Page 1 of 4
1
2
3
... LastLast
  1. #1

    What is the threshold for a "successful" MMORPG?

    I was reading through the Wildstar thread and ended up stumbling across quite a few mentions of "failed" or "successful" MMORPGs. This made me curious: what is, after all, the minimum subscription/active player threshold a modern MMO would have to break to be considered "successful"?

    Even further, how different would those numbers be between:
    - True Free to Play, with the only additional fees being cosmetic;
    - Freemium, F2P with optional subscription for XP boosts or other perks;
    - Buy to Play, where you buy the game once but play it forever (possibly with a cash shop);
    - Subscription-based, paying a fee every month.

    In my mind, at least, any sort of MMO regardless of its business model would need to have at least 20,000 to 50,000 players so it could have a good amount of well-populated servers and avoid the usual trap of opening up too many servers and having to merge them (as happened with so many recent MMOs and is going to happen with WoW's Connected Realms). What do you guys think?
    Trying to argue anything with any sort of nuance over Twitter is the intellectual equivalent of trying to trying to squeeze a cow through a keyhole. Sure, you might even be able to do it with enough brute force, and whatever comes out the other side might even still be considered to be "cow" in the technical sense, but it will be so mangled as to be completely unrecognizable.

  2. #2
    Bloodsail Admiral WskyDK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    20 Miles to Texas, 25 to Hell
    Posts
    1,227
    Re Server merges: This isn't always a bad thing. When RIFT launched they had an enormous amount of servers in case there was a huge rush to get the game. When that didn't happen the merged the servers. It wasn't a bad thing since they only opened too many in the event of a mass exodus to RIFT.

    For any model I consider it a success if they have enough of a community to support the game and enough income to further the game.
    Falling wildly short of hopes and goals (Looking at your SWTOR) doesn't mean it failed, it means they had too high expectations for the content they produced. (Since I brought up SWTOR, I do think they failed since they had to change their entire model, so maybe it was a bad example for this post)
    Last edited by WskyDK; 2013-08-19 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Spelling

  3. #3
    The threshold for a successful MMO? Annual/monthly income exceeding the cost to host servers and the cost of development.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Recondition View Post
    The threshold for a successful MMO? Annual/monthly income exceeding the cost to host servers and the cost of development.
    This and only this. Everything else is opinions.

    To many people a failed MMO is one that didn't "defeat" WoW. To others it's one that didn't get and hold Xmillion players. And to others it's one that didn't appeal to hardest of hardcores (because casuals don't count, obviously).
    I mourn the loss of a man of true vision and talent. You were my idol, Mr. Giger.
    You gave faces to my dreams and nightmares and sparked my imagination throughout my entire life. You will be missed.

    Hans Rudolf Giger
    2/5/1940 - 5/12/2014

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Recondition View Post
    The threshold for a successful MMO? Annual/monthly income exceeding the cost to host servers and the cost of development.
    Well, the problem is that people don't think in those terms when they deem a game "the worst failure since ET for the Atari". They think about how many people play the game, and the developers won't tell how many are needed to keep the game's costs covered. Which is why I made this thread.
    Trying to argue anything with any sort of nuance over Twitter is the intellectual equivalent of trying to trying to squeeze a cow through a keyhole. Sure, you might even be able to do it with enough brute force, and whatever comes out the other side might even still be considered to be "cow" in the technical sense, but it will be so mangled as to be completely unrecognizable.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Recondition View Post
    The threshold for a successful MMO? Annual/monthly income exceeding the cost to host servers and the cost of development.
    Yup. As long as the game is being actively supported (new content being worked on, bugs being fixed etc.) and is profitable, it's a successful MMO.

