ponying up montly fees to play a game, you're going to want to play that game to feel like you've got value out of your dollar. In that sense, it's seems unlikely that most people would play more than one MMO at a time. It's too much of a financial burden to justify a very small portion of your month, at the same rates, to play a second or third MMO.

    Next is the issue of time in cooperative gameplay. I don't know about you guys, but most gamers have a day job and a life outside of gaming. An MMO cuts into the latter immediately, and in extreme cases it can cut into you day job. For people that enjoy a good social life, a book, a movie, their significant other, their children, their parents, and so forth, it's a tall order to take much time away from any of those. To commit the time to play in a cooperative environment, especially in a clan structure, can literally be impossible for working people with a family. To justify that monthly cost of an MMO, you need to play it. To play it, you need time you don't have. So, if you can possibly squeeze in time to play 10 hours a week at particular clan-coordinated times, you're only doing it for one MMO.

    This is why I won't buy a game like WOW. It's going to suck me in. It's going to take me away from a lot of other things. So, I buy single player games that I can pick up at any time and put down at any given length later. I even like games like Guild Wars, where there is no monthly fee but simply episodic content releases.
  • by mmalove (919245) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:58AM (#15757418)
    I can't play Titan's quest for more than 15 minutes without the game crashing. But I'm sure that's not contributing to the lack of sales...

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