MMORPGs and Money: How Companies Are Losing In The Game Industry

Written by Louis

September 3, 2014



MMORPGs have long been one of the biggest gaming genres to hit the Video Game market, with millions of players going online and a wide variety of games being released at almost a monthly basis. But despite its size and the number of enthusiasts fueling its machinery, companies, both publishers and developers, are reporting losses in Revenue, with some going as far as laying off employees or shutting down projects, servers or even the company itself.

Now one would question, why? Why despite the still stable number of gamers grinding levels or farming for stuff online, why are there still games being shut down, why are companies giving up halfway? Being gamers ourselves, Reimaru lists down some of the possible reasons as to why MMORPG Publishers and Developers continue to lose cash and even customers in the Online Gaming market.



One of the biggest culprits, perhaps, is the redundancy of  mechanics when it comes to MMORPG, almost every game follows the same trend, level up, get items, farm, farm, farm, engage in PVPs etc. Nothing really new, except for the visual look of the games of course, but overtime, just like what is happening now in MOBA, gamers are still stuck in the same wheel going round and round, and over time, with the same stuff happening over and over in the game, can easily grow tired and will just eventually leave the game and look for other games to play or to stuff to focus on.




Although it sounds like a very dreadful term, it does, in fact exist in the industry of MMORPG, but not with its literal meaning. So how do we define cannibalism in the industry? Imagine this, suppose a Game Publisher releases a game themed on Sci-Fi and Mechas, unique with a Combo System, flight mode, and spaceships, less than a year later, the same Game Publisher releases another Game Title still themed around Sci-Fi and Mechas and Spaceships, but with additional features like a Booster pack for the Flight Mode. So you have 2 game titles of the same theme, which will then potentially share the same audience, but since your new game has additional features it will then eventually have the gamers of your previous game title to switch into the new one. Game Title B, metaphorically chewed up Game Title A, took a huge part of its community, that’s Game Industry Cannibalism, and without the sufficient number of gamers playing a certain game, there would be no sufficient source of income to maintain the game itself and gain profit from meaning that the game itself would then die in the shadows.


pay to win

Free To Play, Pay to Win?

Let’s face it, this is the common thing that happens nowadays when it comes to MMORPGs, with most titles being released as F2P, game publishers and developers resort to the Pay to Win scheme which gives ridiculous bonuses to its Paying VIPs. Although it’s not the total cause on why an MMORPG dies out, the feeling of finding out that while you’re stuck at a level even after week of grinding there are a gamers out there who managed to hit the Level Cap due to purchasing insane amounts of EXP boosts can really get into your nerves and could possibly force you to give up halfway into leveling up, now this not only happens to one player but to a lot of other gamers too. And it’s not only about grinding levels and raiding dungeons but also when it comes to PVPs where some purchased items gives exclusive boosts to the paying customer.



Lore and Storyline Matters

Ever wonder how World of WarCraft lost millions of its subscribers? Is it because of the increased level cap? Due to the addition of more locations? The change in Scenery and additional Mechanics? Or the introduction of newer character classes equipped with newer abilities and skill trees? While the answers may vary, part of the community agrees that they have stopped playing WoW due to the absurdly written storyline, pretty much like how movie critics criticize a movie due to how the story goes, some gamers do take time to peek into the game’s lore and have it be part of the gameplay experience. Some MMORPGs lack the sense of having a backing story making it a purely generic, grinding experience, while you might argue that a story can never affect an MMORPG in any way, try to take a look at some of the successful MMORPGs that are raking in profits by introducing content based on the game’s lore, one fine example is the locally popular Dragon Nest, which has its own cut scenes in between pivotal quests, Ragnarok, which had an cartoon adaptation which featured quests based on some actual in-game missions. Even though it is not generally felt by all gamers, having a proper Lore or storyline can help in fine tuning Character Classes, lining up Missions, or even the introduction of additional updates, unlocking newer content to keep them gamers coming.


Our mini-list here only cites some of the issues why MMORPGs slowly die out, although some of them may sound absurd to fans and developers or publishers alike, it’s a hard fact that these issues are existent and is affecting titles of one of the biggest video game genres of today, yes, the Genre is growing and expanding, but the games that are being added and the companies that publish and develop them are the ones getting hurt.

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    • Chad

      Thanks for the feedback, you may noticed in other MMORPGs like FFXIV: ARR and GW2, they never had these dilemmas (pay-to-win system, lack of lore/storyline, redundancy, etc.) which made them more successful than the other games from publishers that caused their demise

      The article was made based on the observation of the common problems that plagued the mmo industry which caused some to fail and shut down


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