  7. #7
    Over 9000! Glorious Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    In my bunker leading uprisings
    Posts
    9,407
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Yup. As long as the game is being actively supported (new content being worked on, bugs being fixed etc.) and is profitable, it's a successful MMO.
    I remember when swtor was out and we were arguing the back and forth going on and lots of people my self included said the game was a success because it covers cost and makes them some money and the answer came back well how profitable? It's only a success if it makes a certain percent of ROI and uhh we'll we can't really say can we. Ultimately it being a success is kind of pointless if you don't get the numbers.
    The hammer comes down:
    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    Normal should be reduced in difficulty. Heroic should be reduced in difficulty.
    And the tiny fraction for whom heroic raids are currently well tuned? Too bad,so sad! With the arterial bleed of subs the fastest it's ever been, the vanity development that gives you guys your own content is no longer supportable.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Glorious Leader View Post
    I remember when swtor was out and we were arguing the back and forth going on and lots of people my self included said the game was a success because it covers cost and makes them some money and the answer came back well how profitable? It's only a success if it makes a certain percent of ROI and uhh we'll we can't really say can we. Ultimately it being a success is kind of pointless if you don't get the numbers.
    They failed miserably in their intended goals (to have a subscription based game with millions of subscribers), and had to use drastic methods to get the game back on track (very deep layoffs and a huge period of time with no content).

    However, the game is now profitable and supported again. Initially, it wasn't a success and it failed to achieve its intended goals. However they've managed to turn it around and it could now very safely be called a successful MMO.

  9. #9
    The Lightbringer Grym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Somewhere in UK where there is chicken
    Posts
    3,253
    Quote Originally Posted by Holtzmann View Post
    In my mind, at least, any sort of MMO regardless of its business model would need to have at least 20,000 to 50,000 players so it could have a good amount of well-populated servers and avoid the usual trap of opening up too many servers and having to merge them (as happened with so many recent MMOs and is going to happen with WoW's Connected Realms). What do you guys think?
    Actually, generally most of the time it is about 500k players for a MMO to be considered "healthy" and can continue no problem. And while this is healthy, is still rather "small" compare to some of the games out there.

  10. #10
    The threshold for a successful MMO? Annual/monthly income exceeding the cost to host servers and the cost of development.
    Again, this and only this, however I'd like to simply add that cost of development varies wildly among MMO's so the "succesful" threshold will also vary wildly, although 100,000 is generally cited as a number large enough to sustain an MMO.

  11. #11
    Since WoW is apparently "dying", it's safe to say that a game has to have over 8 million players to be halfway considered a a success.

    On a serious note: it's sucessful when it's profitable.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Grym View Post
    Actually, generally most of the time it is about 500k players for a MMO to be considered "healthy" and can continue no problem. And while this is healthy, is still rather "small" compare to some of the games out there.
    By "some games" you mean WoW, because that's the only MMO released with millions of subscribers in the West.

    EVE is a roaring success for CCP and it only recently hit over 500k subs. 500k subs is a fucking lot. It's the only other game to be confirmed to maintain that number of subscribers.

    You can easily sustain a profitable MMO with even 10% of that (50k subscribers) if you budget accordingly.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Grym View Post
    Actually, generally most of the time it is about 500k players for a MMO to be considered "healthy" and can continue no problem. And while this is healthy, is still rather "small" compare to some of the games out there.
    I have a feeling World of Warcraft's enormous ongoing success (say what you will about sub drops, no other western game is even close to it right now) has distorted our view of "healthy" and "successful".

    I mean, let's assume a fairly standard $15 monthly subscription fee in a game with World of Warcraft's business model. With 500k players, you're talking about 75 million dollars in its first year on subscriptions alone. That's discounting game sales (another 25 million if all people who bought the game for $50 still played it, likely closer to 50 million) and any other microtransactions that are made available like cosmetics, name/race changes, recustomizations and so on. Certainly, running an MMO is not cheap, and companies need to make profits and report to their corporate overlords, but I have a feeling you don't have to be that big for economy of scale to kick in and allow you make bigger profits.
    Trying to argue anything with any sort of nuance over Twitter is the intellectual equivalent of trying to trying to squeeze a cow through a keyhole. Sure, you might even be able to do it with enough brute force, and whatever comes out the other side might even still be considered to be "cow" in the technical sense, but it will be so mangled as to be completely unrecognizable.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    By "some games" you mean WoW, because that's the only MMO released with millions of subscribers in the West.

