Morning Discussion

By Chris Faylor, Oct 14, 2008 6:41am PDT Hey hey hey, welcome to Tuesday. This means two things.

First, those in North America should be able to find Dead Space in stores tomorrow. I think it's worth a look, as I came away impressed, and a little scared.

Second, we're one day closer to Friday, which, coincidentally, is when my Xbox 360 comes back from ye olde repair shop. Come home soon darling, I miss you :(

Oh, and if you're one of those Diablo fans, you pretty much need to check out the mind-boggling display of Diablo 3 information that Nick has compiled in his Diablo 3: What We Know So Far preview.

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  • MMO mens

    Discussion time. I just spent some time looking at a bunch of WoW vs. WAR comparison threads, as well as the "WoW is going to expand by 1 million subs" article. This got me thinking about gaming in general, with respect to monetary concerns: Is gaming a zero-sum game (pardon the pun)? To put it another way: does the amount of money that is sunk into MMOs and their associated expansions like World of Warcraft, Warhammer, EVE Online, Age of Conan, Burning Crusade, and the like, detract from the sales of other games?

    I know when I played Planetside for about a year, and World of Warcraft for about 6 months, those two games were all I focused on (Planetside was particularly bad…the Reaver was an addiction), which left little time for focusing on other games and their associated extracurriculars. This isn't exclusive to MMOs: lots of time can be sunk on competitive CS clans, Halo clans, and the like, but unlike those games there’s an additional cost that comes with having to resubscribe every 1, 3, or 6 months. I was just looking over the World of Warcraft account management page, and it costs $77.94 for 6 months. Couple this with an earlier thread that mentioned a Shacker that had rolled Warrior for his whole WoW career, which started over a year before launch and has continued to this day. Most haven't played this long, or it has been in spurts, but there's a significant chunk of change being passed here. *Cue Blizzard moneyhats*

    World of Warcraft has been around since November of 2004. So, assuming he has Burning Crusade, will buy Wrath of the Lich King, and sunk the $50 on the initial launch price…

    8x Six month packages @ $77.94 = $623.52 (minus $15 for the free month that’s included = $608.52)
    1x Retail copy of World of Warcraft at $49.99
    1x Retail copy of Burning Crusade at $39.99
    1x Retail copy of Wrath of the Lich King at $39.99
    Those four years of fully up-to-date WoW’ing cost $738.49.

    That seems like a lot of money at one sitting, but, to be fair, it is spread over four years time. However, if WoW did not exist, would that money be sunk on other games? Other MMOs even?

    An argument could be made that, since WoW is incredibly scalable, the money you save on not needing to upgrade your machine to constantly play it could be reapplied to other games. I agree, but half of that $738 figure could be applied to a top-end video card, motherboard, and processor, and the rest could be injected into the games market.

    In contrast, how much have MMOs in general done to expand gaming? Twelve million subscribers on PC for World of Warcraft?!* Warhammer has a million?* There’s no way that everyone who subscribed to these games have tried computer gaming before; statistically, it’s impossible to have that much of a draw and not introduce anyone new to the platform. Even if they only buy another Warcraft game, they have introduced new people to gaming by simply being perceived as mainstream. Could this be why MMOs on consoles are gaining a bit more attention?

    PC gamers have to deal with a lot of the flak of hearing people cry “piracy”, “niche”, “not viable”, and “dying”; but I’d really like to hear if people think MMOs are a net positive or negative to gaming. MMOs are, for a majority, PC based, but I’d also like to hear what console people think about MMOs coming to their platform. Quick disclaimer: 1) Not a rag on MMOs. I would play the fucking shit out of Planetside 2, as I favor FPS games, high-tech, and a mix of tactical and strategic gameplay. WoW and Eve certainly took up my time as well, but they have, as yet, failed to hold onto me.

    Since the Shack has many industry vets and developers, I’m eager to see a good discussion on this.
    I'm expecting an evening chatty to pop up at anytime, and this will be ER’d for Phil's your pleasure if that happens.