Thursday, August 29, 2013

Iceland, The Gold Standard For MMOs

Over the past year or so Blizzard and World of Warcraft have lost a bit of luster as the ideal for game development.  So many studio's efforts have dashed against the rocks trying to be the WoW-killer that developers are beginning to try something else.  But what?  A game that has grown every year for the past 10 years really sounds attractive as a model.

That's right, the current flavor of the year is CCP and EVE Online.  Look at some of the recent developments.  Carbine's payment model for Wildstar involves a subscription plus CREDD, a PLEX-like object good for 30 days game time that players can trade for in-game currency.  Former Unista (and Sony Online Entertainment CEO) John Smedley's new game, EverQuest Next, is designed as a sandbox with emergent game play.  Oh, and if EQNext follows the payment model of the rest of the SOE stable of games, will also feature the Kronos, SOE's version of PLEX, to pay for the subscription option.

But CCP's influence is starting to creep into very successful games as well.  I got a kick out of ArenaNet's celebration of the first anniversary of Guild Wars 2's launch.  A post on the official website contained an interesting graphic.  Below is the very top of a graphic displaying a lot of statistics.

Remind you of anything?
"More than the entire population of Iceland."  Remember when CCP was touting at Fanfest in 2009 that EVE Online had more subscriptions than the population of Iceland?  Now ArenaNet is touting a concurrency across all shards greater than the population of Iceland.  I do see one important difference though.  Since 2009 EVE Online has continued to grow and reached 500,000 subscriptions at the beginning of 2013.  My understanding of the GW2 mark is that was accomplished at launch and has gone down since.  But either way, I guess that makes Iceland the gold standard of how to compare the success of an MMO.


  1. But either way, I guess that makes Iceland the gold standard of how to compare the success of an MMO. -

    I lol'd. Really. =D

  2. How many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall ?

    How many library of Congresses is that?

    How many olympic swimming pools?

    Obligatory XKCD link

  3. IMHO, people need be very cautious when saying EVE is a model of sucess. It have 500 k subs, but each player have average 2.5 sub. So, EVE have only 200 k players.

    That can make EVE a sucess, but not a model to be copyied or cloned. Because maybe be impossible to clone that sandbox pvp environment that incentive players to buy more than one subscription. I fear CREDD will prove be a big fail.

    "My understanding of the GW2 mark is that was accomplished at launch and has gone down since."

    That is the wrong understanding, sorry. They had 400 k concomitant players at launch. That 460 k players happened some time after the launch. Certainly not the first months after the launch, but sometime after it. Anet said they lost some players after launch, but since they are having a constant growth. My guess is that the 460 k players happened when the clockwork invasions started.

    Anyway, it is what your XFire data show, right?

    1. If I were to look at the Xfire numbers, I'd have to say that 460K concurrent user number happened sometime in the first month after the game launched. After that the game slide in activity until December when the game established the player base it has today. The number of players seems to fluctuate every other week with when new content is released. That's looking at the Xfire numbers, though. Those may not reflect reality.

      One thing I feel confident about stating is the Guild Wars 2 is the 2nd most popular MMORPG in the west, topped only by WoW. That's why I found it funny when ArenaNet decided to compare the population of its game to the population of Iceland.

      And I agree with you about CREDD possibly being a big fail if CREDD is supposed to be a big selling point. That $60 box price + subscription is really going to get in the way.

    2. the players average 2.5 accounts.....THAT THEY PAY FOR.....guess what that's just as good as a different person having the account. EvE is successful because its still growing(and profitable) 10 years later.......pick any business in most of them this is going to be consider a success. lets see where gw2 is in 10 years lol. Im betting the ppl that made rift or star wars wish they were gonna still be growing in 10 years or even in business.

    3. @Anonymous

      yes, that 200 k players pay for the 2.5 average account by player.

      But I doubt we will see 500 k players playng 2.5 accounts or maybe 1 million players doing the same. EVE can be a lucrative niche, but it is a niche. Someday EVE will peak and have the slow death. It is not possible CCP can mantain that model profitable for a long time, with too many F2P/B2P MMO coming. And I am including ESO and WildStar in the F2P list, because EVERYONE knows that two games will be F2P in less than one year after launch....

      Anyway, EQN will be a big sandbox and F2P. When it comes, how many sanboxers that are really not interested at pvp will go out EVE for EQN?