    EVE is a roaring success for CCP and it only recently hit over 500k subs. 500k subs is a fucking lot. It's the only other game to be confirmed to maintain that number of subscribers.

    You can easily sustain a profitable MMO with even 10% of that (50k subscribers) if you budget accordingly.
    ^ My state has about 600k people in it. 500k is plenty.
    Lv30 (Warframe) - Zephyr - Boltor Prime - Lex Prime - Dakra Prime - Hunter -
    Lv40 (Firefall) All Battleframes
    Lv60 (Neverwinter) - Rogue - Fighter - Wizard - Guardian - Cleric -

  15. #15
    The Lightbringer Grym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Somewhere in UK where there is chicken
    Posts
    3,253
    SWTOR hit 1mil I believe, not sure about current figure or if they even publish that. GW2 definitely has more but they do not have sub so number doesn't affect their monthly earning as much (but still affect number of people using the cash shop).

    EVE I thought had a lot more than 500k? Or at least it did have. And game like FFXI had like 500k sub pretty much throughout, but those games I would not call "successful", but healthy and can manage itself well.

  16. #16
    It depends on the game.

    The problem is people nowadays see WoW, so if a game doesnt reach it (Which is impossible) it had failed, therefor all games are failures.

    Rift as example before it launched, they said that they require 50.000 subs to maintain their development team and keep producing content, even when it went F2P they had that much, but F2P is just so much more money, its 3 months into F2P and servers are High during the night,especially USA.

    SWToR since it had to pay franchise and stupid cinematic development, required 500.000 subs as they announced at late November i think before it came out, as predicted 4-5 months in they didnt have that many and laid off people and went F2P.

    Every game is different, every game has a different development cost..If Star Wars didnt have to pay the franchise, they wouldnt need 500K subs, but probably 200K less, and they would require most subs to produce the cinematics more than anything else.

    Guild Wars 2 has like 2.5 mil sold copies? Does that make it a fail? Its a B2P game, so no it doesnt.

  17. #17
    Being the first in a growing market. That's the only reason WoW became popular.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grym View Post
    SWTOR hit 1mil I believe, not sure about current figure or if they even publish that. GW2 definitely has more but they do not have sub so number doesn't affect their monthly earning as much (but still affect number of people using the cash shop).

    EVE I thought had a lot more than 500k? Or at least it did have. And game like FFXI had like 500k sub pretty much throughout, but those games I would not call "successful", but healthy and can manage itself well.
    Any legit scource on that?

    Also, almost every big title MMORPG was a succes including SWTOR and whatnot. If you get more money out of something then you put in it then it was a succes, how big the succes was is debatable I guess.
    Last edited by Sarac; 2013-08-19 at 08:54 PM.

  18. #18
    I'd say that if a game has to entirely change its model, then it failed.

    SWotR for example started as subscription based. The developers and everyone wanted it to be that way, and they assumed that they made a good enough game to get that many subscriptions. They obviously didn't, so it failed. It went F2P and is doing okay, but the original plan failed.

    Rift is another example of that.

    If you set out to do something (make a subscription based MMO) but have to change it to a free to play (IE pay to win) model then it more or less failed.

  19. #19
    As long as it is profitable it is a success.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarac View Post
    Being the first in a growing market. That's the only reason WoW became popular.
    So I guess everquest and ultima online and swg and eve just don't exist
    Lv30 (Warframe) - Zephyr - Boltor Prime - Lex Prime - Dakra Prime - Hunter -
    Lv40 (Firefall) All Battleframes
    Lv60 (Neverwinter) - Rogue - Fighter - Wizard - Guardian - Cleric -

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •